Embracing change- blacks run for higher office as Republicans
In a pivotal year for politics, many incumbents are either stepping aside or losing their primary races; this transformation is putting many new faces on the ballot. A surprise component is the large number of black candidates making the leap into the world of political office; however 32 of these candidates are running on the GOP ticket – not the Democratic ticket.
Many realize they have a real battle on their hands, but the election of America’s first black president has prompted other black leaders to run for Congress. Not only that, but many of these political hopefuls are running as Conservatives or tea party believers.
In a New York Times story Allen West who is running for Congress in Florida says, “I ran in 2008 and raised half a million dollars, and the state party didn’t support me and the national party didn’t support me,” he said. “But we came back and we’re running and things are looking great.”
The Republican Party has been without a black GOP member in Congress since 2003 and the GOP is betting on voter anger to put new faces on Capitol Hill.
The surge of tea party rallies has opened the door for many black Americans to find their groove and run for office. Some point to middle America’s willingness to look at core issues and hit the voting booths armed with the information to elect more African-American candidates.
“There is no denying that one of the things that came out of the election of Obama was that you have a lot of African-Americans running in both parties now,” said Vernon Parker, who is running for an open seat in Arizona’s Third District, a New York Times article stated.
However, one hurdle these 32 black Republicans face is the fact President Obama won 95 percent of the black vote in 2008. But looking to the new and improved GOP, party stalwarts voted last year to appoint Republican National Committee leader, Michael Steele an African-American. Some say this move was directly tied to the president and the Republicans who are looking to garner more support from the black community.
“For the past year, the national media has attempted to paint the Tea Party movement and opposition to the Democratic agenda as based in racism, a reaction to the election of the first African-American President in November 2008. … The reality of the opposition makes that very difficult to believe. These African-American GOPers shows that conservatives have no barriers to entry except on policy and philosophy — just like any other political movement,” said Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey.
Jennifer Rubin contends African-Americans are conservative in a Commentary Magazine article. “African Americans, the Times discovers, are attracted to conservative social positions.” She says, “If a batch of these candidates wins … the Congressional Black Caucus will be properly recast as the Liberal Congressional Black Caucus.”
The Washington Post’s Amy Gardner and Krissah Thompson talk to a black Tea Party leader and wrote about the parallels to black tea partiers. “Nigel Coleman, who is black, leads the Danville TEA Party Patriots in southern Virginia. He said the fact that the movement is predominantly white doesn’t mean it is inherently racist. ‘I went to a wine festival yesterday,’ he said. ‘Weren’t too many black people there, either. Nobody called them racists.'”
Meanwhile in the navy-blue state of California, Mason Weaver a black Republican sees things differently. When looking at the country’s first black president he doesn’t see the inspiration.
“I do not think a black conservative republican needs to be inspired by another mans’ achievements. You would have to have a fair amount of self confidence to leave your life as a conservative black person and being politically active requires a great deal of principles,” he explained.
As far as the numerous black candidates stepping forward and running for Congress, Weaver feels the GOP experiment as the moderate party has ended.
“The Republican Party is turning away from its experimentation with ‘moderates’ and is looking for conservative candidates. Most of the conservative party activism in the past 20 years has been Christian and black. We are now in a position to run, as Conservatives not as blacks,” he says.
After months on the campaign trail, Weaver has sharpened his quips and learned how to fight for his beliefs even when opponents make jabs at his conservative platform.
“After 20 years of activism people will not change, thousands of speeches and public statements gives me credibility and speaking for the Tea Party movement has given me my support base,” he said.
“The other candidates including GOP Michael Crimmins who has been removed from the Republican Party Central Committee for unethical and racial actions, as well as defacing my campaign signs prove race descends politics. My other opponent moderate Matt Friedman, supports same sex marriage something the liberal California voters sent packing the last election. I am the only candidate who can excite our base and go after prominent Democrat incumbent Susan Davis.”
Many of these Conservative Republican candidates are finding a sea of optimism and are bracing for a “Newt Revolution” of the African-American kind.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner