Why African Americans Are a Lost Cause for the GOP

Eric Kayne/Getty Images
Eric Kayne/Getty Images

The Washington Post's Jamelle Bouie writes that Mitt Romney's speech to the NAACP was indicative of the Republican Party's "extremely shaky" relationship with the black community.

In the years since the 2008 election, many Republicans have adopted racially charged narratives on everything from the financial collapse — minorities and the Community Reinvestment Act are to blame — to a program meant to compensate African American farmers for racial discrimination (it's actually "reparations"). What's more, in its attacks on Obama, a large portion of the Republican base has adopted an explicitly racial frame. The attacks aren't motivated by race — the apocalyptic tenor should be familiar to anyone who remembers Bill Clinton's presidency — but race acts as a filter for their appearance. Birthers — including prominent members of the GOP — demand evidence of Obama's citizenship, local Republicans depict Obama's parents as chimpanzees, and online conservatives portray Obama as an African witch doctor.

Absent a serious shift on voter identification laws — which many see as attempt to suppress African American voting — or a Sister Souljah moment with "birthers" and other right-wing demogogues, there is no way that Romney will make headway with black voters. At best, Romney can expect to repeat John McCain's dismal performance with African American voters. At worst, he'll receive fewer black votes than any Republican presidential nominee in history. Indeed, together with his poor performance among Latinos and other nonwhites, it's fair to say that — win or lose — Romney will have the whitest electoral coalition in recent memory. And in light of rapidly shifting demographics, this doesn't bode well for the future of the Republican Party.


Read Jamelle Bouie's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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