Republican Convention 2012 Speakers A Disproportionate Parade Of Diversity

White Male Republicans Struggle For Stage Time
Delegages hold up Mitt Romney placards as Romney is nominated for the Office of the President of the United Statesthe Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Delegages hold up Mitt Romney placards as Romney is nominated for the Office of the President of the United Statesthe Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

TAMPA, Fla. - If you're a female GOP governor, there's a 75 percent chance you're speaking at the Republican convention. Including Puerto Rico, the GOP has five governors who are of either Latin or Indian descent. All five were offered prime speaking gigs. Of the two black male House GOP freshmen, one, Tim Scott of South Carolina, has already spoken.

The Huffington Post compared the GOP convention speakers list to the roster of available politicians and found that if you're a white male House member, there's less than a 3 percent chance you're getting on the stage. A white governor's shot at the prized podium is only one in six. For white male senators, the chance is closer to one in 10. Male Latino senators named Marco Rubio, meanwhile, have a 100 percent chance of getting a prime speaking spot.

It's a part -- arguably the main thrust -- of the GOP's long-running effort to broaden its base as white male voters lose their majority status in a diversified voting pool. But off the stage, little progress is being made.

"It's important to our party. If we're going to be a national party, we've got to reach out, and that means showing up in their neighborhoods. It's a tall order, but it can be done," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told a group of reporters Monday when asked about Mitt Romney's lack of support among blacks and Latinos.

Drury Hoover, a GOP delegate from Hope, Ark., said she noticed the homogeneity of the convention crowd. "Somehow we need to attract all of the people in the country, not just what is apparently just the caucasians," she said, gesturing toward the crowd. "Because there are seemingly few of any what we would call minorities. Not many of you who are Oriental," she added, referring to a HuffPost reporter, "not many blacks."

Hoover said she wasn't quite sure why this was the case. "The Democratic Party has, for years, appealed more to the blacks. I'm not positive exactly why. It's maybe that they come across as more for the poor man than the Republicans do. We have the reputation for being rich," she said. Boehner wasn't sure, either, but he speculated that the sagging economy would drag down turnout among minorities. "We've never done well with those groups, but think about who this economic downturn has affected the most: Blacks, Hispanics, young people," he said. "They may not show up to vote for our candidate, but I suggest to you that they won't show up to vote for the president either."

Even if they do show up, strict new voter ID laws that disproportionately affect minorities will keep many from voting. In Pennsylvania, more than 750,000 people, primarily Democratic-leaning voters, could be affected. One top Republican official predicted, in a moment of honesty, that the law "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."

The party's effort to broaden its base was undercut Tuesday when two attendees were ejected from the event after one threw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman and said, "this is how we feed the animals."

Meanwhile, Romney has vowed to continue to pound President Barack Obama with a false charge related to welfare policy, which one study found appeals to racists.

Of the five female governors, only Jan Brewer of Arizona failed to win a spot at the podium. Of the minority governors, only Bobby Jindal isn't speaking. But that's not because he wasn't asked; he's staying home in Louisiana to prepare for Hurricane Isaac.

Among all the female and minority groups, women senators are least represented on the stage. Of the five members, only New Hampshire freshman Kelly Ayotte is speaking. Maine's Olympia Snowe is retiring, while bashing her party for being insufficiently inclusive. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas is retiring, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska ran against her own party as an independent in 2010.

The early lineup of speakers Tuesday was dominated by GOP minorities, including Tim Scott; Rep. Francisco Canseco of Texas, who spoke to the audience in Spanish; Ricky Gill, a congressional candidate from California; and congressional candidate Mia Love, an African-American mayor of a small town in Utah.

Later, the audience will hear from Puerto Rico's first lady, Luce Vela Fortuno, as well as Sher Valenzuela, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Delaware.

Amanda Terkel contributed to this report.

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