Published on April 24th, 20130
Can the GOP Walk the Walk With Black Voters?
Our guest blogger today is Leah M. Wright-Rigueur, assistant professor of History and African American Studies at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. She is currently finishing a book, The Loneliness of the Black Conservative: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power, which documents Black conservatives’ attempts to work within a Republican Party structure that increasingly invested in its relationship with white voters after World War II.
Last week, Senator Rand Paul visited Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C. Pundits and journalists across the media spectrum lampooned and critiqued Paul’s visit as a silly effort given the history of African Americans and the Republican Party.
Most people assume that the relationship between black voters and the Republican Party is a hostile one. To some extent, that’s correct – black voters haven’t supported the GOP en masse since the 1960 presidential election – and even then, Richard Nixon only received about 30 percent of the black vote. Couple that with outspoken Republican programs and policies that are downright hostile to black issues of concern and you’ve got the makings of a long-standing antagonistic and tense relationship.