Government & Politics

Republicans Can Upend the Democrat Race Narrative

Suddenly, black America's invariably reliable allegiance to their party is in play.

Nov. 10, 2014

Many realities utterly anathema to Democrats’ divide-and-conquer strategy for winning elections revealed themselves last Tuesday. Yet perhaps the one that threatens their future far more than any other is the reality that, for the first time in decades, the Democrat race narrative is starting to crumble. Suddenly, black America’s invariably reliable allegiance to their party is in play.

For the last half-century, Democrats successfully painted the entire GOP as the “racist” party. The enormity of that success cannot be overstated, as Democrats managed to take American history completely out of the equation while doing so. History that reveals the Republican Party was established by anti-slavery activists, while it was Democrats who flocked to the Ku Klux Klan following its establishment as a Tennessee social club. In the middle of the 20th century, the “Dixiecrats,” including segregationists such as Alabama Public Safety Commissioner “Bull” Connor and former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox, emerged. It was Connor who ordered the use of police dogs and fire hoses to disperse civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham during the spring of 1963. It was Maddox who refused to serve black customers in his restaurant, brandishing an axe handle in the process. And then there was the late Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd, who served over 50 years in that chamber, despite not only being a member of the KKK but a leader of his local chapter.

Many black Americans have no idea a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and were also responsible for ending a Democrat filibuster preventing a vote on the bill in the Senate.

What black Americans do know is that Democrats ultimately captured their hearts and souls, not only to the point of getting their votes, but to the point where any who dared stray from the Democrat plantation faced the kind of ostracizing best exemplified by the pathetic treatment afforded Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Emerge, a now-defunct black news monthly, portrayed Thomas as a lawn jockey on its cover with the heading “Uncle Thomas, Lawn Jockey for the Far Right.” USA Today columnist and Pacifica Radio host Julianne Malveaux hoped aloud that “his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease,” because he is “a reprehensible person.” Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown claimed Thomas was “legitimizing the views of the Ku Klux Klan,” a view shared by Jesse Jackson.

All of this was and is perfectly acceptable in Democrat circles, where even now the only “authentic” black Americans are those on the liberal side of the political ledger. Thus it is no surprise that Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the first black senator elected in the South since the Reconstruction era, received an “F” from the NAACP, because he doesn’t believe in “civil rights” according to NAACP president Ben Jealous. What Scott really doesn’t believe in is the progressive agenda. Nor is it any surprise that execrable New York Congressman Charles Rangel expressed his belief that all southern Republicans “believe that slavery isn’t over and they think they won the Civil War,” implying all those GOP victories last Tuesday were attributable to racism. “I meant that they used to call themselves ‘slave-holding states,’” Rangel declared.“ They’ve been frustrated with the Emancipation Proclamation. They became Republicans, then Tea Party people.”

No one’s more frustrated than Rangel and other Democrats who see the writing on the wall. Their angst is undoubtedly exacerbated by the election of Utah Rep. Mia Love, the first black Republican woman elected to Congress in a state where the population is less than 1% black. Love is actually far more problematic than Scott because she also pokes a hole in another cherished Democrat narrative, a.k.a. the GOP’s “war on women.”

Yet while the cracks in the Democrat race narrative are beginning to show, those fissures can only be widened when the Right learns to be proactive and frame the argument. An exchange between Bill Kristol, the conservative publisher of The Weekly Standard, and CNN commentator Jay Carney, former White House Press Secretary, is illustrative. When Carney expressed the idea that GOP support for voter ID is racist, Kristol merely disagreed. What Kristol should have said is that there is nothing more racist than the notion that black Americans are inherently incapable of procuring an ID, and that Carney should be ashamed of making the kind of sweeping generalizations that are the essence of racism.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gets it exactly right. “The idea that you would play such a card and try fear-mongering among minorities just because you disagree with Republicans, that they are somehow all racists, I find it appalling. I find it insulting,” she said, specifically referring to a Democrat flyer disseminated in Georgia warning blacks that “if you want to prevent another Ferguson” you’d better get to the polls and vote Democrat.

It didn’t fly. Republican David Perdue handily won the Senate race against Democrat Michelle Nunn by eight percentage points.

Furthermore, there were potentially seismic indications of black disenchantment with Democrats before Election Day. On Friday, July 11 in Chicago, what started out as a protest against the violence that had resulted in 189 people being shot and 33 killed in that month alone turned into an Obama bash-fest. One black resident accused the president of “forsaking the African-American community and African-American families.”

Sadly, it’s nothing new. Democrats have conspired to maintain an odious narrative of black victimhood and GOP racism since the 1960s.

What more and more black Americans may now be realizing is the party they’ve hitched their wagon to for five-plus decades is still telling them things have barely changed for the better, if they have changed at all – and that maybe, just maybe, 50 years of unquestioning allegiance producing virtually no improvement means it’s time for a change.

In short, the Grand Old Party has been handed a grand opportunity to make serious inroads into the black community. The quickest way to blow that opportunity? Hop on board the comprehensive immigration reform train. The stats tell the story all the rosy rhetoric surrounding immigration reform can’t obscure: In Oct., black America’s unemployment rate remained double that of whites, 41,000 black Americans lost their jobs, and their labor force participation rate declined by 114,000 – all in an economy improving for everyone else.

It’s time the GOP made it clear to black America that they have their backs and stand in stark contrast to Barack Obama and Democrats, both eager to legalize millions of illegals who will further devastate black employment prospects. This is nothing less than a sellout of black America, and it is incumbent on the GOP to explain that Democrats see it as a reasonable tradeoff for unassailable power – power that is only possible because Democrats take black support for granted.

The opportunity to forge a new racial narrative is at hand. The Democrats’ racial playbook is old and tired, the race card is more than maxed out. All that is needed is some serious GOP outreach in black communities over the next two years. Memo to the GOP: Those two years may buy you another four, including a Republican president in 2016.

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