GOP still blaming minorities it needs to woo

Romney's health plan for 47 percent

Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan for the 47 percent. Image: Mike Licht, BY

During the election Mitt Romney was famously taped in secret saying that 47 percent of the country is basically looking for handouts. He said they were all voting for Obama and, therefore, not the concern of the GOP campaign. He immediately ate those words after the tape came out in September, saying that his words were badly phrased.

GOP warns of Dems bearing ‘gifts’

The dust had not even settled from President Obama’s victory, however, when Romney spoke to his fundraisers last week, saying the Obama campaign had targeted special interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people” — and essentially bought their vote with “gifts.”

Romney said:

“They were very generous in what they gave to those groups. With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift. Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

The ‘greedy’ poor

The statement reads like a reiteration of his 47 percent remarks. Romney lost, he would have us believe, only because the bulk of the nation is still looking for the “handouts” of social reform.

In other words, a man with billions who was raised in a household of privilege says that the nations minorities, young and poor are just being greedy.

White man no longer mainstream

These guys just don’t seem to get that the demographics have changed in this melting pot and that they — wealthy white males — are no longer the voting mainstream.

To be fair, some Republicans, tails between their legs, have begun to realize that elections can no longer be won by simply catering to one narrow but powerful demographic. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said wisely that the party must stop insulting the very constituents it needs to woo.

‘The faces of color’

The signs on the wall seem clear: adapt or die. If the Republican party hopes to survive in this new America, it had better learn to stop whining and blaming others. It needs and be willing to sit down for some serious self-evaluation, and to add some color to its range of vision.

But can a party that has devolved into a mouthpiece for the white, rich and powerful realistically make that transition? To date, what efforts it has made to include other hues have felt like empty efforts to coax votes.

Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, told attendees at the “Facing Race” conference last weekend:

“We have to really question their motives and how they’re tokenizing these faces of color.”


New York Times
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