Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, says in a piece for Politico that, with more inclusionary policies and unrestricted access to leadership, the GOP could attract more interest from African Americans and other minority-group members.
The flawed hypothesis that Rep. Tim Scott's appointment as a new senator from South Carolina will serve to attract African Americans to the GOP is certainly more hype than whole. As the only African American from the South to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction, Scott's appointment this week is monumental for South Carolina, and for the Republican Party. Make no mistake: he is a first-rate statesman who rightfully deserved maximum consideration from Gov. Nikki Haley. Scott is an honorable man, whose conservative political ideology and voting history seem to be in complete harmony with those of the majority of South Carolinians. At a time of partisan acrimony ad [nauseam], Scott is by no means a "Hill raiser." And while he made the decision not to join the Congressional Black Caucus, Scott is respected by all of its members, not withstanding his conservatism, which is leap years beyond our members and our constituents.
Many African Americans are confounded by the consistently popular but baseless assumption that a candidate's skin color is the determining factor in our political consideration. However, it is important for Republicans to understand their appeal to African Americans is not contingent on supporting African Americans for public office. To be sure, there is value in such racial inclusion. But the value lies not only in the outreach — endorsing black Republican candidates, or buying political commercials on black media outlets — but the efforts to reach beyond antiquated campaign tactics to the black community that matter more in determining our political affinities. Yes, black people were proud of their support for Barack Obama, but there was no spontaneous enthusiasm until they became familiar with his political positions on the campaign trail. Originally, most African Americans supported Hillary Clinton.
Read Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's entire piece at Politico.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.