In a More Diverse America, A Mostly White Convention
"It's hard to look around and not get frustrated," said Michael S. Steele, a black Republican and former lieutenant governor of Maryland. "You almost have to think, 'Wait. How did it come to this?'"
Tribes back convention events
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is sponsoring today's delegate "Bloody Mary Brunch" on a rainy Minnesota morning on Lake Minnetonka. The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians logo is on the tote bags the delegation is handing out. Others, such as the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, are listed as delegation sponsors.
CNIGA and the individual tribes are equal opportunity donors--they also helped underwrite many of the California Democratic delegation events in Denver last week.
Recall that the Democratic convention had 143 Native delegates. The Republican convention can't muster more than 36 black delegates. That suggests it probably has only 2-3 Native delegates.
"How did it come to this?" asks Michael Steele. It "came to this" because Richard Nixon intentionally pursued a policy of racial polarization in 1968. The Republican Party abandoned any pretense of representing everyone and focused instead on wooing white Americans. As long as whites were the majority, the strategy worked well for conservative candidates.
For more on the subject, see America the Conservative.
Below: A totally unrelated image? You be the judge.
I am thrilled to find a well-written, interesting blog, if you can't tell. Anyway, I thought I'd throw in the ring that two of the black Republicans at the convention were from Arkansas. I'm not sure how it works elsewhere, but the Republican Party down here picks delegates like so: At least six months before the convention, people who are interested in going to the convention pay a $125 filing fee and declare who they'd be interested in representing (in this case, McCain, Romney, etc). At the state party convention in the summer, delegates are voted on by a carefully selected group of voters which is far too complex for me to grasp, much less explain. Then, of course, people pay their own way to go, although you can sometimes get contributions from sponsors.
So, it's not like organizers got together and said, "You know, our voters are insular, insecure white guys. We shouldn't scare them by having too many black people there." There were several convoluted, backwards steps that had nothing to do with TV executives. Maybe it's because not many black people registered to go. Maybe it's because their white-guy opponents had more friends. Who knows?
Then again, the Republicans I know relish having had Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln in their party's history. They're silly conservatives and fundamentalist Christians, yes, but they're nice people. And they're awfully proud that their Baptist megachurch has a black associate pastor and hosts a Laotian congregation that's raising money for its own church.
I'm not trying to pretend like racism and sexism are dead, because that's not realistic. (Have you noticed that Governor Palin happens to be a hot, loving mother of seven? "Why, she brings her children to work? How cute!") I do think we're improving, though. By inches and centimeters, but it's something.
Thanks for joining us, P.A. Always nice to have someone new around here.
How did the party of Lincoln become anti-black? In an article titled "For Howard Dean to Win, He'll Have to Beat Nixon," Mark Kurlansky explains. From the LA Times, 12/29/03:
Nixon, always known more as an opportunist than an ideologue, assessed the political landscape when he ran for president in 1968, a time when Republicans had lost every presidential election since the Depression, except for two by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Like Dean today, he asked why are we losing and how can that be changed?
Nixon saw his opportunity in the decline of the great civil rights movement and the killing of Martin Luther King Jr. He judged that the South, a solid Democratic bloc that had never forgiven Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans for the Emancipation Proclamation, was furious about 10 years of civil rights progress and was ready to turn on the Democrats, who had received faithful Southern support since before the Civil War. In the end, Nixon defeated the Democrats not because of their worst disaster, Vietnam, but because of their greatest accomplishment, civil rights.
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