The New York Times is reporting on a curious byproduct of Obama’s election: the ascendence of Black GOP hopefuls. According to the Times, at least 32 Black republicans are running for Congress this year, the largest number since Reconstruction.
“Party officials and the candidates themselves acknowledge that they still have uphill fights in both the primaries and the general elections, but they say that black Republicans are running with a confidence they have never had before. They credit the marriage of two factors: dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, and the proof, as provided by Mr. Obama, that blacks can get elected.
…Princella Smith, who is running for an open seat in Arkansas, said she viewed the president’s victory through both the lens of history and partisan politics. “Aside from the fact that I disagree fundamentally with all his views, I am proud of my nation for proving that we have the ability to do something like that,” Ms. Smith said.
…Many of the candidates are trying to align themselves with the Tea Partiers, insisting that the racial dynamics of that movement have been overblown.”
With midterm elections rapidly approaching in November, you can expect the country’s “post-racial” talk to pick up. Opposing Democrats are already saying that the numbers are overblown; political strategist Donna Brazile noted that there were 24 Black GOP candidates in ‘94 and ‘00, none of whom won their respective races.
Of course, the GOP’s courtship of Black folks isn’t new. Party leaders have openly advocated for recruiting younger members of color – Hip Hop Republican, anyone? – so it doesn’t surprise me that conservative Black candidates are happily finding more party support.
What’s mind-boggling to me is this Tea Party nonsense. Talk about losing your base. Tea Partiers have made it brutally clear that they’re fighting to preserve “their” (read: white) America, not to forge a new one. If anything, this smells like a ploy to convince white America that Black candidates can be good conservatives, too, instead of offering Black communities convincing reasons to vote Republican.