For months, black Republican honchos have been peddling the fantasy that they will make history come November. The history they fantasize about is electing a record number of black Republicans to Congress. At last count, fourteen black Republicans bagged their party's nomination to face Democrats. It's been more than a decade since two black Republicans J.C. Watts and Gary Franks served in Congress at the same time. Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell gushed at the thought that this could be topped, "This will be the most successful election cycle for African-American Republicans in at least 20 years." Blackwell projects that at least three black GOP candidates have a better than even chance of winning victory. And if things go really well Blackwell thinks the number of black GOP election winners could hit five. That's more fantasy.
Blacks in the past have groused at and bashed the Democrats. But they still overwhelmingly vote for them. The off the chart vote blacks gave President Obama is repeatedly cited even by black Republican hopefuls as an aberration in that blacks turned the election into a holy crusade to get one of their own in the White House. That's wrong on two counts. Obama was more than just the fulfillment of a civil rights dream. He had a solid program for change that frontally challenged and promise of reversing the social and economic damage, race baiting, and neglect that characterized three decades of Republican rule in the White House and the sledgehammer attacks on or malign neglect of civil rights leaders and concerns when Republicans were out of the White House.
President George W. Bush escalated the assault on education, health, jobs programs. His refusal to do what other presidents routinely did and that's speak at or send a congratulatory message to the NAACP annual convention until the last year of his second White House term was the ultimate snub and insult, and final proof to black voters that the GOP was a party of closet race baiters, bigots, and race panderers.
The unshakeable loyalty of blacks to the Democrats is also based on simple pragmatism. The entire Congressional Black Caucus is Democrats, and so are the leaders of the mainstream civil rights organizations. Despite the shots they take at the Democrats for taking them and their vote for granted, black Democrats and civil rights leaders are still highly respected. Most blacks still look to them to fight the tough battles for health care, greater funding for education and jobs, voting rights protections, affirmative action, and against racial discrimination. Civil rights organizations were the only groups that consistently fought back against Reagan, Bush Sr., and W. Bush's draconian cuts in job, education, social service, funding and programs, their retrograde nominees to the Supreme Court appointments that would roll back the civil rights clock, and their peck away at affirmative action, civil rights and civil liberties protections.
Even when black Democratic politicians stumble and engage in borderline corrupt and self-serving feather their own nest antics, they are still regarded as better bets than Republican candidates to be more responsive to black needs. Black voters generally regard them as the politicians that accurately capture the mood of fear and hostility the majority of blacks feel toward the Republicans.
Then there's the Republican Party, and its long, blatant, and infuriating history of racial exclusion, neglect and race baiting, and polarization. The endless foot in the mouth, racially insulting gaffes, racially loaded campaign ads by Republican officials and politicians and the refusal by mainstream GOP leaders to loudly condemn them and even defend them. This has continually ignited black fury the last three decades. The fight of House Republicans during that time against the Voting Rights Act renewal, affirmative action, the slash and burn of job and education programs, and Bush's Katrina bungle, deepened black suspicions that the GOP is chock full of bigots.
The Tea Party has done absolutely nothing to dispel that suspicion. Tea Party leaders loudly protest that blacks should not judge them as racists based on the quackery of a few bigots and race baiters among their ranks. The fact that those bigots and race baiters are there in the first place and with few exception Tea Party leaders have kept their mouths shut about them, let alone not drummed them out of the movement, is hardly reassurance that the Tea Party's rage against big government, taxes and their tout of the Constitution and personal freedoms isn't a cover for latent bigotry toward one black man, President Obama.
Frances Rice, National Black Republican Association head, blames the mainstream media for ignoring black Republicans because they don't fit a template, that's being black, liberal and Democrat. She's right, black Republicans don't. But most black voters do fit that template. And since they do black Republicans talk of ousting Democrats in November is a fantasy.