The Black Republican Candidates are back in higher numbers this time. Maybe Michael Steele did encourage them. Their reach, however, may not be long enough to bank traditional white GOP voters.
When the average person thinks of black Republicans the name of former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts, who left office in 2003, comes to mind.
A GOP South Carolinian, Tim Scott, whose campaign takes boast, in a 30 second ad, that he wrote the first state bill to reject “Obama healthcare,” may become the other Black Republican elected to Congress. Scott, who received a Sarah Palin endorsement, defeated the son of Strom Thurmond in the Republican Party Primary. Tim Scott will compete for the Congressional seat in a district that is majority white and traditionally Republican. His challenger is a Black Democrat, but Scott will likely win based on district demographics and history.
A slate of somewhere around 40 black Grand Ole’ Party candidates are spread throughout the states. While it may be unique to the Midwest, with the election of J.C. Watts, it is uncommon for African American Republicans to win office.
Black Republican Congressional Candidate, Isaac Hayes, through his political attacks, is giving incumbent Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. a challenge. Congressman Charlie Rangel and Congresswoman Bernice Johnson, currently facing ethics committee charges, both have Black Republican challengers.
Despite the attacks and the concerted effort, it is unlikely that Black Republicans will defeat Black Democrats in favorable democratic districts, however.
The bottom line is that Black Republicans who are successful in bids for public office are rare throughout the U.S. There are not many Black Republicans who actually have an opportunity to win due to district demographics, viable white republicans, and a district’s partisan performance. Maybe they should just stick to voting Republican and not running for office.
With enough political stumping, pandering, and selling, however, a minority Republican may just have a shot in the Deep South.
The most visible Republican with a less than white complexion in the Deep South (and this is really a huge stretch) who currently holds statewide office is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. As Jindal gave the GOP response to Obama’s State of the Union address the points of his speech included his parents’ immigration status. Other than briefly mentioning his minority status, Jindal does not address matters of race too often. Jindal’s first name is actually “Piyush.” Because he liked the character “Bobby Brady” of the1970’s Brady Bunch television series, he decided to give himself the nick name “Bobby,” which ended up on the ballot in all his races instead of his true name, Piyush. Jindal is a former Congressman who lost his first election for Louisiana Governor but won his second after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He never stopped running for Governor after he lost, and campaigned four years all the way to the Governor’s mansion.
Though the Democratic Party proves time and time again that they are not the party of African Americans but the “party of inclusion,” Democratic candidates count on the voting bloc of African Americans during elections. Until Republicans straighten their policy positions and white papers to include more than the GOP norm, Democrats will always count on the Black voting bloc. As the former SCLC President, Joseph Lowery , said, “The Democrats take us for granted and the Republicans just take us.”