Commentary — A lot has been said this election cycle about an alleged racist tone in GOP ads and speeches, one that has thus far culminated with Mitt Romney’s ill-considered remark last week that he had never been asked for a birth certificate, which was basically another “show us your papers” moment in reference to our President, Barack Obama, who happens to be black if you have not noticed.
It’s not just the birther issue that keeps rearing its head with the Republican Party. It’s also a series of ads widely condemned as false and misleading wherein Obama is accused of “gutting welfare reform.” The ads are said to be an example of dog-whistle politics, using subtle racist cues to appeal to a segment of voters who may believe welfare recipients are largely black and that Obama’s alleged soft stance on welfare is an attempt to play to what they believe is his base.
In fact, Romney himself said as much. Out loud. The now-confirmed GOP candidate referred to Obama’s supposed softness on welfare as an attempt to “shore up his base,” which seems to suggest people on welfare are Obama’s base.
And then also, there was the incident where a black CNN camerawoman was pelted with peanuts and called an “animal” by RNC attendees.
While the GOP’s feelings on the matter of race may be revealed in inadvertent dribs and drabs, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham was more open in admitting that the party is playing a risky hand right now in appealing to a limited white demographic at the expense of all the other demographics.
“The demographics race we’re losing badly … We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”
The Washington Post, which originally ran the poll, indicated that the stereotyping issue may be coming from within the party. Citing their own poll asking why black voters tend to vote Democrat, the paper says that while a majority of Republicans couldn’t name a reason; the runner-up answer was a belief in the welfare canard:
“Though ‘don’t know’ was the top answer for members of both parties, a close second among Republicans was that black voters are dependent on government or seeking a government handout. Democrats more often said that their party addresses issues of poverty.”
Black GOP consultant Raynard Jackson, who has said he was “embarrassed by the lack of diversity” at the RNC, wasn’t afraid to look within for reasons the GOP has moved so far away from a place where black people feel welcome under the big tent:
“The Republican line is that the overwhelming majority of blacks will vote for Obama because he is African American … I find this thinking extremely insulting as a black Republican. The reason the majority of blacks will vote for Obama is because Republicans have not given African Americans a reason to vote for Republicans or Romney.”
Do you think it’s too late for Republicans to make any headway with voters of color this election cycle?