Can you win a national election by ignoring, by virtually not speaking to the issues that are important to 13% of the population?
I don’t think so. Yet, one of the most phenomenal polling numbers that very few are talking about – an historical polling number – could be the most telling: President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney among black Americans 94% - 0%!
To my mind, no presidential candidate of a major political party, in the modern era, has polled zero this close to Election Day. Not Barry Goldwater. Not Richard Nixon. Not Ronald Reagan. Not George Wallace!
Going into the Republican Convention the conversation is how Romney will increase his appeal to women (with whom the President holds an 8 point lead over Romney). How he will make inroads into the America’s Hispanic community (which Obama leads 68-23). But virtually no meaningful discussion about how he will make up a NINETY-FOUR PERCENT gap among blacks in the country!
Going into the convention, Republican’s appeal to blacks is projected to be even worse than in 2008, which hardly seems possible. The GOP convention that tagged John McCain and Sarah Palin as their standard bearers, only 36 black delegates were there to voice their support for the Republican platform and candidates. This year, the black delegates will constitute 2% of the delegates to the convention. Meaning that on issues such as housing, poverty, unemployment, health care, economic development, education, access to capital by small business, all issues which impact black Americans disproportionately and in some cases to greater degree to any other demographic in the country, the Republican Party – intentionally has nothing to say. Has the Republican Party given up on reaching black voters? According to one conservative black GOP delegate: “Giving up is not the point,” the former delegate said his friends tell him. “They’ve thrown them overboard; don’t need ‘em, don’t want ‘em.”
So is it simply that black people are blindly in support of a black president, so much so they won’t even consider an alternative?
Let’s be clear: Barack Obama is nearly universally popular as a black president, but his policies are not universally embraced. There are black people have a problem with the President’s lack of a ‘black agenda; there are those who have a problem with his stance on immigration; still there are black people who have a problem with his stance on the war; others have issues with his economic policies. There are those who have problems with his stance on gay marriage. But in terms of support, the number willing to vote for Romney vs. Obama, statistically amounts to ‘0’!
It is one of the reasons why Mitt Romney is likely to lose this election - even if he wins it! And it will, if they don't change, spell the demise of the Republican Party, even as we know it now, if it doesn't change.
Why does it appear that black Americans have totally rejected the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney. I'm going to try and answer this in the next few posts. I think it's interesting, but I also think it's frightening, not only for the Republican Party, but for the state of politics in America.