Anticipating this possibility, pro-GOP groups, including Nadler's Americas PAC, spent $3 million on advertising in minority markets, buying time for 75 different spots on every issue imaginable. The theory was simple: If blacks hear nothing but the Democratic message on the radio stations and other media outlets they pay attention to, they will always vote Democratic. "If they think you are the party of hate crimes, racial profiling, etc., who the hell is going to vote for you?" Nadler asks.
"We thought," he explains, "if you came in with a frontal assault, defending the GOP and attacking the Democratic Party at the same time, you would make progress fairly quickly." Social issues were hit particularly hard. On abortion, the groups ran ads reminding blacks of the racist beliefs of the early promoters of abortion. One ad cited today's disproportionately high abortion rate in the black community and said, "Killing black babies is no way to fight poverty."
But it was gay marriage that had the most resonance. "It really played," Nadler says. Black preachers, desperate to reinvigorate the traditional family, opposed it from their pulpits. "In the churches, there was a backlash against the notion of sexual proclivity being equated with civil rights," says Nadler. In the end, according to some estimates, 60 percent of black voters voted for the state-level referenda banning gay marriage.
For understandable historical reasons, blacks have long kept their social conservatism separate from politics, voting for liberal Democrats. If a significant number of blacks now join their fellow moral traditionalists in Red America in voting for the GOP, they will experience the sort of elite scorn heaped on all other opponents of social liberalism. Blacks will be the new "bigots." Their consolation will be having a seat at the table of the nation's new majority party.