Hey fam,

For the month of May, I’m a guest on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC (call in!). Today (at 10:30am ET) we’re talking about the record-breaking number (32) of black people running for congress as Republicans.

Rich Benjamin at Alternet probably has the most comprehensive coverage of the group.’

These six viable black candidates include David Castillo (WA-3), Bill Hardiman (MI-3), Lou Huddleston (NC-8), Les Phillip (AL-5), Alan West (FL-22) and McGlowan.

Of the GOP’s top six black prospects, five are military veterans; five are self-described conservative Christians; four have advanced degrees; and one is a light-skinned Caribbean immigrant, a la Colin Powell.

Only one of the 32 black candidates is receiving active financial and political support from the national party: Allen West, who faces stiff opposition from well-funded Democratic incumbent Ron Klein. (That contested Florida congressional district swoops up from Broward to the northern tip of Palm Beach County, comprising the epicenter of the heated 2000 presidential recount.) West is the only black candidate in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program, an “elite” group of the party’s top-priority candidates. The “merit-based” program provides funds and strategic political support to Republicans challenging Democratic incumbents or running for open seats. Young Guns must meet fundraising, volunteer-recruitment, Internet outreach and other campaign benchmarks to earn their status.

Princella Smith, who wasn’t one of the most viable but certainly received lots of press, was smashed 73-27 in Arkansas this week.

Jill and I have actually had a number of discussions about the very phenomenon of Black Republicans. See her last piece for her no-holds-barred opinion, but the gist of it is that a) these people are generally opportunists and b) the press gives them much more attention than their numbers deserve.

I’m not quite as harsh on these folks as Jill but agree with the general direction of her thoughts. 1994 and 2000 saw 24 black people seeking office as Republicans. Michael Steele was supposed to usher in a new era (yet he keeps getting shouted down, often for good reason), and this year in particular is one for loud-uninformed people to take to the mic and the ballot in order the claim political legitimacy.

The extra layer this year is that you’ve got a prominent strain of ignorance and racism running through with the Tea Party, and as CPL has covered, relative silence from Black folk in the GOP.

What do you think though?

Related Posts with Thumbnails