Thomas Sowell

If the Republicans think that they are simply "due" to start winning elections, perhaps buoyed by the recent polls showing the public turning against Democrats in general and the Obama administration in particular, then they may neglect to do the things they need to do if they are to turn their hopes into realities.

One of the things that is long overdue is some Republican re-thinking-- or perhaps thinking for the first time-- about the approach that they have been using, with consistently disastrous results, for trying to get the black vote.

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Within living memory, it was considered nothing remarkable when Republicans received 30 or 40 percent of the black vote. Today a Republican presidential candidate is lucky if his share of the black vote is not in single digits.

The black vote was once consistently Republican, from the time of Abraham Lincoln to Herbert Hoover. Even after Franklin D. Roosevelt won over the black vote to the Democrats, it was not considered remarkable when Eisenhower got a higher share of the black vote than any Republican president in recent times has.

It may be years before Republicans can again get a majority of the black vote. But Republicans don't need to get a majority of the black vote. If they get 20 percent of the black vote, the Democrats are in trouble-- and if they get 30 percent, the Democrats have had it in the general election.

In some close Congressional elections, if the Republicans increase their share of the black vote by even modest amounts, that can be the difference between victory and defeat.

There is no point today in Republicans continuing to try to win over the average black voter by acting like imitation Democrats. Those who like what the Democrats are doing are going to vote for real Democrats.

But not all black voters are the same, any more than all white voters are the same. Those black voters that Republicans have any realistic chance of winning over are people who share similar values and concerns.

They want their children to get a decent education, which they are unlikely to get so long as public schools are a monopoly run for the benefit of the teachers' unions, instead of for the education of the children. Democrats are totally in hock to the teachers' unions, which means that Republicans have a golden opportunity to go after the votes of black parents by connecting the dots and exposing one of the key reasons for bad education in inner cities and the bad consequences that follow.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate



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