Several weeks after the presidential election, many Americans are still attempting to assess the political ramifications of the GOP loss to Barack Obama. Aside from the many commentaries that resemble political and cultural obituaries of the Republican or conservative “brand” and its influence, there have been several thought-provoking perspectives on what the GOP needs to do in order to effectively persuade more of the electorate- specifically minorities- into voting for them and the ideas they represent.
I agree with that premise. The GOP needs to adapt, tailor, and clarify their message- a message that stands in distinction to, and not in conflation with, the Democrat message- to a diversified America. I think a carefully clarified and articulated conservative message would hold tremendous cultural and economic benefits to minorities.
Furthermore, Republicans and conservatives need to employ qualified messengers, regardless of their ethnic composition, to deliver this clarified message to the general public, irrespective of demographics. At the same time, the GOP is currently in possession of these qualified messengers- especially ones that represent minority demographics they covet- but oddly, they’re still seen and treated as role players and not central figures in a game that the GOP is currently losing.
With a prudent and eloquent message that details clear social, cultural, and economic value-based positions, I have no doubt that the GOP will be able to attract more single women, Latinos, Asians, young people, gays, union-represented employees, and possibly even some college professors. But one demographic I am certain that the GOP will not persuade anytime soon is blacks; and all attempts to do so after this election may be pointless. Blacks have solidified themselves as the lost demographic.
That blacks would vote for President Obama in 2008 isn’t earth-shaking. America was in the process of electing its first black president. The historicity, importance, and symbolism of that election were things that most blacks wanted to be a part of. This was evidenced by ninety-six percent of blacks casting their votes in Obama’s favor. Though many Americans disagreed with Obama’s stated intention of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” the significance of his election on the psyche of black America couldn’t be minimized or ignored.
That blacks would vote for Obama in such overwhelming numbers four years later considering the poor economic and socially-divisive record- specifically the constant level of high unemployment and its impact on black America- is nothing short of disheartening. The statistical reality of black life under the first black president has been so bad that I was cautiously optimistic that blacks would take the opportunity to reassess their support for Obama and his policies. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I misjudged how central race continues to be within the black mindset.
The unemployment rate of black Americans the month prior to the election was 14.3%, which is almost a full percentage point increase from September’s rate of 13.4%. Worse still, under Obama, the unemployment rate has reached 16.7% twice (March 2010 and August 2011); and during 2011, it averaged almost 16%.
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