Politics of Race

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Politics of Race

Didn't play the way the GOP hoped.
Republicans had hoped the midterm election would brand 2006 as the year of the black Republican.

That did not happen.

With high-profile losses in Maryland's Senate race and in contests for governor in Ohio and Pennsylvania, prospects for Republican gains among black voters turned up short this year and gave scant hope for 2008.

Republican Michael Steele, Maryland's lieutenant governor, lost to Democrat Rep. Ben Cardin by almost 10 percent.

Ken Blackwell, a conservative darling who would have been Ohio's first black governor, lost by nearly 24 percent.

And Lynn Swann failed by 21 percent to secure the Pennsylvania governor's office.
Ron Walters, a former campaign official with Rev. Jesse Jackson and now a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, said Republicans have to identify candidates based on issues, not skin color.

"They have to have positions that are in line with the black community," he said. "If they can't attract the black vote, it won't pay off."

Exit polls showed 88 percent of blacks supported Democrats, about the same level of support as in the last few elections.
Yes, it's applaudable progress to have diversity represented in the GOP, but their base assumption seems to be a certain lack of sophistication within the African-American community, that black people will vote for black candidates just because they're black. They still don't get it. It's not that hard to see that if you run ads like the infamous one against Ford in Tennessee that it undermines any progress you might be making in changing your image.

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