The Republican National Committee’s endorsement of a report from a study group that calls for a concerted effort to win over African Americans and other “minorities,” backed by a $12 million budget, is welcome but there is little indication that the motivation is doing the right thing.
Rather, the goal is to make inroads into the overwhelming support the Democratic Party enjoys among those groups.
In other words, it is all about winning elections.
A precious few sane leaders in the party, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, are trying to jolt the GOP into a reality check over the changing American demographics and the inevitability of the current white “majority” becoming a “minority” in a few decades. The rabidly pro-white elements in the party cannot stop that inevitability from happening.
That does not mean pandering. Rather, it means finally embracing all segments of American society and treating them as equals by identifying with their causes, hopes, dreams and heartaches. It means shifting from the current love affair with all things wealthy and forming a genuine partnership with struggling Americans.
Immigration is being catapulted to the top of those concerns and even there the impetus is merely to wrest the Latino vote from the Democrats, rather than promoting reform because it is the right thing to do. But immigration is only one issue. When the nation finally resolves – if that is even possible – the question of undocumented immigrants, the fundamental issues facing people of color will remain.
The GOP report speaks of promoting “tolerance and respect” on immigration. That should be extended to all other issues. If the party believes it can win at the polls simply by rebranding itself, that is a mistake. The challenge is to convince voters that the GOP will not exclude the “47 percent” that presidential candidate Mitt Romney so famously insulted. It is not only that voters must be wooed into accepting the GOP but that its policies must be attractive enough to entice voters to its ranks.
A GOP that has the interests of all Americans at heart will be a welcome addition to national politics, especially for African Americans, who have been giving almost all their votes to the Democratic Party.
An acceptable alternative will make for more competition but that will not come just by arguing that more blacks must become Republicans in order to “change” the party from the inside.
It is the GOP that has to demonstrate that it merits black support because its policy proposals have become indistinguishable from those of African Americans.
That, in the final analysis, is what politics is all about.