When Republican challenger Mitt Romney speaks at the NAACP convention next month, he has a chance to begin to show African Americans that Republicans aren’t afraid of black folks and are interested in reaching out to the community with policies that might be of assistance in the long run, argues political analyst Roland Martin in column on CNN.
Martin acknowledges that Romney has no chance of getting any significant number of black votes in November against President Obama, but he claims this isn’t just because Obama enjoys overwhelming support in the black community. Martin says Romney isn’t going to win many black votes also because the GOP has acted as if it is afraid of black people over the last 40 years. Martin reveals that he has had virtually no success in getting Republicans to come on his News One television show, “Washington Watch”—even “back bench” Congresspeople who normally get no love from the national media.
“With minorities in America quickly becoming the majority, the GOP had better figure out real soon that relying on white voters to win local, state and national elections ain’t the smartest electoral strategy,” Martin writes.
He says on issues such as housing, HIV, voter suppression, education and mandatory minimum sentencing, there’s much Romney can talk about at the NAACP—and begin to pave the way for future Republicans to be able to connect with a portion of the black community, the way that Republicans like former Gov. Mike Huckabee in Arkansas and Sen. George Voinovich in Ohio did in their careers, nearly winning majorities in the black community.
“I say it’s time to emancipate the GOP from its hostility toward African-Americans. Speaking to the NAACP is a step, but that must be followed by many other outreach efforts large and small,” Martin writes. “But it’s a start. And I’ll be right there in my hometown of Houston, Mitt, to see if you offering empty platitudes or a real blueprint for change that black folks could realistically consider.”