"Cosby Republicans: Key To Reviving Moderate Republicanism?"
i found this to be an interesting read. but i still can't see why negroes feel that being a pawn for democrats or republicans will improve conditions in the black community. the white republicans don't even try to hide the fact that they won't embrace black people. - 3X
Cosby Republicans: The Key To Reviving Moderate Republicanism?
“The black vote may even be more attractive to the Republican Party than the Hispanic vote because Hispanics are less likely to be citizens and less likely to turn out to vote even if they are eligible. Republicans could chip away at black allegiance to the Democratic Party by expending more efforts in black communities, continuing to push for faith-based initiatives popular among black Christians, expanding black homeownership, supporting charter schools and other educational reforms that resonate with blacks, and continuing to take a tough stand on national security.” - Carol M. Swain, Vanderbilt University law and political science professor and moderate
"Victimhood Democrats drove me to it. London bombing helped too. Thomas Sowell's good sense helped draw me in." - Daniel Aldridge, a Booker Rising reader who just switched from the Democratic to Republican parties
Some months ago, I wrote about how to increase the influence of black moderates and conservatives in the Democratic Party. Now I write about carving a niche in Republican politics for old-school blacks - or black folks who are socially moderate to conservative, but fiscally liberal to moderate. My blogmate Cobb - who is a moderate-conservative Republican - has discussed old-school black folks as potential GOP converts. Call them potential Cosby Republicans, and they have the potential to transform moderate Republicanism, black politics, and the Republican Party itself.
What statistics often hide is the variation within Black America. Black folks know old-school blacks: they are no nonsense folks; live in neatly trimmed city bungalows or growing suburbs; pay their taxes on time, go to church - and I do mean church, as this is a fervently Christian crowd - every week if not several times a week, and believe in strong family values and that education is the black person's ticket to success. They may have grown up poor, but are now working-class and often middle-class. Old-school blacks believe in helping out the less fortunate - it is this subgroup which makes black Americans among the most generous Americans, per capita, when it comes to charitable contributions and volunteerism - but they want folks to at least meet them halfway in improving their lives. They often help out their less fortunate relatives, so they have firsthand experience in this area. Along with concerns about moral issues, it is this point of the Republican Party's plank that has some appeal to them.
So yes, old-school blacks generally believe that moderate-liberal comedian Bill Cosby is right in his critiques of some black folks, although he is merely expressing points that they've quietly brought up for years at family barbecues, church picnics, and at dinnertime. And of course, they prefer reruns of Mr. Cosby's old television shows - which they believe promoted positive black values - to "The Parkers", which they view as ghetto fabulous. These are the folks castigated in liberal Michael Eric Dyson's recent book, Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has The Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?
Old-school black values used to not be liberal or conservative - think of the values that Booker T. Washington and early W.E.B. DuBois shared, despite their agreements on key issues - but social liberals have since ceded concerns about black cultural fragmentation and the moral environment to social conservatives.
I look at many of my relatives, who are socially conservative and growing increasingly restless with the Democratic Party. One of my uncles is exploring membership in the Republican Party, as he believes the Democratic Party is undermining old-school black values with its attacks on religion and moral values and has lost its mind on national security issues. He is a proud gunowner, but staunchly pro-union and favors a social safety net (but believes it is abused by folks). These are folks concerned about today's black youth, the breakdown of black families, and increasing secularism in society. This is the group of black cultural conservatives who, in key swing states like Ohio, doubled President Bush's black vote in that critical swing state and helped prevent a win by Sen. John Kerry. One sees the Republican Party wooing this group, with its "Give Us A Chance And We'll Give You A Choice" campaign.
Some folks have called it the Northern Strategy - the reverse of the Republican Party's infamous Southern Strategy: targeting black cultural conservatives who mostly reside in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri, and where a few percentage points increase in black support - coupled with its traditional base support - can enable the Republican Party to have an enduring majority. As my blogmate Cobb point outs, the GOP is even using demographic and consumer data to micro-target black voters in key swing states who may be amenable to its appeals, with these voters stating that it opened them to Republican arguments like never before. Many old-school blacks have moved from the Democratic into the independent column. The Republican Party's challenge is to get them into its column.
I can see folks like many of my relatives or Professor Swain - who are socially conservative but fiscally liberal - as moderate Republicans. Of course, this black infusion would turn probably flip the script on the predominantly white moderate Republican model of fiscal moderatism and social liberalism. While this model has a few black adherents, it has failed to grab many black folks. The Black Elephant version would be grounded in old-school black culture. That means mainly socially moderate to conservative, and fiscally liberal to moderate and populist. Think Charles Evers as a good model. Let us not forget that black voters were originally Republican way back in its days as an anti-slavery party up through the Roosevelt years - and even gave over 25% of its national vote to Republicans as late as 1960. And remember the Pew Research Center's recent survey, "Beyond Red Vs. Blue", which showed this model to be the most attractive Republican model among black respondents.
Towards A Possible Agenda Mind you, I personally disagree with much of the agenda that I outline below (I am fiscally conservative and socially moderate, and believe in small government), but I also believe that black communities desperately need more political competition. I am a pragmatist, and thus will offer recommendations that will help get us there. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a liberal commentator, recently wrote: "The fear and loathing many blacks still have of Bush's policies for now guarantee the Democrats a winning hand in the hard fought game for black voters. But Republicans think they can do something that was unthinkable a scant four years, and that's break the Democrat's stranglehold on the black vote. Bush and Mehlman may be on to something." What will grab these folks, so the Republican Party can reach its stated goal of capturing 25% of the black vote by 2008? In conversations with old-school black folks and looking at the Pew Research Center data, these positions seem to grab at the Cosby Republicans:
support for school prayer: they believe it creates better-behaved children and acknowledges God at the center of humanity
support for school vouchers: they believe enables black parents to choose better schools for their kids
opposition to abortion: viewed as black genocide
opposition to gay marriage: they believe it threatens the already fragile black marriage rate. They also view attempts by (overwhelmingly white) gay activists to link the issue to the Civil Rights Movement as almost blasphemous, racially arrogant, and leeching off black folks' hard work
pro-union: they believe it protects workers from corporate overreach
tax cuts for middle class but keep progressive structure: they don't believe that the rich pay their fair share
support for more African aid & more trade: links to their social gospel ethic
opposition to illegal immigration: viewed as mostly hurting black workers
support for government safety net: linked to their belief that government should care for the needy, but they will also support restrictions to curb irresponsible behavior
are turned off by "blacks are victims" rhetoric: they believe racism exists and will rant against it, but don't buy that it dominates as it did in the 1950s
support for affirmative action: view it as a step up for folks who are willing to improve themselves, and as payback for centuries of black oppression
There are some folks who mostly but don't entirely fit the model. For example, Mr. Aldridge mentioned above is a social moderate who supports gay marriage. So it's not a monolithic group. However, these populist folks stand out for their strong religious faith and conservative views on many moral issues. They also tend to support a social safety net, which would set them apart from conservative Republicans. Although given big-government conservatism of late, perhaps not. Cosby Republicans are skeptical about the effectiveness of free markets, and favor government regulation to protect the public interest, protect morality, and government assistance for the poor. They may overlap with white moderate Republicans on issues such as the environment and tax cuts for the middle class, but will diverge on key social issues.
However, this group is also suspicious of the Republican Party, because of its infamous Southern Strategy in wooing white voters - whom they or their parents fought battles against during the Civil Rights Movement - and wonder if the party likes black folks. The recent GOP apology, via chairman Ken Mehlman, at the NAACP's national convention may help thaw the ice. However, this is a huge hurdle for the Republican Party to cross in its outreach to old-school blacks. To get over the hump, the Republican Party must do a far better job of defining itself in media that this subgroup actually follows, which is black media. Right now, the Democratic Party defines the GOP in black media, and it ain't a flattering definition either.
To help draw this group into its ranks, the GOP should highlight the above-mentioned issues, which rankle old-school blacks regarding Democratic Party leadership. Another thing: the GOP approaches black voters as individualistic voters when most black voters are communitarian voters: i.e., they vote in what is deemed to be the larger black interest, and not necessarily what is in their own personal interest. Increased GOP efforts are a possible way to capture that additional 10 to 15 percentage points increase in the black vote, which would further expand its electoral fortunes. It also gives the "compassionate conservative" message a much-needed lift.
Almost two weeks ago, a black libertarian Republican asked conservative Republicans in an article: are you ready for black Republicans? We should ask the same question to white moderate Republicans.
# posted by Shay @ 11:30 AM
------- It's incredible how the people that know the least are the first to offer advice.