In Politics, Latinos Leave Black America Behind

In Politics, Latinos Leave Black America Behind


With the wooing of the Latino vote by GOP presidential candidates, one noteworthy reality hits: the lack of attention they gave to Black Republicans in Florida – and throughout the nation.

The Sunshine State is the home of some of the most active and notable Black Republican leaders in the nation. They include Congressman Allen West of the 22nd District, Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, and the controversial but attention-grabbing activist group National Black Republican Association, made famous for their Martin Luther King billboards at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Based on the lack of media and political attention spent on them, you would never know it.  That’s a problem impacting more than just the 10% or so of Black voters that identify themselves as Republican voters.

In the aftermath of the Florida GOP primary, two apparent realities should become very clear to America moving forward. One such reality is that the GOP establishment has conceded its official support to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and everyone from former Governor Sarah Palin to the casual political observer can see that. Second – and perhaps more indicative and dangerous for Black Americans – is that in the process of driving for attention from Latino voters in Florida and throughout the country, Republicans have basically trampled over African Americans voters and ignored their presence in the electoral process.

The sad truth is that Black Republicans were not a major factor in the Florida primary: despite the Sunshine State being one of the largest bastions of Black political conservatism in the United States. Granted, a large part of that political certainty stems from Republican leaders’ inability and general unwillingness to combat the lingering racism left after decades of Southern Strategy.  However, unlike racism this dynamic of Black Republican weakness is not one-sided.

American Latinos have taken the playbook of what civil rights leaders envisioned in the 1950s and 1960s and, unlike what Black America has done collectively over the past several decades, have actually implemented it.

The Latino community maintains diverse viewpoints on a tally of positions, including illegal immigration and the president’s legislative endeavors on jobs and other policies. Black America has routinely refused to leverage the political game-changers that have impacted the political sphere.

For example, while Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) keeps a highly-esteemed profile within the Republican establishment, the conservative grassroots, and many segments of the Latino national community, one legislator that became even more of the Tea Party darling in 2010 – Congressman West – maintains a chilled relationship with most of Black America despite his membership in the Congressional Black Caucus and the grassroots’ desire to see him run for Vice President in 2012.

The lack of political diversity and the legislative opportunities that it would provide has hampered Black America in the process of selecting the best leaders possible.  In Florida, Latinos actively and enthusiastically participated in selecting a president (whether it is Romney, another Republican, or President Obama for a second term) while Black America – through its inability to hold both parties accountable and its current pigeon-holed political nature – will have that selection dictated to them.

In an era of big problems that are tangled in long histories of political dysfunction, business abuses, and societal corruption, Latinos and Blacks have taken divergent approaches to getting results from elected officials. One avenue has taken an extremely narrow-minded, limiting view on how to fix the economic and social woes of the nation, particularly those that impact urban America the most. It has ignored the diversity within its culture, differences that form from geographical, socioeconomic, educational, and family backgrounds. It has ignored the possibilities of embracing – not disgracing – these differences in a fashion where relevancy did not vary based on the successes of 50% of the political equation. It has decided to disown some of the most powerful political players in the nation based on perception and misunderstandings, even when those individuals sit “on the right side of history”.

And then there’s the other approach taken by Latinos.

Some see the successes of Latinos within the Republican Party as nothing more than a numbers game.  This is especially true when contrasting them to the struggles of Black Republicans within the GOP structure as well as the larger Black community. While this has merit, the bigger lesson from Florida GOP 2012 so far is this: politics may be a numbers game, but it is even more of a people-driven dynamic. Nationally, Latinos have done a better job of being more places politically more often than Black Americans have over the past several years. Latinos have done a better job of allowing both sides of the political argument to play out for the best of their communities.

This is unlike African Americans and the constant (and tragically reprehensible) soap opera involving Black conservatives and mainstream Black America insulting each other. Latinos have done a better job of embracing and pursuing the American Dream through all channels of government – including Republican ones – instead of allowing opportunities to disintegrate like desert mirages.

As we leave the Florida GOP primary and head into Black History Month, perhaps the recent history lesson America has received over the past decade from American Latinos can be the primer needed to jolt Black America back into greater political relevancy. Hopefully, it will be in time for Black voters to re-read and reclaim the pages from the civil rights playbook from the past, not just sing from the civil rights hymnal for another 28 days this year.

LENNY MCALLISTER is a senior contributor to Politic 365 who can be found every Saturday with pundit Maria Cardona on “CNN Saturday Morning” at 10:30 AM Eastern (9:30 Central / 7:30 Pacific.) He is regularly featured on CNN’s “Early Start” weekdays between 5:00 AM – 7:00 AM Eastern as well. Catch the radio show “Get Right with Lenny McAllister” on



  1. It's the GOP who's ignoring African-Americans, not Latinos. Republicans have pandered to Cuban-Americans in south Florida for decades while continuing to advocate policies that marginalize and antagonize other Latino groups. Nationwide, Latinos' socioeconomic standing relative to Af-Ams has less to do with party affiliation or ideology — which is predominantly Democratic, BTW — than other factors.

    • Yes I did. It's apparent, however, that you don't understand my point. Or his.

      The op-ed suggests Latinos' socioeconomic success relative to African-Americans is a result of the former's greater political diversity — a claim McAllister can't support with historical or empirical data. His argument is yet another awkward attempt at blaming Af-Ams for Republicans' dismissive attitudes towards minority groups and their politics.

      • The former is more politically diverse – it's about 60/40 split between Democrats and Republicans. At least according to data from the 2008 elections. I don't think he's blaming black people for that, but he is saying they could benefit from a change in the way their going about this.

        • Those numbers don't signify political diversity as much as party affiliation; two mutually exclusive subjects. Not all Democrats are liberal; not all Republicans are conservative. Both parties together account for just 2/3rds of voters. But even if we're to take the '60/40' number at face value, the nominal difference in voting Democrat versus Republican between Latinos and African-Americans does not account for the former's relative socioeconomic advantage. In fact, a solid argument could be made the GOP is exploiting its Latino voters in advocating policies inimical to their class interests, esp. civil liberties.

          McAllister misrepresents political parties as public interest groups, which they clearly aren't. Republicans and Democrats are rival private organizations ostensibly marketing to, respectively, wealthy and middle-class economic sensibilities. As he's decontextualized the state of Latino-Americans to falsely and without merit accredit GOP politics for the accomplishment, he's quite clearly playing the Republican apologist here.

          • The ignoring of "black" Conservatives like West just shows your true "colors." Getting 95% of blacks to vote for president just because he is "black" shows, imho, You are interested in keeping people dependent on gov't using "color" of skin to promote that Marxist ideal, just as Obama supported his Marxist african presidential campaign the other year.

  2. Latinos are themselves white and racist, most Latin American countries are racist. What African Americans need to do is include Black and Mix race Latinos into the African American communities. Because Latin America is extremely racist, this will also build the numbers of African Americans in the country. African American have make many achievement. African Americans do not vote for Republican party because their are RACIST. African Americans are NOT in competition with Latin white people. Only thing both groups have in comment is the Republican party hate both groups.

  3. […] The Sunshine State is a home of some of a many active and important Black Republican leaders in a nation. They include Congressman Allen West of a 22nd District, Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, and a argumentative though attention-grabbing romantic group National Black Republican Association,……Read the Full Article at: […]

  4. Latinos are well received in the Black communities and the schools. They have always had a good relationship with Blacks especially the ones from the Dominican, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbeans. Most Latinos are business oriented who like their own businesses. On the other hand, many blacks live from paycheck to paycheck. Young poor blacks lack the ability and enthusiasm to succeed. Drugs and high school drop outs rates are the biggest problems.

  5. This Author is jumping the gun. I think its a bit premature to say the GOP has written off the black votes in favor of the Latino voters. The GOP Florida primary was just that.

    This isn’t the General Election where you can bet the GOP nominee will compete for the black votes as well the Latinos. And if I’m a Republican thinking-man, I’d certainly tap into the frustration among black voters ,where an argument can be made how Obama ignored the plight and literally, taken their votes for grant.

    The high unemployed among black youth will sell well with black voters and a litany of other issues like, illegal immigration that is undercutting blacks’ economic opportunities.

    The GOP would have to know they’d be in a position of strength to attack Obama by sharing in blacks’ frustration with, what seems to be an anti-black Obama administration.

    A guy like Mitt Romney would look attractive to black voters with his impressive resume to create jobs, a Moderate with a heart for the middle-class……and decent enough to not go “rogue” on government programs like Social Security. Mitt Romney would be smart enough to recognize that and put the black votes in play.

    By the way, I’m black and definitely voting for Mitt Romney. Obama is a traitor!

    • Being black has nothing to do with the fact that you also seem to be very misinformed. You should really do some research, before blasting the President or any one else.

  6. "Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries."

    "The Netherlands and Belgium are more crowded than Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them."

    "Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to "assimilate," i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites."

  7. "What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?"

    "How long would it take anyone to realize I'm not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?"

    "And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn't object to this?"

    "But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews."
    "They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white."

    "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white."