GOP project to make the party less white only hoping to bring in 3 or so candidates

731
Advertisement

Republicans are still struggling to attract minority candidates and voters.

The Republican-led group trying to recruit minority candidates admitted that at the end of its training process it only expects to have three to five candidates financed and ready by November of 2020.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the only black Republican in the U.S. Senate, is the honorary chair of the Empower America Project, which is based on his own ideas for grooming minority candidates. The group says its mission is to train and bankroll minorities for office, targeting local, state and national offices.

At a Washington, D.C., event in late September to support the group, Scott spoke about "future generations of conservatives who will look like America."

Advertisement

But that day is quite a long way off, if it ever happens.

"Organizers hope to have three to five candidates to promote and financially support," McClatchy reported on Thursday, highlighting the intense problems Republicans have in recruiting minority candidates.

The lackluster showing comes as Republicans are set to lose the only black Republican in the House, Will Hurd of Texas, who is among many in the party retiring from their seats in the coming months rather than face reelection.

Republicans have long struggled with attracting minority support after the party embraced candidates opposed to civil rights, such as Sen. Barry Goldwater in the 1960s.

In the 2018 midterms, the Republican caucus in Congress became more male and white, while the country and the Democratic Party have been steadily diversifying.

Electing Trump as the head of the party has not helped. Trump's history of racism and bigotry turned off black voters in 2016, and since he's taken office, things have just gotten worse.

In response to his actions, including praising Nazis, calling countries with nonwhite majorities "shitholes," and constantly attacking women of color, his numbers have plummeted. In a recent survey, Trump only had 3% support from black women.

Last November, Scott had to buck his party and oppose Thomas Farr, one of Trump's nominees for the federal court. Despite Farr's work in suppressing minority votes in North Carolina, Trump nominated him for the powerful position.

In a July interview discussing Empower America on Fox Business, Scott seemed to concede that getting minorities to run under the party's banner is a difficult proposition.

"I think the best thing to do is not to try to force people to become Republicans or tell them they should leave the Democrat [sic] party, we should ask people to align with their values," Scott said.

It is unclear why a Democrat would go through a training process designed by a conservative Republican to recruit candidates to help his party.

In fact, the Empower America website's home page is a testament to the Republican Party's problems on this front as well. In the site's "historical spotlight" segment, three figures are quoted to highlight black Republican success — Robert Brown Elliott, Hiram Rhoades Revels, and Joseph Payne Rainey. All three men held their offices in the House and Senate in the 1870s, over 140 years ago.

Democrats have had better recent success on this front. Two senators currently serving, Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), are black. Before they joined the Senate, there was Barack Obama (D-IL), who moved on to a higher office.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.