Over and over we see the depressing yet gratifying statistics on how selected minority groups vote. People of color and Jews vote Democratic in large numbers. Too bad for the GOP.
But why? Each of those groups, call them identity groups if that pleases you, holds values Republicans proclaim from the hilltops and Democrats often slink past: strong families (don’t offend divorcees, mixed and blended families, never married moms, and so on), big on religion (don’t offend non-believers, don’t stray into the dangerous territory of assuming one religion is dominant), personal responsibility (don’t offend convicts, welfare recipients, school drop-outs and others vilified by the Right), traditional education (don’t offend the teachers who reject old-fashioned teaching and discipline in favor of innovative techniques and compassionate approaches emphasizing raised self-esteem), military service (don’t offend the aging anti-war protesters), and the list goes on of values, positions, and policies embraced by both the GOP and the above-mentioned minority groups. Yet those groups vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.
You would think someone in the Republican Party would say, “Hey, wait a minute, those are our people!” And then ask these groups, “How come you don’t vote for us?” A v
ery uncomfortable silence would follow. How do you tell someone politely that they’re racist bigots?
As far as I can tell, that is the only reason Blacks do not vote for Republicans. My father-in-law, who remembered not being able to vote in East Texas, voted Republican until the converging movements, inserting a Civil Rights plank in the Democratic platform and appealing to the segregationists, convinced Blacks their fortunes lay with the Dems.
And what have the Republicans done since then to repair that little misunderstanding? Simply confirmed that they fear and loathe Blacks, are suspicious of Asians, resent Hispanics, and dismiss Native Americans. No matter how a hard-working Asian, an entrepreneurial Hispanic, an academically inclined Black wants to vote his values of family and church and country, he runs right into the unabashed racism of the Republican base. And there is nothing a handful of Republican operatives can do to turn that around.
From the great book, Sugar in the Blood, a quote from Michel-Rolph Trouillot: “We are never as steeped in history as when we pretend not to be.”