In the southern US state of Mississippi nearly 40 per cent of the population is black. But during the state’s March 13 Republican primary, only two per cent of the voters were African Americans – and it was a similar picture throughout other Republican contests.
For years Republican leaders have said they would work hard to increase African American support for their party, but so far, those efforts appear to be a failure.
“I don’t think it’s accurate or fair to say the the Republican party is a party of racists.”
Ana Navarro, a Republican stategist
When asked during an interview why the Republican party is poison for so many African Americans the only black candidate to run for the 2012 Republican ticket, Herman Cain, said it was because “…they have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view.”
A documentary titled Fear of A Black Republican was just released here in Washington DC and it posed a similar question: Does the Republican party really want more black people?
So why has the Republican party not been successful in reaching out to black voters? And why are they also losing the hispanic voters?
To discuss these issues, we are joined by James Braxton Peterson, the director of Africana studies at Lehigh University; Ana Navarro, the National Hispanic co-chair for both John McCain and John Huntsman; and Kevin Williams, the director of the film, Fear of a Black Republican.
“I think there is a core cultural competency challenge here that the Republican party… has lost it’s sense and its ability to connect with communities of colour. You’ve got to be competent about the cultural issues that are important to these communities and then we can talk about the different strategies for trying to secure their votes.”
James Braxton Peterson, analyst on black politics
LOSING THE BLACK VOTE:
- The Republican party has currently little support among black voters
- Since the early 1960’s black voters have overwhelmingly voted the Democratic party
- Richard Nixon was the last Republican candidate to get significant black support
- Nixon got 32 per cent of black vote in his loss to John F Kennedy in 1960
- President Lyndon Johnson got 94 per cent support from black voters after he signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964
- Republicans promoted the abolition of slavery, gaining black votes
- President Dwight Eisenhower got 39 per cent of black vote in 1956
- In the 2008 election John McCain received just 4 per cent of black votes
- In the 2008 US presidential election 95 per cent of African Americans voted for Obama