Commentary: You’re Not Going to Get Black Republicans This Year

A group of determined African-American conservatives say they’re not giving up on getting more Blacks on their side this year. But it’s not going to happen.

Posted: 08/31/2012 01:04 PM EDT

There’s a classic scene in the much-loved Tina Fey film Mean Girls in which one of the characters, Gretchen, tries to invent her own slang term, “fetch.” Fetch, to Gretchen, means “cool,” and she’s been trying to get her friends to adopt the word for months. In the scene I’m thinking of, Gretchen tries one last time to get her friends on board, to no avail.

“That is so fetch!” says Gretchen, cheerfully. To which her friend Regina, the mean-girl-in-chief, replies, “Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It's not going to happen!” Gretchen puts her head down, ashamed at the scolding.

Though I hate to sound like a mean girl, I must conjure the spirit of Regina George and say to the Mitt Romney 2012 campaign, “Stop trying to make Black Republicans happen this year. It’s not going to happen.”

Mitt Romney has been trying for months to court Black voters to his campaign, and he’s had almost no success, with polls showing that nearly zero African-Americans plan on supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket in November. Despite the statistics, however, some members of the GOP say they’re not giving up the Black vote just yet.

In a new article in the Guardian, a handful of Black Republicans said they’re bullish about the prospect of getting more African-Americans in the GOP soon:

Many black Republican activists, however, insist that the dream of winning over large numbers of black voters is not a forlorn one. They point out that the social conservatism of many leading black churches on key issues like abortion and gay marriage should be incompatible with the liberal stances of the Democratic party. "They [the Republican party] may not see the opportunity, but there is an opening there," said the reverend C L Bryant, a conservative pastor and the driving force behind a black conservative anti-welfare documentary called Runaway Slave.

Other conservatives insist that there is a hidden well of Republican support among black communities just waiting to hear the party's message on abortion and gay marriage. "A lot of black voters just give a socially acceptable answer when asked if they are going to vote for Obama," said conservative black author Carol Swain. "Black people don't have to be Democrats. It is OK to be in a different party."

While Swain is right—it is OK to be in a different party—the fact of the matter is that abortion and gay marriage are not going to convince a significant number of Blacks to flee the Democrats and join the GOP. If that were the case, Blacks have had the opportunity for years to join the Republicans, which has long been the more socially conservative party.

The GOP, while certainly a haven for social conservatives, is also a party whose fiscal policies clearly benefit wealthier Americans, most of whom are white. That in mind, there is a case to be made that if a lot of Blacks were rich, like, say Herman Cain, they might be interested in becoming Republican and voting for the GOP’s low taxes. But until the day comes that the Black community is flush with cash, don’t expect to see African-Americans rushing out to support Mitt Romney.

These views do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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