[My brother wrote an interesting piece which he's given me permission to post here. Because, you know, I hate to post anything even remotely controversial.]
I am a conservative at heart. I voted for either a Republican or for Perot from 1988 to 2000. Since George Bush came into office, the climate in politics has gotten ugly. Bush came into office promising to be a “Uniter….not a divider”. How ironic.
With Karl Rove leading the way, Bush had divided the country so badly that friends and family members can’t even talk about politics out of fear of a serious arguement breaking out. That would have never happened back in the 80s. Heck even arguing over BILL CLINTON never got into friends or family members literally getting into fist fights. Under Bush, only “Red States” were considered “Real America” (except when 9/11 could be exploited) while “Blue States” were America-hating Liberal socialists.
This is the politics that made me queasy. This divisive politics that was brought in with the Bush Administration.
But here is my major point. I am a Conservative on most issues. I proudly voted Republican. Then I saw all the ugliness and racism (yeah I said it) that came with their party. I always wondered why Dwight Eisenhower could get the majority of the black votes in the 50s, then up until the mid 60s, the black voters were almost nowhere to be found in the Republican Party. If you do some research on Nixon’s Southern Strategy, you will find out.
To make a long story short, Richard Nixon (with Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips advising him) made an unholy alliance with “Southern America” and totally abandoned the African American vote. Richard Nixon created this Frankenstein and Republican Candidates after him, from Reagan all the way to George W Bush took it and ran with it. Bob Dole being the exception to the rule.
Put it like this, I went to three Obama rallies in Indiana during the primaries and the crowd looked like America. Whites, blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Indians, and Asians. You go to a Republican rally and it is a sea of white faces with a few black people. It has been like this for about 45 years. Why is that?
Well here is my opinion. Dwight Eisenhower cared about civil rights for all Americans. He was the president that ordered the integration of a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas (research the “Little Rock Nine” for example).
Well, after Dwight Eisenhower left office, John Kennedy came into office and though not perfect, he supported civil rights. After his assassination, Lyndon Johnson carried out a lot of ideas that Kennedy promised to do. It was under Johnson that the Civil right Act was passed. When that law was passed, he said to a colleague, “We have lost the South for a generation”. How prophetic. He lost the South for three generations (and counting). It was also under Johnson that the Voting Rights Act was passed. Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court under Johnson as well.
Hypothetically, if Eisenhower could have gotten another term, I am 100% positive he would have passed a lot of the civil rights laws that Johnson eventually passed. Maybe then the black vote would have stayed Republican or at least be more evenly divided. But we’ll never know. I doubt that Nixon would have done a thing for civil rights if he had beaten JFK in 1960. His actions in 1968 show me that he didnt care about furthering civil rights.
In the 1950s, the Blacks were the Republican BASE. The 1960s was the era when Africans migrated to the Democratic Party. When Richard Nixon got into office, he realized that he was not going to get a huge amount of the black vote. Kennedy and Johnson won the Democratic Party a lot of cool points. So Nixon made an unholy alliance with the segregationist south called the “Southern Strategy”. One of Nixon’s advisors (Kevin Phillips) described it best:
“From now on, the Republicans are NEVER going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they DON’T NEED any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the NEGROPHOBE (ie racist) whites will quit the Democrats and BECOME REPUBLICANS. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old COMFORTABLE arrangement with the local Democrats”.
So the stars alligned (via a Democratic President passing Civil Righs Laws and Nixon’s Southern strategy) and those events made 90% of African American voters vote Democratuc over the last 50 years.
There is a reason why Ronald Reagan deliberately campaigned in Philadelphia, Missisippi in 1980. Philadelphia, Mississippi was the town where three Civil Rights workers were lynched and buried (two Jewish and one black). That town (of all places) is where Reagan stood and said “I believe in State’s rights”. If you lived in the deep south before 1965, you knew exactly what “States Rights” meant. Reagan was just keeping the “Southern Strategy” flames burning and to help keep Lyndon Johnson’s prophecy alive. Ironically, Nixon’s advisor, Pat Buchanon also became one of Reagan’s advisors. Imagine that.
Reagan had another advisor named in his Administration named Lee Atwater. We will get to him in a few paragraphs, but here is how he compared Ronald Reagan’s “kinder, gentler” 1980s version of the Southern strategy to Richard Nixon’s uncut version:
“You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” (in public). That hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like “forced busing”, “STATES RIGHTS” and all that stuff. You’re getting so ABSTRACT that you’re now talking about CUTTING TAXES, and all these things. You’re now talking about totally economic things and a byproduct of them is that blacks get hurt worse than whites. And SUBCONSIOUSLY maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that CODED, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
After Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush kinda used the same strategy to get elected. He hired the same Lee Attwater to run his campaign. Most consider him the “father of modern day dirty divisive politics”. One of Atwater’s main pupils was a young Karl Rove. We will discuss him later.
Anyway, I believe that neither Lee Atwater nor George Herbert Walker Bush had a racist bone in their body. As a matter of fact Atwater played back-up guitar for Percey Sledge and B.B King on occasions. That being said, they knew politics. They knew they had to appeal to the same “southern voters” that voted for Reagan and Nixon.
Initially Michael Dukakis had a SEVENTEEN point lead on George HW Bush in the polls and it looked like he was going to be the next president. The Bush campaign got desperate and needed a “Hail Mary” to win. Hence the infamous “Willie Horton” add. It was the Atomic Bomb. You all know about that add. Lee Atwater said he basically wanted to make Willie Horton a “household name” (which it is to this very day). Even in 2010, you can’t think of Dukakis without thinking of Willie Horton. Well basically, that add scared whites in the suburbs and enraged whites in the south and it was one of the main reasons why George Bush was elected
President. It was kind of disappointing to find out all this stuff about George HB Bush because I loved him as my Commander in Chief when I was in the Marines. I still adore him, but his learning of his campaign leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
By the way, Lee Atwater died of Brain Cancer three years later. On his deathbed, he said that he regretted that campaign he ran in 1988.
As we skip to 2000, we see another Bush running for office. Bush had appointed Karl Rove as his campaign manager. Karl Rove had learned all his tricks from the Master, Lee Atwater. Karl Rove took things to another level and helped create the toxic environment we now currently live in. Ironically, the tactics George Bush and Karl Rove were used in the Republican Primaries against a fellow Republican.
John McCain had won the New Hampshire Primary and was favored to win in the South Carolina Primaries. If McCain wins South Carolina, he had unstoppable momentum. So Karl reached into his bag of tricks and spread the rumor that John McCain had fathered a BLACK BABY out of wedlock. That “black baby” was an orphan that he and Cindy McCain had adopted from Banglasesh. It didn’t matter. The South Carolina voters bought into it and John McCain lost South Carolina. The “Southern Strategy” flame was rekindled and John McCain paid the price. He lost all his momentum and eventually lost every southern state in the Primaries. George Bush won the nomination and the rest is history.
Like all Republican candidates before him, George Bush spoke at Bob Jones University. Bob Jones University banned interracial dating on their campus until AFTER Bush spoke there. They lifed their ban because of the backlash and media scrutiny they recieved.
During the whole Bush Administration, it has been nothing but division. Like I said earlier, ironically Bush pledged to be a “Uniter”. Instead, the only times the country has been more divided were during the Civil War and during the 1960s. You can thank the Bush Administration for that. I personally think George Bush is probably a genuinely nice person, but he surrounded himself with people that didn’t have an ounce of honor in their DNA (like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney).
The environment is to toxic and divisive. Having Right Wing Talk Radio and Fox News easing (and oozing) their way into the political environment only muddied the waters even further. Now blacks are pitted against whites, “Real America” (meaning Red States) are pitted against “Fake Marxist America” (Blue States).
You listen to talk radio and Fox “News” and whether it is from Rush, Coulter, Malkin, Sean Hannity, or whoever and it some of the most vile stuff you will ever hear. I go to the Hannity Message boards and they echo Rush Limbaugh’s views on African Americans. According to them (or a majority of them), the ONLY reasons African Americans vote Democratic is that Democrats give us free handouts. Also according to them, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are our “leaders”.
So basically the majority of African Americans are Democrats because we are lazy and can’t think for themselves? I bet a LOT of white Republicans have been thinking like this for generations and now they have some people that will voice these opinions over the airwaves and into their televisions. How simplistic and dismissive can you get?
So unlike what Rush, Hannity, and their followers (ignorantly) say, blacks didnt just say all of a sudden say “hey lets all vote Democrat because theyre now passing out Government Cheese and other free houndouts to us negros”.
Like I also said earlier, I regretted voting for George Bush and I haven’t voted Republican since 2000 (on the national level). I went to three Obama rallies here in Indiana and you could see every color in the rainbow. You go to Republican rallies and you can spot out the ten blacks out of the thousands in their rallies. I always wondered why.
I live in a “middle class” neighborhood where the houses are worth between $100,000 and 250,000. I also have friends that live in the black suburbs where the houses are worth MILIONS. The thing these neighborhoods have in common is there are Obama signs all through their yards, so it can’t be because of Government handouts, can it? I’m sure those blacks that live in those huge houses didn’t get to where they are at by listening to Al Sharpton either. I know that I didn’t and I consider myself to be living the “American Dream”. So what gives?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Conservatives have good theories. Nothing wrong with “family values”, lowering taxes and being fiscally responsible (even though there hasnt been a fiscally responsible president in more than fifty years). Economically, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams make a TON of sense to me.
It’s not the MESSAGE, it worked with African Americans when Eisenhower was President. It is the MESSENGERS and the history. African Americans have very long memories and we pass history down from generation to generation. We haven’t forgotten which party passed all the major Civil Right laws. We also haven’t forgotten which party totally abandoned us to cater to the “southern vote”.
African Americans that vote Democrat also notice that the Pat Buchanons, Bill O’Reileys, Rush Limbaughs, Ann Coulters, Sean Hannitys, and the Glenn Becks of the world all flock to the “conservative” side. The same guys and gals that say blacks vote for Democrats are lazy, love handouts, and can’t think for themselves. The same people that dismiss and sterotype a whole race of people.
Maybe these are the reasons why blacks have voted 90% Democratic since the 1960s. That won’t change any time soon and won’t change after Obama is out of office in 2016.
In my opinion things will never change because the history is too deep and to be honest, only a few Republicans have even tried to court the black vote. One is Jack Kemp and the other is Mike Huckabee (who got 47% of the black vote when running for Governor). Unfortunately Jack Kemp died last year and Mike Huckabee made that stupid comment at the NRA Convention about someone SHOOTING Barack Obama.
I know that “Politics make strange bedfellows”. How comfortable are the African Americans here with your fellow “conservative” talk show hosts dismissing blacks as sheep? Or do you agree with them? Or better yet, how did you feel when you went to You Tube and saw Republican rallies where people brought in Monkeys to Sarah Palin rallies (some with nooses around them) that had Obama pins on them? Did you notice all the people around them thinking it was funny? Was that funny to you?
How about when that Republican was circulating a picture of the “new Obama White House Lawn” and it was a garden with nothing but watermelons in it? How about the picture of the new “Obama Dollah” and it is a Welfare Check with Barack Obama’s picture in the middle? Is that funny to you? These are your bedfellows, your fellow “Conservatives”. These are the same guys who wore shirts saying “Keep the White House White”. Do you think these Republicans respect you? Do you think they respect Michael Steele? I don’t.
My question is how much do you embrace the divisive retoric that Rush spew or do you just listen to “the good parts”?
Do I think the Republican Party is filled with racists? Absolutely not. Do I think the Democratic Party are filled with Martin Luther Kings? That’s laughable. Hillary Clinton ran a despicable campaign that would have made Nixon proud. Hillary and her “First Black President” will never get back the cool points they lost among a lot of people. I’m glad the good prevailed over that mess.
Your party doesn’t even bother to court African Americans. Just like in 1968, you have written off a whole race of people. It’s quite a shame that there are no Jack Kemps on the national level. He was for tax cuts in urban areas and even wanted to speak at the Million Man March. Imagine that.
So in my opinion, the way your party to get back
the African American vote is to:
1. COURT THEM!! (duh)
2. Get as far away from the Southern Strategy as possible.
3. Distance yourselves from Talk Radio personalities.
But the Republicans won’t do that and will mainly be a “Whites Only” club. They will screw around and make the Hispanics vote in the same percentages as African Americans. That hurts the Republicans because the Hispanics will be the majority of the US population within a generation.
These are the same Hispanics that turned Republican strongholds (like Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, my state of Indiana, Iowa, Virginia, and North Carolina) into Obama states in 2008. There are huge Hispanic Populations in these states and they will only get bigger. Could you imagine Texas not voting Republican? I can.They have long memories too. They will remember being dismissed and all lumped together as “illegals” who sneak over the border to get on Welfare. Your party has a reputation of stereotyping whole races.
The point of this super long message is that until your party ditches your Southern Strategy and dumps the Rush Limbaughs and Glen Becks of the world, your party will continue to only get 5% of the African vote and a “Black Conservatives” Facebook page will only have only 200+ members (1/3 of which happen to be white) instead of having 10,000 members.
Unfortunately, the Southern Strategy has been embedded into the Republican Party and the Rush Limbaughs arent going anywhere. That is sad for your party and it is sad for America.