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Galindez writes: "Let's be honest, the Tea Party was the result of a black man being elected president of the United States."

Ben Carson. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Ben Carson. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Can a Black Man Win the GOP Nomination?

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

08 May 15


n Monday, two new candidates joined the Republican field. I’m going to say it – neither one of them has a chance to win the Republican nomination, because the party is still full of racists and bigots. Let’s be honest, the Tea Party was the result of a black man being elected president of the United States.

I can hear some of you saying, “What about Ben Carson? He is supported by the Tea Party.” Sure he is: it’s good politics, a good cover for the racism in the party. Ben Carson is a trendy pick for conservatives. It even makes it look like the party has left its racism behind. I’m not buying it. I don’t think many of Carson’s public supporters will vote for him in the end. And yes, I don’t believe the GOP is ready to nominate a black man for president. Dr. Carson declared his intention to seek the Republican Party nomination on Monday in the city of his birth, Detroit.

The second candidate to enter the race Monday was Carly Fiorina. While there is still a lot of sexism in the party, I do believe the Republicans could nominate a woman. Carly Fiorina is not that woman, though. I haven’t heard a strong case for why she would make a good president. She was forced out of her CEO position at Hewlett Packard, and was trounced in her campaign for the Senate in California. I guess one could argue that George W. Bush was worse at running a business, but he at least got elected governor of Texas before running for president. Besides, he really lost anyway.

Neither Fiorina nor Carson has ever been elected to anything. I guess one could argue that Ike never held elected office, but I don’t think Carson or Fiorina ever served as the equivalent to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. So yes, you can argue that both candidates are long shots because of their lack of experience. Most of the media will focus on their experience and ignore the racism and sexism that is still rampant in the party.

You’re right, I did say that a woman could win the party’s nomination, but it is still harder than it would be for a man with the same qualifications.

I am not saying that all Republicans are racist or sexist, but as a party they continue to support racist and sexist policies and do a poor job of controlling the overtly racist and sexist members of their party.

While the history of racism in both parties goes much further back, it was the GOP’s Southern strategy during the days of Nixon that embraced using race to win elections. We must face the fact that racism still is more prevalent in the South. Republican policy is tailored toward reassuring rednecks that their way of life will be protected. It is not just African Americans who are the boogeymen in the Republican game – other minorities and gay, lesbian, and transgendered people are portrayed as the enemy, too. It’s done with code words that are grouped into the Republican’s “values” agenda. They can say traditional values or family values or any other kind of values. What they are really saying is we won’t let “them” change our way of life.

Times change, lifestyles change, progressives evolve and accept people with alternative lifestyles, but conservatives resist change. How else could the Republican Party do so well with working class white men who vote against their economic interests when they vote for candidates who oppose higher wages, access to quality healthcare, preservation of the safety net for seniors and other programs to help the middle class and the poor? They use fear: fear of immigrants, gays, and black people to keep them in the Republican party.

As a party, they do everything can to make it harder for minorities and the poor to vote. Voter ID laws are a modern day poll tax. When most people lose their wallets it takes them very little time to replace their identification. When a poor person loses his ID it can be much harder. If you have been homeless or moving around a lot, there is a good chance you don’t have a copy of your birth certificate, which you will need to get a replacement ID. Good luck getting a copy of your birth certificate if you don’t have ID. It’s a vicious circle, and costly for someone who is poor. So Voter ID laws have a greater impact on people Republicans don’t want to vote. Inner city, predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods are where poverty is most prevalent, so the motivation behind Voter ID laws is racist.

Even Republicans who are not racist or bigoted have failed to condemn those in their party who clearly are. I’m not going to judge whether Rand Paul is racist or not, but he had to fire two staffers, while putting the blame on the media and defending the fired staffers to the end, saying they were not racist. One of them would don a mask made with a Confederate flag and go on the radio calling himself the “Southern avenger.” He regularly made racist remarks, including saying that Abraham Lincoln’s assassin had his heart in the right place. Paul’s inability to see that his staffer was a racist is troubling, but also not surprising.

Racists and bigots are part of the GOP base. When Rand Paul blamed the “liberal media” for the firing, he sent a message to would-be supporters who were racist. Without condoning the staffers’ statements, he sent a signal that he understands their views and that they have nothing to fear from him.

Remember the racist “birther” movement? Even after most Republican elected officials agreed that the president was born in Hawaii, those who knew that they needed the “birther’s” support to get elected not only didn’t distance themselves from the movement but added fuel to the fire. We all know about Donald Trump, but Mike Huckabee showed his racism as well. “If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather,” Huckabee said in a radio interview in 2011. Huckabee’s staff later said he misspoke and that he meant to say Indonesia but the Mau Mau Revolution was in Kenya. Huckabee should have condemned the interviewer who said: “How come we don’t have a health record, we don’t have a college record, we don’t have a birth certificate – why, Mr. Obama, did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate?” We had a birth certificate, and Mike Huckabee knew it, but failed set the record straight so he could keep favor with the racist “birthers.”

In conclusion, there are good people who are Republicans, but simple electoral math says that without rednecks the Republicans can’t win most elections. Even the most enlightened Republican candidate has to be careful to not alienate the “bubba” vote or he will lose the election. For those reasons, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are only window dressing in this election. Rank and file Republicans will point to them as evidence that the party has moved beyond its hateful past. Some may even vote for them, especially Republican women (for Fiorina). But in the end this race will be between the old money, which is behind Jeb Bush, the Koch money, behind Scott Walker, and some grudge money that opposes the Bush machine. Marco Rubio has one of those billionaires in his corner. But Rubio is a Latino, and so is Ted Cruz. Aren’t they boogeymen too? No, they are Cuban – the right kind of Latino. More on that in a future article.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

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