Watching the third debate between the Democratic candidates for president on PBS at Howard University, I was struck by the juxtaposition of mostly white men and women discussing issues primarily related to people of color. It struck me vividly that if the GOP is ever to regain its lost ground with African-American voters, a good place to start would be to commit itself to debating the very same issues before a largely black audience at any one of our great Historically Black Colleges and Universities with Tavis Smiley as the interlocutor.
Now the party of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass - and at one time the party of Daddy King and Jackie Robinson - will have an opportunity to do just that at Morgan State University on Sept. 27. This event should be a showcase of progressive Republican ideas that will appeal to people of color as well as to all Americans who care about a just and fair society.
It isn't good for our nation that one party (the Democrats) all too often take the black vote for granted and the GOP has been afraid to even compete. This debate at Morgan State is a tremendous opportunity for GOP candidates to present a positive platform of strong economic growth, full employment for all, educational excellence, social and civil justice and with access to capital for those who all too often have been denied the benefits of our democratic capitalistic system - a real ownership and stakeholder society where all who want to work hard can get a college education, own their homes, own their own jobs and look forward someday to owning their own businesses.
If the Republican Party is really to get into this political battle for every vote, its candidates need to commit themselves to making America truly a land of equal opportunity, a nation of racial and ethnic reconciliation with everyone having access to upward mobility and wealth creation for themselves and their families.
This would shake our body politic to its very core. Just think of a Republican Party standing tall and proud before people of color to pledge an agenda of turbo-charged enterprise zones (aka empowerment zones), educational choice, a fair and flat tax code with payroll taxes totally deductible, access to capital and ownership opportunities for low-income families while pledging to make sure everyone has the right to vote and assuring that every vote will count. This type of pledge can make the Republican Party competitive with the socialistic ideas and paternalistic policies of the leading Democratic candidates.