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America's Debate > Archive > Election Forum Archive > [A] Election 2006
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nighttimer
You might want to read this first before responding to the poll.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman apologized to one of the nation's largest black civil rights groups Thursday, saying Republicans had not done enough to court blacks in the past and had exploited racial strife to court white voters, particularly in the South.

"It's not healthy for the country for our political parties to be so racially polarized," said Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization," Mehlman said at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."

Mehlman's apology to the NAACP at the group's convention in Milwaukee marked the first time a top Republican Party leader has denounced the so-called Southern Strategy employed by Richard Nixon and other Republicans to peel away white voters in what was then the heavily Democratic South. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Republicans encouraged disaffected Southern white voters to vote Republican by blaming pro-civil rights Democrats for racial unrest and other racial problems.

More recently, however, Republicans have been working aggressively to build the party's support among African-Americans, who have long voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. In 2000, President Bush got just 9% of the black vote. He improved slightly to 11% in 2004


http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/20...cs_x.htm?csp=34

Democratic National Committee head Howard Dean also spoke to the NAACP and made his case that blacks will find themselves not taken for granted by the out-of-power party.

Dean, who shook up his party with a failed bid for the presidential nomination last year, said, "We have a Democratic Party that is going to go back to what it used to be by standing up for right and not being afraid and never deserting the people who brought us to the dance."

"Never again will we take another African-American vote for granted," he said.

He warned that the one-time Republican "Southern strategy" -- using racial issues to appeal to white voters in the once solidly Democratic South -- lives today, but in different forms that plays on issues ranging from gay rights to anti-immigrant sentiment.

"The one thing we will never do is divide Americans to win elections," the former Vermont governor said. If the Democratic Party is ever to be whole again, he said, it needs to use the model of the NAACP to become the conscience of the nation.


http://www.rednova.com/news/display/?id=17...ource=r_general

Well, hooray. The donkey and the elephant both agree they aren't going to play the game of racially polarizing politics. But are they just cleaning up their act for 2006 by pandering instead of polarizing.

Skeptics might say so. Bruce Reed of SLATE is very skeptical.

From 1880 to 1948, when Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond invented the Southern strategy he would take with him to the GOP, Democrats won every Southern electoral vote in every presidential election except 1928, when they nominated Al Smith, a Catholic. In 2000 and 2004, Al Gore and John Kerry didn't win a single electoral vote in the South.

In 1964, when LBJ courageously signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress because of the solid South. Today, Republicans control both houses of Congress and all three branches of government because the South is in their column.

Racial polarization is no longer the reason Republicans win in the South. But for two decades, the race card was the GOP's loss leader. If not for his father's divisive 1988 campaign and Willie Horton ad, we would never have heard of George W. Bush.

The reason Republicans are abandoning the race card isn't that they've changed their mind on civil rights or affirmative action. Mehlman and Rove have just made a business decision that in an increasingly diverse nation, they can no longer build a majority on racial wedge issues. In his speech, Mehlman comes right out and says as much: "If my party benefited from racial polarization in the past, it is the Democratic Party that benefits from it today."


http://slate.msn.com/id/2121923/#Love%20Means

I think Reed is right. The Republicans have a lock on the South and now they can afford to soften their rhetoric in order to become more enticing to blacks, Latinos and other racial groups. Democrats like John Kerry expended so much energy on
trying to woo white middle class voters there was very little effort spent on generating any excitement among African-American and Latino voters. This did not cost Kerry the election but in a razor-thin election getting out the base can make all the difference.


The Questions for Debate are:

1. Are Chairman Mehlman and Chairman Dean sincere in their promises to no longer play "racially polarizing politics" or are they just pandering?

2. Does the Republican Party need to pay more attention to the issues of Blacks and Latinos and other racial groups OR do these racial groups need to become better informed as to how the policies of the Republican Party can benefit them.

3. Can the Democrats regain political prominence without maintaining the majority of its support among Blacks and Latinos or can they broaden their appeal among the White middle and working class without losing the support of racial minority groups?


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Hugo
I would like to first allow one of the authors of Nixon's Southern Strategy to defend himself against the accusations that the Southern Strategy was a racist one.

From Pat Buchanan's article The Neocons & Nixon's Southern Strategy:

QUOTE
Now, as a co-architect of the Nixon strategy that gave the GOP a lock on the White House for a quarter century, let me say that Kristol's opportunism is matched only by his ignorance. Richard Nixon kicked off his historic comeback in 1966 with a column on the South (by this writer) that declared we would build our Republican Party on a foundation of states rights, human rights, small government and a strong national defense, and leave it to the "party of Maddox, Mahoney and Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice."


Later, same article:

QUOTE
When the '68 campaign began, Nixon was at 42 percent, Humphrey at 29 percent, Wallace at 22 percent. When it ended, Nixon and Humphrey were tied at 43 percent, with Wallace at 13 percent. The 9 percent of the national vote that had been peeled off from Wallace had gone to Humphrey.

Between 1969 and 1974, Nixon, who believed that blacks had gotten a raw deal in America and wanted to extend a helping hand:

-- raised the civil rights enforcement budget 800 percent;

-- doubled the budget for black colleges;

-- appointed more blacks to federal posts and high positions than any president, including LBJ;

-- adopted the Philadelphia Plan mandating quotas for blacks in unions, and for black scholars in colleges and universities;

-- invented "Black Capitalism" (the Office of Minority Business Enterprise), raised U.S. purchases from black businesses from $9 million to $153 million, increased small business loans to minorities 1,000 percent, increased U.S. deposits in minority-owned banks 4000 percent;

-- raised the share of Southern schools that were desegregated from 10 percent to 70 percent. Wrote the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1975, "It has only been since 1968 that substantial reduction of racial segregation has taken place in the South."


I believe the Democrats have successfully convinced blacks that certain terms are code words for racist policies. That when states rights, as an example, is mentioned it automatically implies racism. Considering racists, such as Thurmond and Wallace, ran on the states rights issue I understand it was a pretty easy sell. Certainly, given the history of many state's misuse of their powers ti infringe on the liberties of their African-American citizens I understand why African-Americans would take a second look at anyone defending state's rights, that does not make proponents of state's rights racist.

I think what people ignore is LBJ's administration was also the administration that initiated the War on Poverty which went against the principles of many Southern voters. (sorry, will be back shortly to answer the questions)

Aquilla
1. Are Chairman Mehlman and Chairman Dean sincere in their promises to no longer play "racially polarizing politics" or are they just pandering?

Goodness only knows about Dean, he's wacky. Although he did make the 'White Christian" comment. Mehlman though I believe is sincere. His statement was a pretty strong indictment of the "Southern Strategy", and I think his apology was heartfelt.



2. Does the Republican Party need to pay more attention to the issues of Blacks and Latinos and other racial groups OR do these racial groups need to become better informed as to how the policies of the Republican Party can benefit them.

This question bothers me. Maybe it's just my circle of friends and acquaintences, but it seems to me that Blacks and Latinos share the same concerns as do Whites, American Indians, Asians and every other ethnic group. When you start targeting specific ethnic groups with what you think they want to hear, that becomes pandering. I do think the Republican Party does need to extend their message to these ethnic groups by spending more money and time campaigning and informing people. I think the party's message is a good one for all. We just need to get it out there. The dumbest thing in the world would be to have a "Black speech" and a 'Latino speech" and a "White speech". We need to have an "American speech".


3. Can the Democrats regain political prominence without maintaining the majority of its support among Blacks and Latinos or can they broaden their appeal among the White middle and working class without losing the support of racial minority groups?

Another disturbing question. Once again, what's the difference between a "White middle and working class" and a "Black middle and working class"? It seems to me that we all share the same concerns and want the same things. We're all pursuing our own version of the American Dream. Are the two versions really that different?

Anyway, I really don't know at this point what the Democrats can do and if I did I wouldn't share it. tongue.gif But, I do know the Republicans are going to be pretty aggressive about extending our message to all of the American people regardless of their race. We believe in it and we think others will too.
CruisingRam
1. Are Chairman Mehlman and Chairman Dean sincere in their promises to no longer play "racially polarizing politics" or are they just pandering?

They are both pandering- the difference is, the dems actually pay some lip service to issues that are important to minorities- while the repubs pay attention to issues that are important to Ken Lay and Haliburton

2. Does the Republican Party need to pay more attention to the issues of Blacks and Latinos and other racial groups OR do these racial groups need to become better informed as to how the policies of the Republican Party can benefit them.

Eventually- but are blacks and minorities going to forget that Karl Rove and his protoge mehlman were the ones behind the smear campaign in 2000 against McCain over the "brown baby"- I mean, how sincere are they LOL hmmm.gif - some blindness to the RECENT actions of the republican party even against thier own members are we Aquilla? thumbsup.gif

3. Can the Democrats regain political prominence without maintaining the majority of its support among Blacks and Latinos or can they broaden their appeal among the White middle and working class without losing the support of racial minority groups?

I think that is thier toughest question honestly NT- Kerry's pandering to the conservatives didn't help him generate much excitement as you pointed out-

It will take another charismatic like Clinton I think to pull it off- or a Barak Obama, but he is too new to the game.
nighttimer
QUOTE(nighttimer @ Jul 18 2005, 08:26 PM)
1.  Are Chairman Mehlman and Chairman Dean sincere in their promises to no longer play "racially polarizing politics" or are they just pandering?

2.  Does the Republican Party need to pay more attention to the issues of Blacks and Latinos and other racial groups OR do these racial groups need to become better informed as to how the policies of the Republican Party can benefit them.

3.  Can the Democrats regain political prominence without maintaining the majority of its support among Blacks and Latinos or can they broaden their appeal among the White middle and working class without losing the support of racial minority groups?




1. Duh. Meet the "panda" bears. The Southern Strategy has served the GOP well and there's no reason to think that Republcan candidates will abandon it now. Give Dean and Mehlman credit for knowing what the NAACP is going to want to hear, but beware politicians bearing promises that they have seen the light and will mend the error of their ways. They may be sincere, but I'd like to keep a copy of their remarks and see if the deeds indeed match the words.

2. A bit of both. Bush has made inroads in developing programs that benefit African-Americans, Latinos and Hispanics and it's reflected in the slow, but undeniable growth of voters of color choosing Republicans over Democrats. The unprecedented move of replacing the first Black man to be Secretary of State with the first Black woman to be Secretary of State did not go unnoticed even if some Black leaders aren't wowed with Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice. I'm still willing to bet that when William Rehnquist steps down or dies that Bush will tab his good buddy Alberto Gonzales as the first Hispanic Chief Justice of the United States.

And that move could deliver the vote of Hispanics and Latinos to the GOP for decades to come and ensure their status as the nation's majority party much as the New Deal by FDR delivered Blacks to the Democrats.

3. Well, everyone likes attention and Black voters are no different. At some point if the Democrats keep losing national elections in such spectacular fashion, the only logical move politically for Black Americans to see their interests protected and their issues addressed will be to become major players in the GOP. I don't know how the Democrats can top that if they keep throwing up Northern liberals who feel as comfortable around Black people as a cat at a dog show.

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Borgen
Just three words...

President Condoleeza Rice.
Amlord
Borgen, since you are new to America's Debate I'd recommend you review the Rules. Posting one-liners is not constructive and does not do much to advance the debate or give other members any insight into your views.

This topic is old and will now be closed. If anyone would like to open a similar topic, feel free to do so.
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