September 27th, 2007
12:30 PM ET
7 years ago

Commentary: Why is the GOP scared of black voters?

Watch Roland Martin sound off about the GOP and black voters in this clip from CNN Pipeline.

(CNN) – That's right, I said it. And I mean it.

The GOP as a whole is completely scared of black voters, and the actions by the front-runners for the party's 2008 nomination show they are continuing the same silly political games the party has played for years.

Oh, don't bother tossing out the appointments of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state by Bush. Yes, they are African-American. But I'm speaking of the party.

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soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Tom, Mission viejo, Ca

    Someone poised a very good question, why are many sensible minorities opposed, or afriad, of the GOP? To be honest, i'm not a huge fan of the current party politicians, but do identify with a conservative/libertarian/small government ideology.

    Many minorities would likely benefit from this type of platform. Handouts and Robin Hood poloticians only keep the status quo and offer no viable means of breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty in many urban areas. Instead of giving a man a fish, teach him how to fish.

    We've all heard the sayings, but black voters keep voting in the same bunch of phony politicians who do little to better the communities they came from!
    Why are inner city schools still so ass backward when it comes to producing meaningful results? Almost every large urban area is run by Democrats, from the school board to the city council. It doesn't matte what skin color you have but what ideas you have in your head! Clearly clearly, Democrats haven't offered much in the way of advancing the economic cause of blacks in this country.

    Why should blacks be afraid of the GOP efforts to reform the school systems and offer vouchers to private schools? This would be the best thing done to public schools in the inner cities since desegregation. And why must kids be forced to ride buses for over 2 hours a day just to acheive some semblence of 'racial diversity'? Isn't it a slap in the face to think that black kids in America can't learn if they don't have white kids around them? Instead of shipping black kids to suburban schools that are run well, how about actually fixing the schools in the black kids' community? I guess that's just a racist idea from Republicans.

    Its also a racist Republican idea that taxes should be kept low so that entrepaneurs can start business and create new jobs (might revitalize urban areas??) Its also very very racist that Republicans want to get rid of programs that discriminate on the basis of one's skin color. Come on, yes we want to respect and be proud of our heritage and differences, but at some point we need to come together. Look at Brazil, they are as diverse as the US but have much less racial problems...likely in part because they don't put themselves into such racial categories.

    It doesn't mean we ought to ignore the problems that lay ahead of us. Jena 6 is a good example of the hurdles we still face.

    I think what gets the GOP in trouble is that they believe so much that their ideals are colorblind, for which they really are (and shouldn't need racial pandering), but forget that they need to sell their ideals to people coming from very different perspectives.

    September 26, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Neal says,

    "The interest of the GOP doesn't parallel the interest of Black voters in almost zero ways possible."

    – – – – – –

    Neal – thank you for articulating the great misconception. Your statement actually shows a degree of racism. Let's list the ideals of the party and then, in parenthesis, list YOUR assumptions.

    The Republican party (not perfect) stands for:

    1. Supporting the family (Black people don't care about family.)

    2. Reducing taxes for all Americans (Black people don't care about paying taxes.)

    3. Giving people a chance regardless of race, gender: Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Alberto Gonzales, etc etc. (Black people don't want to participate in vital governing.)

    4. The "American Dream" afforded to all willing to reach for it – homeownership by minorities at the highest levels EVER under Bush (Black people don't want to own homes).

    5. Strong Military (Black people don't care about military matters)

    6. Solving illegal immigration (Black people don't care about illegal immigrants)

    Again – your suggestion that the Republican party doesn't parallel the interest of black voters is amazingly ignorant. Sadly, though, MOST democrats and many black leaders espouse the same message.

    September 26, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Angela, Alexandria, VA

    I love this guy!

    September 26, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. CLIF, MEDIA, PA

    IF THEY ARE NOT AFRAID THEN WHY CAN'T THEY SHOW UP FOR A DEBATE.

    September 26, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    They're not afraid of them, they don't care about them.
    The Republicans have done the math. More white Americans vote, than Blacks. What votes the Republicans lose among Black Americans is more than made up by White Americans. Just look at what happened in the Senate race in Tennessee. Why do you think the Republicans are attacking Hillary with such venim? They want to run against Obama.
    You heard of the saying, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." Well the Republicans have figured out how to divide the country and they are the ones that are left standing.

    September 26, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Rodney Dallas TX

    Matin has a point. It was the Republicans who ended slavery and yet, we rarely see a black republican. The Dems wanted to keep slavery but blacks relate more to dems now than they do repubs. When did repubs and dems switch sides?

    September 26, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Colony 14 author, Mount Prospect, Illinois

    Would Galileo be accused of being afraid of members of a flat-earth society if he declined an invitation to speak at one of their events? Republican candidates aren’t afraid of black voters, they simply see no point in wasting time on a group that collectively votes against them 90%. A smart candidate spends time persuading swing voters to support him. There’s no point in a Republican wasting time campaigning for votes in Nancy Pelosi’s leftist district, nor is there any point in Hillary or Obama campaigning in a district mostly made up of people who believe in limited government and free enterprise capitalism. When the black voters eventually figure out that they’re better off with (true) Republicans in office than with watered down socialists, you’ll never see a Democrat win a national election again.

    September 26, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. dan , dallas, tx.

    Reply to Kevin in Greensboro:

    The Republican debate on Sep. 5, 2007 was the hightest-rated debate thus far. It brought 3.14 million total viewers. That beats the nine other legitimate Presidential debates.

    Tavis Smiley doesn't have the viewers, so again, why would any candidate attend a debate no one is watching?

    September 26, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Linda in Highland

    Oh come on....there are "some" black voters who really do have their heads on straight...they give thought before voting..they do NOT like the majority of black voters just go to the poll..or "get a ride" to the polls and vote democratic....because that is what we have always done! please..... if any of the black voters were honest with themselves, and actually looked back in HISTORY as to what the democractic party has really even done for them....they would realize the sad truth. But...thank God, there are many many of those who have picked themselves up, gone back to school, asked for help and or assistance, and are making a wonderful living....a big YEAH for them! GOP is not afraid of the black voters.... these voters aren't interested. Their eyes are closed...their ears are shut...surely Roland Martin can see that....but then maybe not.

    September 26, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Ryan Indianapolis IN

    This is the race baiting I have come to expect from the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons and this no name loser. First of all the Black voters have been brainwashed by democrats that the republicans dont care about them and the democrats always promise the world and dont deliver. President Bush has more minorities in his cabinet than any other president in US history (including President Bill Clinton) and he is still considered racist by the black voters. The black voters just dont get it, they forget that the Republican party is the party of Abe Lincoln , you know the guy that freed you from slavery. I think this article is horrible and completely inaccurate. This is man is full of lies and is the man reason why there is still racism today. Shame on you.

    September 26, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Ryan, New York, NY

    4. The "American Dream" afforded to all willing to reach for it – homeownership by minorities at the highest levels EVER under Bush (Black people don't want to own homes).

    Posted By Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca : September 26, 2007 12:07 pm

    You're really going to give Bush credit for this? Just watch how fast that number falls as the number of foreclosures continues to increase because so many of those homeowners that created that "highest level EVER under Bush" can't afford the homes that they're living in and never should have been able to buy in the first place because they shouldn't have been approved for loans.

    So yeah, take credit for that one.

    By the way, Bob Herbert's column, "The Ugly Side of the G.O.P." in the NY Times yesterday is about this same topic if anyone's interested.

    September 26, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Seekster, Arlington, TX

    Do say that there is such a thing as speaking for the entire black community is about as ridiculous as saying that someone can speak for the entire white, latino, or asian community. In fact it borders on racism to say that all people of a single race have almost the exact same interests.

    September 26, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Mark, Shreveport, LA

    You say GOP candidates should not ignore the black vote. You then point out that over 90% of black voters vote democrat time and time again. Can't you see the contradiction? GOP candidates going to the NAACP would be analagous to the GOP trying to court the AFL/CIO or immigrant rights organizations.

    In your heart of hearts, do you really think GOP candidates would gain any African-American votes by going to an NAACP forum? I mean enough votes to make a bigger difference then meeting with groups of voters in IA, NH, or SC?

    If Tom Tancredo did the righ thing by going to the NAACP forum, I guessl Tom Tancredo now start picking up black votes and endorsements from prominent blacks or black organizations. Do you really think he won any black votes? Seriously.

    How many democrat candidates went to the NRA forum? How many went to the debate sponsored by Fox News? How many would go to a forum held by the CATO Institute?

    A candidate needs to go where his likely voters are – voters he has a chance of winning over. Given the "strangle hold" that the democrat party has on the black votes, it would be a waste of time for GOP candidates to spend time trying to win over an indifferent or even hostile crowd.

    It does not matter that the two highest ranking African-American government officials (4th in line for the Presidencey) in history were appointed by the current GOP president. He won't be known as a "black president" like his predecessor whose highest ranking appointed black was Sec of Commerce (10th in line for the presidency).

    Come on, how many people at that NAACP forum were seriously considering NOT voting for Clinton, Obama, or Edwards?

    As long as the democrats succeed in keeping so many blacks addicted to government and government programs (healt care, education, welfare, housing, affirmative action), GOP candidates who are not 100% for those programs have little to no chance of winning votes by saying they want to get government LESS involved in people's lives.

    Yes, black voters today ARE the same as their parents. If they were not, then you might see them running for public office as libertarians or indepenents, but do you? When was the last time there was a serious African-American candidate for congress, senate, or a governorship that was not a democrat. By serious, I mean a candidate that had at least a 50/50 shot of winning. How much of the African American vote did Michael Steele, J. Kenneth Blackwell or Lynn Swann get? If they carried the GOP vote, they wouldn't have needed much of the black vote to win (no more than say 25-33%), but did they get it?

    When trying to google the percentage of black votes Steele received (which I could not fine), I found this quote "Democrats say it will take more than a few attractive black Republican candidates to overcome GOP positions - on affirmative action and other issues - that many blacks view as anathema to their interests."

    So if the GOP does not change its positions, why bother courting a hostile vote?

    September 26, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Tim Aurora, Illinois

    You know the GOP's problem with Africana American Voters is that they vote largely the same. In any given election the African American vote is 88 to 90% for or against a candidate. No other ethnic group in the United States comes any where close to that number. That makes the African voting block a blessing for those who get it and a nightmare for those who don't

    September 26, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Ryan – NY

    You wrote, "You're really going to give Bush credit for this? Just watch how fast that number falls as the number of foreclosures continues to increase because so many of those homeowners that created that "highest level EVER under Bush" can't afford the homes that they're living in and never should have been able to buy in the first place because they shouldn't have been approved for loans."

    – – – – – –

    My statement is that Republican (Bush included) support fair and equal opportunity for ALL to have homeownership. Individuals still must be responsible for their financial decisions.

    The sentiment that Republicans don't care about minorities is a political propaganda promoted by Democrats, bought by minorities. Tax cuts for all is colorblind. Vouchers for private schools is a colorblind idea (actually would HELP inner city kids be given more options). Homeownership for all is colorblind.

    The people who want to divide this nation by race – consistently are democrats. I wonder why???

    September 26, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. pat, huntington, ny

    Answer:
    As to Guiliani – two names...Louima and Diablo.

    September 26, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Lance in Monrovia CA

    they're scared of black voters because they know the only way to get them not to vote for Democrats is to steal their votes. That's why Tim Griffen and Karl Rove will resort to tossing out absentee ballots with ethnic names, tossing out provisional ballots, pushing phony "poll tax/Jim Crow like" Voter ID cards, use caging lists and false felon lists in black neighborhoods, send black districts faulty voting machines or too few voting machines so they create long lines forcing people to use useless provisional ballots.

    read Armed Madhouse, the book that kid in Florida got tasered for mentioning, to learn more. By Greg Palast. It's at the library or borders.

    The solution: VOTE EARLY. Go to early voting stations and if you're not on the polls DO NOT ACCEPT A PROVISIONAL BALLOT IT WILL NOT BE COUNTED. If you're there a few days early you can call the local Democratic party to get your voter registation figured out. Don't let the scared Republicans toss out 5 million black and hispanic votes like they did last time. We can win this next election if we pay attention.

    I'm supporting Barack Obama in part because he knows all about the tricks these Repubs will use to steal votes, coming from Chicago, a damn crooked district for election fraud.

    He will also inspire voters who normally wouldn't come to the polls to come out. Obama 08. Stop the hate, therre is no fate, don't be late, set the date. Either Jan. 19 or Feb. 5th in most states. Vote.

    They have damn good reason to be scared of you, as long as you're paying attention.

    September 26, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. Rich Jones Atlanta, GA

    People in the GOP are not scared of black voters. They are scared of black people. They show that over and over. It doesn't matter if black people and the GOP agree on an issue. As long as the GOP is afraid of black people as people, they will not get black votes.

    September 26, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. RuthieM

    Well, scared is the same thing as prejudice, is it not? Our fear is borne basically from pre-judging - we don't know what's beyond those trees, it could be tigers or lions or bears, oh my! - so we pre-judge and become - scared. We don't really know that person, so we pre-judge him, and become - scared of him. Prejudice. It's the reason white people have given black people a hard time ever since slavery: because (1) they acquired the upper hand (slavemaster), and (2)they've been truly unknowing of blacks, therefore pre-judging, being 'afraid' of, because of this other skincolor people, which is racism, division. And this thought process, this age-old mindset ruminates and swells. Just look at the kids from the Jena, La highschool tragedy. Instead of these kids fighting out their differences among each other then go home with a bruised ego and a bloody nose like we all did in school, this was and is a racially bitter tragedy, heightened by the adults - the parents', lawyers', judges' intervention. Too bad. So this with the GOP tells me you put one of these today 2007 men who we're begging to attend black debates, into the white house and it will be the same ole backwardism, separatism, divisionism, continued racism, and on top of it all - the continuation and perpetuation of the Iraq occupation! Again I say LEAVE THEM ALONE. Let them disappear into the background and stay in their own separatist world. What's ironic is that here they go around the country campaigning on the message they stole from Obama - 'Change for the Country', 'New Direction', etc. when what they really mean is just a new white face in the oval office!! And any black person who votes for these republicans or who joins the republican party might as well be grinnin' and skinnin' with a noose choked around his or her neck, like going forward with the brakes on, unless and until that republican black person forces a new position, a new direction for this political party!

    September 26, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. John Chicago IL

    they're scared of black voters because they know the only way to get them not to vote for Democrats is to steal their votes. That's why Tim Griffen and Karl Rove will resort to tossing out absentee ballots with ethnic names, tossing out provisional ballots, pushing phony "poll tax/Jim Crow like" Voter ID cards, use caging lists and false felon lists in black neighborhoods, send black districts faulty voting machines or too few voting machines so they create long lines forcing people to use useless provisional ballots.

    read Armed Madhouse, the book that kid in Florida got tasered for mentioning, to learn more. By Greg Palast. It's at the library or borders.

    The solution: VOTE EARLY. Go to early voting stations and if you're not on the polls DO NOT ACCEPT A PROVISIONAL BALLOT IT WILL NOT BE COUNTED. If you're there a few days early you can call the local Democratic party to get your voter registation figured out. Don't let the scared Republicans toss out 5 million black and hispanic votes like they did last time. We can win this next election if we pay attention.

    I'm supporting Barack Obama in part because he knows all about the tricks these Repubs will use to steal votes, coming from Chicago, a damn crooked district for election fraud.

    He will also inspire voters who normally wouldn't come to the polls to come out. Obama 08. Stop the hate, therre is no fate, don't be late, set the date. Either Jan. 19 or Feb. 5th in most states. Vote.

    They have damn good reason to be scared of you, as long as you're paying attention.

    Posted By Lance in Monrovia CA : September 26, 2007 2:15 pm

    Are you serious Lance,,Stop drinking the Kool Aid out in Cali. Usually democrats try to steal the vote using the black vote. Do you remember what JFk did to Nixon in chicago ,,over 70k dead votes for Kennedy,,,You are either very naive or astoundingly ignorant or maybe both?????/

    September 26, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Tony in TN

    As long as blacks continue to follow racist like Jackson and Sharpton...I would not want their vote either!

    I guess beating the crap out of a white kid...like in Norfolk is always excusable because their black and repressed right? The only ones holding blacks back are blacks.

    September 26, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. james, Minneapolis, MN

    as long as whites continue to support racists like David Duke the GOP wont have to worry about their vote.

    The only thing holding blacks down is blacks but the only thing keeping them from voting GOP are racist whites. You are not going to get people to vote for a party that gets 90 percent Klan Votes no matter how in line the policies are.

    September 26, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Tom, Mission Viejo, CA

    If I were a Republican candidate for president I would most defintely show up at the NAACP sponsored debate. Even if 80% of the black population might vote against me, I would have a platform in front of a largely skeptical, but open minded population of voters. There are millions of blacks that vote Republican and if I could inspire them to court other blacks to consider throwing off the chains of the Democratic party, then I have done something positive.

    I don't know the mainstrem Rep. candidates failed to attend. They had a great chance to create dialogue within sectors of the black community that they otherwise would have ignored. Would it waste time? I don't think missing a little BBQ in Iowa or South Carolina is going to be a big detraction.

    Republicans do need to do a better job of attracting black votes, its very simple. Rep. want better school systems (vouchers/competition with public shcools), lower taxes, less destructive government interference with business....all ideas that could revitalize poor urban communities!

    Republicans need to make it known very clearly to 'blacks' that the conservative/small government Republican platform will help their community. They continue to suffer under the Democrats...for the past 30 years!

    It is self-defeatist of Republicans to 'write-off' the black vote. The fact that Tom Tancredo showed up for the NAACP just shows how screwed up our Republican party 'leaders' are. That debate is an awesome opportunity to shake up politics as we know it. The debate is a great way to create contacts and get closet black republicans out!

    Does anyone know that Ted Hayes, an advocate of the homeless, supports the little 'r' republican platform??

    The current Republican party needs to shake things up and see they need to change their image...well, the voters need to vote for better representatives than what we currently have...ie anyone that has shaken hands with Sen. Craig after he returned to the Capitol.

    September 26, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Ayveel, Dallas, TX

    I am a Black Republican. Proud of it to. Yeah I voted for George Bush in 2004. Yes I will vote Republican in 2008.

    First, the GOP is not afraid of Black voters because they can truly win without Blacks voting for them. The last two elections prove that. Only 11% of Blacks voted Republican.

    If the truth be told, the Dems are afraid of the Blacks. Democrats can't win without the Black vote.

    I will say that the only problem the GOP has is President Bush and his possible effect on the election.

    The most fearful thing that Dems have concerning black voters are the possibilities of Black christians who will vote morals and beliefs. Historically they have voted Democrat, but recently have voted Republican. Most Black megachurches are pastored by Republican voting ministers. While they may not endorse vocally across the pulpit, they most certainly say what a Christian shouldn't vote for.

    Expect the Dems to become more religious just as the GOP did. The difference is, Christians are not concerned with the Republican senator who happens or might be gay or vice-presidents daughter who is a lesbian, and wife had an abortion (loosely speaking). They just care on how you vote when it comes to issues. If you believe in those issues, really know one cares.

    Also, Blacks who desire progress on all levels especially economically will start to realize that Dems are for Big Government Control, Higher Taxes, and Estate Taxes that suck the wealth of Black American dry.

    Instead they will that Republicans want to do away with the Estate Tax and the Capital Gains tax so that more money can stay in our pockets. Big business is good because it is the pensions and mutual funds that our 401k's are linked to.

    September 26, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Charles, NY

    The GOP is not scared of black voters, Mr. Martin. They've just given up any hope of attracting a black constituency. In all probability, it is the black voters who are afraid of the GOP- afraid, that is, because they distrust any political entity that currently boasts the allegiance of a majority of their one-time oppressors, demographically speaking.

    September 26, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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