How To Break The Black Vote Monolith
HINT: IT DOESN’T INVOLVE THE GOP
The black vote is power – at least for Democrats. Has been for decades. In fact a quick glance at election results reveals that black support for “Republican” presidential nominees hasn’t cleared the 15 percent threshold in half a century.
The GOP is working feverishly to change this dynamic, but there’s only so much an army of Alex P. Keaton wannabes can do … and there’s only so much “outreach” (a.k.a. lip service) can accomplish.
Here’s the basic breakdown: At a time when Republicans are losing the support of fiscal conservative/ social libertarian voters, Democrats are shoring up their core constituency of black voters. Not only that, they’re doing so despite deteriorating economic conditions for blacks.
When Barack Obama took office in 2009, the labor participation rate among blacks was 63.2 percent. Today it has dropped to 60.9 percent. Inflation-adjusted median household income among blacks has also declined – from $34,880 to $33,321. Black homeownership is also slipping – from 46.1 to 43.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the percentage of blacks living in poverty has climbed under Obama – from 25.8 to 27.2 percent. Black food stamp use is also rising – climbing from 7.4 million to 11 million since Obama took office.
“Republicans should ask black voters this question: What has Obama done for you lately?” black conservative columnist Deroy Murdock wrote recently for National Review.
Well … somebody should.
Despite these statistics, the “black monolith” at the polls not only endures … but is strengthening. According to U.S. Census data released last year, “blacks were the only race or ethnic group to show a significant increase between the 2008 and 2012 elections in the likelihood of voting” – climbing from 64.7 percent to 66.2 percent.
Overall there was a decline in eligible voters casting ballots – from 63.6 percent in 2008 to 61.8 percent in 2012.
“Over the last five presidential elections, the share of voters who were racial or ethnic minorities rose from just over one in six in 1996 to more than one in four in 2012,” one Census data analyst noted.
As Bill Wilson of the Market Research Foundation recently noted, Democrats showed off their black turnout operation in last year’s Virginia gubernatorial race – matching 2012 turnout for Obama in an off-year election and delivering a narrow victory for Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
“Our research showed how the black vote was boosted dramatically in Richmond City, Norfolk, Newport News, Petersburg and other Democratic strongholds – giving McAuliffe his margin of victory,” Wilson wrote.
Thanks to this effort, black turnout statewide in Virginia increased by 25 percent from the 2009 gubernatorial race.
Last week reporter McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed published a nifty writeup on the status of GOP outreach efforts headed into the 2014 and 2016 election cycles.
“After announcing early in 2013 that the party would spend $10 million on an ambitious minority engagement initiative, the RNC has hired at least 42 black and Latino field representatives, spreading them across the country in key states with the mandate to lay a permanent groundwork for future Republican candidates,” Coppins wrote. “They have recruited local surrogates, identified sympathetic business organizations and churches, and organized grassroots voter contacting.”
Additionally, Coppins noted how Republican National Committee chairmen Reince Priebus was “preaching a gospel of inclusion and diversity” to black colleges and media outlets.
To what end, though? “Republicans” could double their black support and still find themselves on the losing end of national elections – especially as they alienate more and more of the nation’s shrinking white electorate.
“It’s past time that the GOP’s lily white cadre of dark-suited, red-tied, two-faced, big-spending, liberty-depriving, imperialistic, crony capitalistic, currency manipulating, morally sanctimonious, special interest suckling politi-whores went away for good .. and let people who actually stand for the things they claim to stand for take a crack at this,” we wrote following the 2012 election (a race in which we endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson’s presidential bid).
Which brings us to our point: The GOP is done. Sure there may be “Republican” wave elections in the future – possibly even in the 2014 midterms – but the larger tide is moving in the wrong direction. And even when “Republicans” win, taxpayers (current and future generations) still lose … with the GOP establishment becoming increasingly hostile to limited government perspectives with each passing day.
There is a way to break up the black Democratic monolith but trust us … it’s got nothing to do with “GOP outreach.”