June 30, 2005


G.O.P. Backs Blacks to Run to Lure Votes (JAMES DAO, 7/01/05, NY Times)

Lynn Swann, the Hall of Fame former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, stood before a nearly all-white Republican crowd at the Holiday Inn here recently and denounced Pennsylvania's Democratic governor, Edward G. Rendell, for failing to reduce property taxes. Then, without prompting, Mr. Swann suddenly turned the subject to race - his own.

"I'm not here to be the poster child for the Republican Party, to say they're being inclusive by running an African-American," said Mr. Swann, 54. "That's not why I'm here. I'm here to win."

Still, to many prominent Republicans, Mr. Swann, a commentator for ABC Sports, is much more than a potentially strong contender for governor in 2006. He is, they hope, part of a new crop of prominent black candidates who could help the Republicans crack, if not break, Democratic domination among black voters in several important states.

In Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, black Republicans - all of whom have been groomed by the national party - are expected to run for governor or the United States Senate next year. Several other up-and-coming black Republicans are expected to run for lower statewide offices in Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Vermont in 2006. [...]

"This is a very challenging moment for the Democrats," said Donna Brazile, chairwoman of the party's Voting Rights Institute and one of the Democrats' leading strategists on black voters. "For the first time in my history, they are in my community. And that's not a pleasant feeling." [...]

[M]s. Brazile also said several black Republicans could be formidable opponents because they could appeal not only to some black voters, but also to the party's conservative white base.

In Michigan, for example, Keith A. Butler, a former member of the Detroit City Council who is running for the United States Senate, is the founder of a 21,000-member church and is supported by many social conservatives. He also has the endorsement of the Republican attorney general, Mike Cox. Similarly, the Ohio secretary of state, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is running for governor, is the most conservative candidate in the Republican field and has the backing of many of the state's most influential Christian conservatives.

"All of a sudden," Mr. Blackwell said in an interview, "you have folks who can move the Republican Party into being competitive in a community that has been a cornerstone of the Democratic house."

It's pretty rudimentary electoral politics that blacks will be better served if their votes are in play.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 30, 2005 11:38 PM

Lynn Swann was a beautiful athlete - graceful and formidable. He was my hero when I was an aspiring wide receiver in grade school (and I was the best in my school). That he should reappear in my life is so wonderful. If he performs in politics anything like he performed on the field, he will inspire.

One thing said by Ms. Brazile is very revealing: that black Republicans "could be" formidable opponents because they could appeal not only to some black voters, but might also appeal to the party's conservative white base....

I find it remarkable that it (somehow) does not occur to Democrats (because they think all Republicans are racist, when quite the opposite is the case) that white Republicans are deleriously happy to vote for a Black candidate who shares their values. Plus, there are a series of marvelous bonuses involved: you get someone you can count on to promote your pinciples, AND he's Black! so it infuriates patronizing Liberal racists, AND it's such a refreshing change to hear a black man saying it like it is -- instead of having to listen to more of the same old threadbare tires howling down that same old forlorn highway to Nowhere -- the Jesses, the Sharptons, the Kweisis and Baraks, the Farrakans, the Rangels and Eleanor Holmes "1040" Nortons, ad nauseam. The Dems are getting DA FEAR. Here in Seattle, they are going to be diving off their condos, lining up at the Prozac dispensary on November 3, 2006. Everyone will call in sick and the bongs will melt. Since September 11, my favorite day to go to the Natural Foods Co-op near my house is the day after Election Day. OJ always talks about a 60-40 nation, but I HAVE A DREAM, DONNA BRAZILE! (and it's 70-30 toots).

Posted by: Heysoose at July 1, 2005 12:13 AM

Vermont? Will that be like when Ron Sims ran against "Sierra Slade" Gorton in 1994 in the Upper Left Washington (a state that would be almost as white except we have the tribes and the Asian immigrant software engineers) and got trounced?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 1, 2005 12:51 AM

So many Blacks are trapped in a 'cycle of dependency.' In many ways, they are the only voting bloc that resembles Continental Europeans in that they are afraid to be responsible for their own actions. An ever-increasing percentage of that community is finding that the same means of advancement in the US that worked for other easily identifiable immigrants work for them too.

Also, in some parts of the country, immigrant Black populations are significant political players and they are far more likely to vote GOP.

Posted by: bart at July 1, 2005 6:35 AM

I love the Times headline, "G.O.P. Backs Blacks to Run to Lure Votes". Why, those no-good so and sos, they're trying to lure voters. We would never stoop to such a thing.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 1, 2005 8:16 AM

Heysoose: The Dems don't have any black politicians who appeal to their own white base, so how could they comprehend that the Republicans could?

Posted by: b at July 1, 2005 11:18 AM

Republicans have to stoop to "luring" votes. Democrats have them as a matter of droit senior.

Posted by: Luciferous at July 1, 2005 12:17 PM