Black people truly seem invisible to the Republican Party. In fact, sometimes we’re on the verge of being non-existent to the GOP.
After the shellacking the GOP got in 2012, I thought my party had learned a painful lesson—that myopically focusing on the white vote wasn’t the path to the White House. I was wrong.
Watching the kick-off of the 2016 convention in Cleveland was like déjà vu all over again. The majority of the speakers were old white men and the crowd packing the convention center was overwhelmingly white. Of the 2,472 delegates, only 18 are black.
In an appearance on MSNBC, which was broadcasting from Cleveland, Representative Steve King suggested that the reason the convention was packed with so many white people was because they contributed more to America.
“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
That was King in response to Esquire magazine writer Charles Pierce who observed that 2016 may be “the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.”
Pierce added, that the convention hall was packed full of angry white people. Instead of responding thoughtfully to Pierce’s observations, King doubled-down on the GOP white card, defending the party’s lack of inclusion.
His comments are offensive on are so many levels. Mainly the fact that without slaves, who were forcibly brought to America and sold as property, white men like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and many others couldn’t have built this country. Because slaves were the free labor white men used to build the US Capitol, the White House, many state houses around the nation and more.
Aside from building America, blacks like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other non-whites made significant contributions to our civilization. Aside from King’s racially- tinged and ignorant comment, America’s changing demographics don’t favor Republican thinking like this. The country is getting browner, not whiter. By the year 2050, over 50% of the nation’s population will be non-white. Mitt Romney lost in 2012 because he miserably lost the black, Hispanic, Asian and woman vote to Obama.
Noting the absence of diversity in speakers at the convention, MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked Pierce:
“What does this say about the identity crisis the party has right now?”
Amid all the other controversies from the first day of the convention, the floor fight and Melania Trump’s allegedly plagiarized speech, it looks like the GOP is cracking up. And that we may be headed for a third loss in 2016.