In the days since losing last week’s election so badly, the Republican Party has been internally attempting to figure out how to move forward. One way it can do that, as many commentators have noted now, is by opening its doors to more minority groups, many of whom have been all but written off by the GOP for years now.
Romney snatched 6 percent of the African-American vote away from Obama. That was 2 percent better than Sen. John McCain attracted in 2008. But Romney has nothing on the late President Richard Nixon, who got 18 percent of the Black vote in 1972. No Republican has matched that level of support since.
While African-Americans and Latinos are reliable voting blocs for Democrats, they certainly are not beyond reach of Republicans. And polls of Blacks and Latinos in key swing states show that, had Romney shown a combination of moderation, compassion and interest, he could have won.
Even conservative flag-bearer Dick Morris, a Fox News contributor who had predicted a landslide victory for Romney, said after Romney’s defeat that the GOP needs to reach out to more minorities and young people. “[W]hat the Republican Party needs to do is to stop running in the face of those demographics, and start appealing to them,” he said.
Here’s an idea for conservatives looking to get some minority followers: stop complaining about Obamacare.
There’s little the GOP can do now to try to destroy President Obama’s massive health care overhaul. But conservatives should also stop complaining about it vocally and vehemently — as they’ve done ever since it was passed — if they’d like to appeal to some voters of color. Studies show that large swaths of the African-American community and the Latino community support the Affordable Care Act, something that probably has less to do with racial allegiance and more to do with the fact that, under the old laws, Blacks and Latinos were more likely than the rest of the country to be uninsured. Today, thanks to Obamacare, 9 million more Latinos are able to get health coverage, and more than 400,000 Black young adults are already benefiting.
In essence, complaining about the Affordable Care Act is, in many ways, complaining that Black and brown people who have suffered for so long with disproportionately poor health care are now insured. If the GOP would like to continue with its anti-Obamacare rants, that’s fine. But it shouldn’t be surprised when that kind of talk continues to repel minorities in the process.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)
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