This morning Politico.con ran a story highlighting a problem that many of us suspect will keep getting worse before it can hope to get better: There aren’t any minorities running as Republicans in ’08.
Just a few years after the Republican Party launched a highly publicized diversity effort, the GOP is heading into the 2008 election without a single minority candidate with a plausible chance of winning a campaign for the House, the Senate or governor.
At a time when Democrats are poised to knock down a historic racial barrier with their presidential nominee, the GOP is fielding only a handful of minority candidates for Congress or statehouses — none of whom seem to have a prayer of victory. [Link]
Ouch. Amit Singh isn’t going to like hearing that he “doesn’t have a prayer,” but in my personal opinion (which I believe to be objective in this case) his resume is pretty thin for a candidate vying for a seat that the Democrats have held since 1991. The problem is that Republicans don’t attempt to recruit minorities in any visible way. In fact, when you can hold up Rush Limbaugh as an example of a Republican who sings the praises of a minority Republican as President (he’s a huge Jindal fan), you know you are in trouble.
Jack Kemp, the former Republican congressman and vice presidential nominee, says the culprit is clear: a “pitiful” recruitment effort by his party. “I don’t see much of an outreach,” he said. “I don’t see much of a reason to run.”
p>A former black GOP candidate who declined to be identified by name offered a slightly more charitable explanation. He said the party is so broke and distracted that wooing strong minority candidates is a luxury it simply cannot afford right now. [Link]
And then there are the “defections.” Ashwin Madia, who is running in Minnesota, used to be a Republican in college, but now has a real good shot at being elected to Congress as a Democrat. Another problem is that among Asian American minorities, the majority of Republican inroads are among the first generation immigrant population. Vietnamese Americans for example, usually vote Republican in high percentages because of post-Vietnam War politics. It is doubtful that this trend will hold with their children. Limited exit polling data has shown that young South Asians overwhelmingly vote Democrat, and thus will be more likely to run as a Democrat if they enter politics. No doubt that eight years of Bush probably has something to do with the recruitment efforts in ’08 as well. Arnold and Newt may be right. Before the Republicans can recruit minorities they may need to change their brand.