Southern conservatives show signs of color-blindness

Conventional wisdom holds that America’s changing demographics, with whites expected to lose their majority status nationally within a few decades, spell trouble for the Republican Party. But while it’s true that Republicans have relied heavily on white voters for the better part of a half-century, we should also ask whether the demographic trend is really as politically problematic for the GOP as Democrats seem to think it is.

Particularly after last night’s Republican primary run-off results in the Carolinas.

South Carolina is getting most of the attention, and deservedly so, for the wins of Nikki Haley in the gubernatorial run-off and Tim Scott in a congressional race. Haley is Indian-American. Scott not only is black, but he defeated the son of one-time Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond to advance to November’s general electi0n.

And in North Carolina, another black Republican, William Randall, won his congressional run-off last night and will oppose Democratic incumbent Brad Miller in November. Texas Republicans also gave a black congressional candidate, Stephen Broden, the nod in their primary earlier this year. Other black GOPers, in states like Virginia, won congressional nominations unopposed and will be on ballots in November.

In other words, the meme that conservatives won’t vote for minority candidates is crumbling this year. What we’re seeing is that conservatives will vote candidates who share their political values, regardless of heritage or skin color.

And the number of minorities running as conservatives is rising. The Frederick Douglass Foundation, which champions conservative stances on abortion and economics, reports that more African Americans than ever are running for Congress as Republicans. Then there are people like Haley and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, not to mention Labor commissioner candidate Melvin Everson here in Georgia.

Although Thurbert Baker is a Democrat, he withstood GOP momentum in 2002 and 2006 to remain Georgia’s attorney general in large part because conservative Georgians saw him as tough on crime and reluctant to engage in the kind of lawsuit adventurism that other Democratic AGs across the country have become famous for. One could easily argue that that track record has hurt him in his quest to win the Democratic gubernatorial primary this year.

The typical question has been whether Republicans are ready to welcome minorities into their ranks. If results like last night’s are repeated later this year and into the future, the question may become whether Democrats are prepared if they do.

92 comments Add your comment

The Snark

June 23rd, 2010
10:51 am

Good news indeed, that non-white Republican candidates win on their merits. But an emerging trend? That’s wishful thinking. I personally do not see the party as a whole as racist or any other particular noxious -ist, BUT, the fact is that the GOP has long had a strategy of tacitly drawing from the well of racism, xenophobia, etc., using cleverly coded appeals, and rarely stands up to the ugle elements in its midst (slamming the “raghead” comments being a rare but welcome exception.)

Until the GOP gathers its moral strength and weans itself from courting the support of the Tea Party/Sarah Palin/talk radio crowd, it will remain the party of angry white people.

Jon

June 23rd, 2010
10:57 am

If the party is color blind, then why does this column exist? It’s the equivalent of “Hey, look! I have a black friend!”

Tyler Durden

June 23rd, 2010
10:58 am

Yes, historically the GOP has featured a platform that seemingly went out its way to alienate minorities at every turn. The fact that non-whites have won a few GOP primaries is surprising, but I might be a little wary of suggesting a sea change just yet. Until a trend develops, these are just anomalies (altho certainly worthy of noting and monitoring on both sides of the aisle for the obvious reasons).

You use an interesting phrase in your post as well: lawsuit adventurism. Hmmmm…. would pursuing a patently pointless and destined-for-failure lawsuit against Federally-approved healthcare reform qualify for this moniker? Cus i seem to remember a lot of Litponites and other fringe elements screaming for Baker to do just that, which would contradict your characterization…

arnold

June 23rd, 2010
11:02 am

You have to live in another universe. The silent majority still rules the Republican Party. You are probably too young to remember Nixon and the rest. I wish it would change. I wish we had political parties that were not only color blind, but actually attempted to govern reasonably. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to give the other party credit for any thing. Therefore, it’s no, no no.

Kyle Wingfield

June 23rd, 2010
11:04 am

Jon: See the first two words of the piece. CW is not always correct, but it does exist.

Tyler: “Sea change” is farther than I would go. But I think it’s significant that this is happening so early in Obama’s presidency. It does suggest the beginning of a real break in the race-party politics link, doesn’t it?

Nice Try

June 23rd, 2010
11:09 am

Sorry, but claiming the end (or the beginning of the end) of Southern bigotry because the (capable) Indian-American Nikki Haley has won her run-off is a bit premature, and fails key “correlation/causality” tests. Do you think she would have done as well if she were the same accomplished, Indian–American she is if she looked like, say, Janet Reno or Ruth Bader Ginsberg? I don’t. I think that is sad, because competence should rule, but alas, it doesn’t. Just look at Sarah “Spill Baby Spill” Palin. Does anyone think she would be as popular or as much of a right-wing standard bearer if, all her history and accomplishments the same, she were dog-butt ugly? Really now… I’m afraid I’m with Jon @10:57 on this one.

hotlanta

June 23rd, 2010
11:13 am

What they do is elect a black person and DEMAND that things be done while the white person they defeated sat in office did nothing and gets a pension. That is just like saying that because Atlanta has a black mayor we are colorblind. When we know in reality it’s the rich white folks with money who are actually running things.

Is anyone noticing the same thing that I am noticing. The Repulicans are NOT working. Yet they accuse the President of not working time and time again. They are busy campaigning for November and 2012. They are busy complaining against the Obama administration and not coming up solutions. Thay haven’t passed a thing. It’s amazing how no one is talking about that.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

June 23rd, 2010
11:13 am

Seemingly the only “race-conscious” ones still standing are the “affirmative action crowd.” With them racism will live forever.

TehranDawg

June 23rd, 2010
11:24 am

“Although Thurbert Baker is a Democrat, he withstood GOP momentum in 2002 and 2006 to remain Georgia’s attorney general in large part because conservative Georgians saw him as tough on crime and reluctant to engage in the kind of lawsuit adventurism that other Democratic AGs across the country have become famous for.”

Like all the republican AGs suing over the healthcare bill, or the AG in VA with the funny name who’s attempting to end discrimination policies against gays at public colleges in the state. I assumed you were more moderate Wingfield. Every time you criticize a democrat, there are facts that back up the same actions taken by republicans.

Ed

June 23rd, 2010
11:25 am

Considering it’s the GOP and NOT the democrats who pushed for the end to slavery, pushed for equal rights, and elevated the highest minorities to non-elected positions withing it’s govt administrations, I find it laughable when ANY democrat says the GOP are racist.
Dems play the game for votes. The GOP simply doesn’t play the game.
Remember, the dem leaders wanted Hillary… NOT Obama.

First Sergeant

June 23rd, 2010
11:25 am

hotlanta

June 23rd, 2010
11:13 am
“Is anyone noticing the same thing that I am noticing. The Repulicans are NOT working”.

Very good point! John McCain even stated earlier this year, “I will not work with this administration for the rest of the year (meaning until the elections of 2010). This guy actually told his supporters that he quit for the year. How pathetic! And guess what? Yelp, he’s now campaigning for reelection! What a sad state of affairs if this guy is reelected! So sad!

JF McNamara

June 23rd, 2010
11:29 am

Times are changing at glacial speed, and hopefully we are heading for a period of restored balance because of it. We’ve got to get away from the extremes of both parties and get to back to the center where the majority of the populace resides. Then maybe we’ll see some negotiation from both parties and some Change, Change I (and the majority of United States Citizens regardless of political gang) can believe in.

JF McNamara

June 23rd, 2010
11:35 am

Hey Ed,

Ever heard of Dixiecrats? I think that’s the key component missing from your argument. There was a shift of Southern Democrats to the Republican party because of segregation. Here is a reference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixiecrat

Peter Haskett

June 23rd, 2010
11:35 am

I agree with you on this, although I would submit that it’s not about race, it’s about education. In my opinion, an educated minority would less inclined to vote for a candidate based on party loyalty.

In 2000, when I lived in Texas, Bush and future AG Alberto Gonzales successfully captured large portions of the Hispanic vote. Enough to win the state, which was not a forgone conclusion for Bush, even though he was governor at the time. I see no reason why Republicans couldn’t repeat that success nationwide.

Additionally, I think US citizens with roots in India, Pakistan, and the Phillipines will make up an ever growing block of voters, and their general political opinions are more in line with Republicans than Democrats. That’s just my opinion, but the SC gov. and Bobby Jindal lend credence to that opinion.

voter

June 23rd, 2010
11:38 am

It’s not that the GOP has disregarded minorities, it’s actually the other way around. But thanks to the information age, all the lies and misconceptions Dems have made all people can now see how the liberal policies have hurt America in every way. As long as there is a Democratic party there will always be cries of racism, it’s the only card they can play, and as long as people believe these lies they’ll play that card.

Whacks Eloquent

June 23rd, 2010
11:41 am

Ed and voter, good points. Unfortunately, American society in general is too naive and takes what politicians say at face value, without investigating their motives. So, someone who is less pandering to minorities out of respect or just indifference may actually get labeled as racist for being fair and logical. Luckily for the GOP, the Dixiecrats are mostly dead now…the hijacking of the GOP may be nearly over. Once the racial sensitivity angle is gone, then the Dems will have to stand on ideas alone, and may be in some trouble.

Last Word

June 23rd, 2010
11:51 am

Reeeally?

Is that why the Evangelical Right were “uneasy” with Nikki Haley’s Sikh background even though she converted to christianity years ago?!!!

The xenophobic rantings from their pulpits rsulted in a group-think that went something like:
“Uh, we don’t trust her, she ain’t Uhmerican. And besides, can she DO that?”

budman

June 23rd, 2010
11:56 am

As Jon stated ” and why do we have this article” the problem is not parties it is the failure of Americans to VOTE. Political parties are the excuse for doing nothing!!! When people start railing on the political atmosphere of America…ask them if they voted…if the didn’t, which is usually the case, ask them why they have an opinion now but could not invest 20-30 minutes of there time to vote. People are very hesitant to admit there failure as a good citizen. Vote, pay your taxes and show up when called for jury duty..its really that easy.

joe

June 23rd, 2010
11:59 am

Welcome aboard, to anyone of any race, creed, color, religion, yada, yada, yada who has conservative principles and family values. I value highly intelligent people from all walks of life who take personal responsibility seriously. As RR once said, government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem. The smaller the better, the more freedom the better.

Whacks Eloquent

June 23rd, 2010
12:02 pm

Not condoning their criticism of her, but concern about her religious upbringing which could affect her moral stances is not the same as the Dixiecrats’ skin-deep discrimination based upon color. The fundies may have been a bit worked up over nothing, IMO. But it is not fair to compare concern about religious backgrounds to unfounded racism. If you had a similar candidate running as a Dem in Catholic rural New England, you’d encounter similar concerns…

Kyle Wingfield

June 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

Last Word: Haley nearly won a majority in the initial round and got 65 percent in the runoff. That’s some kind of anti-Haley “groupthink” going on.

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 23rd, 2010
12:10 pm

Kyle, you forgot J.C. Watts of Ok.

Liberals call these Uncle Tom’s to rationalize their bigoted and racist views.

The spin has spun and it’s finally coming to light for many Africa-Americans that the liberals are the true racist in this county.

Isn’t that right Chris Matthews?

Last Word

June 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

Last Word

June 23rd, 2010
12:19 pm

Whacks Eloquent

June 23rd, 2010
12:19 pm

Oh, and also, having lived in SC for a few years…the area that just picked Tim Scott over Son of Strom – very conservative, very Christian. Majority white (Especially in the GOP primary). But wait, aren’t southern whites all supposed to be Bible and gun-wielding racists? The left loves their stereotypes – what do they do when the stereotypes fail?

Back to Haley – would her background have given me pause? Maybe, but only if she came from a culture that did not respect freedom and individual responsibility. And India is notorious for the caste system, so is it unfounded? Now I take her word on it when she says she converted, but I do understand some level of hesitance. Apparently they still picked her over the competition, though, so props to them!

Pondering

June 23rd, 2010
12:20 pm

If you look at the demographics of who votes for Democrats, over 90% of blacks vote Democrat. Perhaps it’s the blacks that are being racist? Why is that okay? If 90% of whites voted Republican, it would be fair to question if it was a racist thing. Maybe it’s just not okay to suggest or consider whether blacks are biggoted or racist? Just pondering…

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:24 pm

But Kyle, according to Cynthia McKinny Tucker all conservatives are racist plantation owners who belong to the Klan.

I bet Tucker is pulling out her corn rows right now. LOL

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:25 pm

“Yes, historically the GOP has featured a platform that seemingly went out its way to alienate minorities at every turn.”

Explain Negro Reid and Klanner Byrd..

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:26 pm

“If the party is color blind, then why does this column exist?”

To show proof that blacks can be conservative. It also shows proof to left wing retards that conservatives are not in the klan.

Last Word

June 23rd, 2010
12:31 pm

OhtIQod:

My, and isn’t YOUR intelligence showing!

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:32 pm

“They are busy complaining against the Obama administration and not coming up solutions.”

This line proves that democrat voters have low IQ’s. Anyone who has half a brain knows that the GOP has been out of power since 2006. Of course they can’t get anything passed etc because the democrat party is too busy acting like effing retards.

“Thay haven’t passed a thing. It’s amazing how no one is talking about that.”

Again, more evidence of a low IQ.

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

“My, and isn’t YOUR intelligence showing!”

Nice comeback, Kathy Griffin.

Kyle Wingfield

June 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

Last Word: http://www.enr-scvotes.org/SC/16213/29126/en/summary.html

You can’t alienate too many evangelicals and win a GOP primary almost 2-to-1.

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:35 pm

Last Word

Funny you post a CNN opinion column. CNN is about as relevant as Ted Kennedy.

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

From the amazing CNN article:

“CNN surveyed nearly two dozen faith leaders and conservative activists across the state on Monday to see what their communities are saying about Haley’s religion as she stands on the verge of capturing the GOP nomination.”

Wow, so CNN surveyed “nearly” 24 people……. WOW, that is solid non-journalism there.

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:40 pm

Black conservatives who racist left wing retards call Uncle Toms:

Condi Rice

Thomas Sowell

JC Watts

Clarence Thomas

Herman Cain

Larry Elder

Star Parker

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:44 pm

Hey Kyle

Why did you take my “D’s” comment off the blog?

1: Left wingers are always talking about how stupid conservatives are.
2: Why?

Williebkind

June 23rd, 2010
12:46 pm

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:41 pm
You mean she scored that high!

Williebkind

June 23rd, 2010
12:47 pm

It must have been in the journalist classes.

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:47 pm

“You mean she scored that high!”

Affirmative Action yo!

sane jane

June 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm

Yep, nothing says color-blindness like a GOPer calling Nikki Haley (and Obama) a “raghead”!

Very forward looking, very color blind! Not at ALL what we would expect from SC!

Obama has the IQ of dung

June 23rd, 2010
12:53 pm

“Yep, nothing says color-blindness like a GOPer calling Nikki Haley (and Obama) a “raghead”!”

And nothing says colorblindness like a Democrat who hung black people in the 1950’s…Robert Byrd.

Or Harry Reid calling Obama a non-negro speaking negro……

Yep, you left wingers are colorblind alright.

Liberalism is a joke

June 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

What do you call a liberal with a degree in philosophy?

A janitor.

Liberalism is a joke

June 23rd, 2010
1:03 pm

Where do most liberals move after college?

Their parents basement.

Ray Gunnite

June 23rd, 2010
1:04 pm

Now leave the liberals alone. They really need to feel superior since their positions aren’t very logical or defensible. It’s really quite amusing to watch their pitiful little rants about how the Rs are mean old white racists. I think most other (educated) liberals even laugh at that notion.

t

June 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

this is the way i see racial politics to this date, and no i’m not trying to be mean.

Republicans ARE color blind, and favor policies that treat everyone equally regardless of skin color.

Democrats see this and tell minorities that republicans don’t care about them because they are racists and they hate all minorities.

Ya see where trying to be fair to all gets you republicans?

retiredds

June 23rd, 2010
1:06 pm

Nice article, Kyle, but wishful thinking. GA might come around in 50 years.

Bubba

June 23rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Im not racist. i used to have a afro-american freind.

Bubba

June 23rd, 2010
1:07 pm

friend, sorry

No More Progressives!

June 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

Nice Try

June 23rd, 2010
11:09 am
Sorry, but claiming the end (or the beginning of the end) of Southern bigotry………..

So are we to conclude that there is no bigotry/bias/discrimination in the vaunted North, where everything is perfect?

Horse feathers & apple butter.

Who did LBJ turn to for help in getting the Civil Rights bill passed? Republicans, because those world famous, tolerant Democrats of the 60’s wouldn’t agree with LBJ.