News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Romney volunteers canvassing door to door in a Virginia neighborhood in October 2012 walked right past a black resident who had stopped raking leaves in his yard thinking the group would want to chat with him or give him Romney leaflets-National Review, Theodore Johnson, 11/2/2015

T.R. Johnson
10/28/2015, "Yes, Republicans Can Win Black Voters," National Review, Theodore R. Johnson (11/2/15 issue)
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"In October 2012, just as presidential campaigning had reached fever pitch
[and early voting had been underway since September in some states], I was raking leaves in the front yard of my northern-Virginia home when I noticed a pack of volunteers clad in “Romney 2012” T-shirts canvassing the neighborhood door to door, engaging residents and drumming up support for their candidate.

When my house was next in line, I set aside the rake and started down the driveway toward the group. They walked right past me without so much as a friendly smile or neighborly “Hello.” How curious. Returning to my yardwork, I watched as they dutifully stopped at my neighbor’s house and deposited campaign materials at the front door. And then the band made its merry way down the road.

As a black guy, I couldn’t really fault the group’s practical decision. After all, why spend time and campaign resources on me when nine in ten blacks routinely vote for the Democratic presidential nominee and when the nation’s first black president was seeking reelection? 

But as an American, I was furious. The message this group conveyed was that my vote — the right to cast it was one of many rights of citizenship I spent a career in the military protecting — was not worth pursuing. The snub meant they were unable or unwilling to make a case for their candidate because I had a different appearance. So much for party outreach. Perhaps I’m being too sensitive about this. To see bigotry in a run-of-the-mill slight is to buy into the prevalent but lazy narrative that the Republican party is racially intolerant — a parlor game of zero interest to me. There is no disputing, however, that the GOP has a problem connecting with black voters. 

So this episode is symptomatic of the larger, enduring issue. It’s not that the party has tried and failed to attract black voters; it’s that it has largely disregarded them. The effect is the Republican cession of the black vote to the Democratic party.
GOP attempts at black outreach are inconsistent and repeatedly undone by inadvisable strategic communication choices and a basic callousness about the black experience in America. Jeb Bush’s recent comment that he would give African Americans “hope and aspiration” instead of bribing them with “free stuff” is a prime example. This sentiment — one that casts the black electorate as a soulless and indolent bloc up for sale to the highest bidder — is as pervasive among some Republicans as it is spurious....
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But here’s the good news: We’re approaching the dawn of a new, post-Obama era, when blacks vote at higher rates than whites do and are frustrated that neither party has paid adequate attention to their concerns. The votes of citizens dissatisfied with both parties are up for grabs. Without the first black president in the equation, an engaged black voting bloc is primed for a pitch from new faces in both parties....


Blacks over the age of 25 are the driving force. They are the only demographic that has grown in each presidential election in the past 20 years. Further, more than half of blacks over 25 have some level of college education, and almost a third are in managerial or professional jobs. 
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African Americans’ buying power, a measure of disposable net income, is $1.1 trillion, and black-household income is growing fast. Nearly one in five black households earn $75,000 or more. And Nielsen reports that between 2000 and 2013, the aggregate income of all African-American households has increased by 45 percent.
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This incredible success has been accompanied by the declining state of the black underclass. The black poverty rate is more than twice that of whites, and almost four in ten black children are growing up in poverty. Poor black families live in segregated neighborhoods, and their children attend de facto segregated schools, concentrating poverty and despair. Black unemployment still exists at a recession-level 10 percent, despite national unemployment rates of roughly 5 percent, meaning that blacks are unemployed at twice the rate of whites, as was the case when the March on Washington took place in 1963. Only 38 percent of black households consist of two-parent families. The median black household has only 6 percent of the wealth of the median white household. 
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Because poverty and criminality dominate the narrative about the African-American experience, misperceptions persist. African Americans have been typecast as preferring a large government role in addressing their concerns. Through that lens, it appears that the Republican principles of hard work, individualism, personal responsibility, and self-determination would be unappealing to the typical black voter. But the truth is that, more than any other race or ethnicity, African Americans believe that the American dream is attainable with hard work, according to a poll released in July by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. Any hope that the GOP has of attracting black voters hinges on its ability to substitute that truth for the stereotype that blacks prefer to be dependent on government.
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That there is growing socioeconomic inequality within black communities is confirmed by an ongoing research project conducted by Harvard government professor Jennifer Hochschild and Yale political-science professor Vesla Weaver. Investigating the significance of race and class in politics, they have found that racial segregation has decreased in metropolitan areas but that class segregation has increased. Middle-class and affluent blacks have moved away from blacks living in poverty. With respect to social status — wages, work, housing, and schools — the black experience in America is more heterogeneous than it was several decades ago.
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In short, there are now two versions of black America — the haves and the have-nots. Hochschild and Weaver’s research shows that, in 2013, black intra-group inequality was the highest in the nation. That has given rise to demonstrable policy splits among blacks. College-educated blacks show less support for government services, crime control, and spending on poverty programs and are more likely to believe that their voices are heard and heeded by government officials. While most blacks agree on policy priorities, their differing experiences have created a divide on the best method to address them. This is the age-old tension between conservatives and liberals....
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Even affluent blacks, however, are aware that their socioeconomic position is tenuous....Blacks, even the well educated, have disproportionately borne the brunt of the economic slowdowns. When the bottom fell out of the housing market, blacks were harmed most, as they watched a generation of wealth wash away along with respectable credit scores. This influenced their ability to refinance their homes, start small businesses, and even obtain PLUS Loans for their children’s college tuition."...

"Theodore Johnson is a doctoral candidate in public policy at Northeastern University and a former White House Fellow. This article originally appeared in the November 2, 2015, issue of National Review"

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Image above, Theodore R. Johnson, from TheodoreRJohnson.com

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Early voting data from EarlyVoting.net

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Added: Romney couldn't connect with many white Americans either. Romney "embodies the deepest problems in the Republican Party....Republicans "need to become a party of the people. Romney may be the worst possible man to take the GOP in that direction....The real problem is that the GOP is too elite, and it needs to be more populist." 

10/1/2014, "Romney can't lead a more populist GOP," Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner

"Mitt Romney is a great person and a decent politician, but he also embodies the deepest problems in the Republican Party. He shouldn't run for president.

Republicans, if they want to control Congress or win the White House, need to become a party of the people. Romney may be the worst possible man to take the GOP in that direction.

Romney’s most telling moment in 2012 was when he told a crowd of rich donors that the 47 percent of the country that “pay no income tax” are unwinnable for Republicans, because they “are dependent upon government,” and “I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Romney has downplayed the comment as some sort of clumsy way of handling a rambling question. But he campaigned like he believed it. Romney focused on the upper-middle-class white suburbs that Bush had generally won and McCain had generally lost. The fruit of this effort: he improved about 1 percentage point on McCain’s performance in key Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania suburbs, while losing out on much of the blue-collar vote.

"The Missing White Voter" was how political analyst Sean Trende described it. Many blue-collar voters who used to be Democrats have since been turned off the party’s radical tack left on social issues, embrace of Hollywood elites, and evident disdain towards middle America (recall Obama’s candid remarks about folks bitterly clinging to guns and religion).

These voters, in lower-income suburbs, in exurbs, and in rural counties, aren’t ideologically committed to the GOP. They don’t care about capital gains tax cuts, and most aren’t avid pro-lifers.

These blue-collar voters driven away from the Democrats are loosely attached to the GOP.

Romney, a millionaire who looks like one, was never the guy to win them over. That he blasted many of them as freeloaders for the crime of paying only payroll taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, state income taxes, and sales taxes — but not federal income taxes — didn’t help.

The mainstream media often argues that the GOP is too ideologically extreme to win broadly, and that it needs to become more moderate. This analysis looks along the wrong axis. The real problem is that the GOP is too elite, and it needs to be more populist.


A more moderate GOP would forget about cutting taxes. A more populist GOP, on the other hand, would change its priorities on which taxes to cut. Instead of fighting for lower top rates and lower capital gains rates, a populist GOP would cut the payroll tax-- maybe creating a personal exemption, so that a worker isn’t paying taxes on his first dollar....

Romney’s campaign was also weakened by his inability to attack Obama’s corporatism. Obama’s least popular position was probably his crucial support for the Wall Street bailout. Romney backed it, too....

Romney also couldn't attack Obama's individual insurance mandate or the special deals Obama cut with drugmakers to pass Obamacare, because Obamacare was largely modeled on Romneycare.


The 2016 GOP nominee can't be a bailout-backer deployed from Wall Street and surrounded by K Street

He or she will need to be the scourge of special interests who can present free enterprise as the great leveler and show that government intervention tilts the playing field toward the big guys."...



 


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