What will become of the Grand Ol’ Party?
In what some dub a momentary victory, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew from secretary of state consideration.
Rice experienced significant pushback for comments that she made regarding the attack of a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Although Rice relied on the intelligence community when she spoke, the repercussions were clear: No Rice, Republicans said.
Is she a conservative consolation prize for a party still smarting from a presidential loss? The Rice criticisms resonated as racist and sexist for many who couldn’t fathom the diplomat being called anything but qualified and competent.
Often the political climate underscores a battle between diversity and division in America. Cue crazy news stations. Bring on census data. Notice the Spanish signs everywhere? Curious cultural changes are afoot.
While it’s no secret that families of diverse backgrounds have “conservative” values, President Barack Obama’s re-election highlighted schisms.
“The right” increasingly connotes “the wrong” when voter disenfranchisement tactics, anti-woman agendas, single parent shaming and anti-immigration legislation are still fresh on many Americans’ minds.
Republicans often speak to unwavering privilege and tokenism. Mitt Romney wrote no concession speech because he knew he had it in the bag.
Papers-please legislation was promulgated. Planned Parenthood, which provides an array of health services, was demonized as a promiscuous woman’s backspace button, instead of a viable health organization for people needing care.
Many Republicans promote merit, individualized effort, financial responsibility and Christianity.
Then some refute climate change and treat the phrase “global warming” like a four letter word. Diversity seems more theoretical than practical. And voters conceptualize these points. Bloomberg reported that Blacks vote Democratic 9-1, Asians 3-1 and Latinos almost 3-1.
Republicans of color do garner headlines. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is Indian. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is also Indian. Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mayor Mia Love is Black.
George P. Bush, son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, is an attorney and real estate investor who many believe is a burgeoning politician. Supporters say that he possesses enviable characteristics that could edge him out over others: He is a Bush. He is well liked. He is Latino.
Although there are other Republicans of color, the GOP confronts challenges appealing to a wider base.
Yes, interracial dating, marriage and families aren’t as controversial as in years past. As a result, racial lines could lose rigidity. But, before they do, the GOP might want to develop favor with booming populations.
Being an anti-other and abrasive Republican keeps certain people in the news, but it also pushes would-be supporters away. Even people who identify with GOP values don’t usually want to look prejudicial and passé.
Posts like Ann Coulter’s recent blog, “America Nears El Tipping Pointo” don’t help. In the post she portrays (lies about) Latinos as baby-making machines looking for handouts. Similar sentiments hardly help the party’s pluralism.
Some right-wingers accept change. Some confront change. Some confront the mirror because altering orthodox culture can freak people out.
It’s not that calling attention to ethnic, familial and other trends is inherently troubling. However, factually unsubstantiated, anti-diversity claims contribute to the problem.
Issues matter. Policy matters. Yet voters across the spectrum carry their identities (gender, race, color, class, sexual orientation and so on) into the voting booth. Sometimes people must feel validated and affirmed as equally human first before they hear and support political ideas.
Questions linger about if the GOP will change. If Republicans want to be more “grand” than “old party” they could embrace the Disney cartoon Pocahontas’ swag and “paint with all the colors of the wind.”