If you don’t believe that the Republican Party is the party of old white men, then you should have been in Detroit, Michigan last week. In a city which is mostly black, the majority of those who turned out for a Republican African-American outreach event were white.
Senator Rand Paul was invited to Detroit to open the party’s African-American Engagement Office. But the GOP’s efforts were overshadowed by the number of white people who did show up versus the number of black people who didn’t. The event really shows just how much work the GOP has ahead if it’s serious about winning over more black support.
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus said that winning over a larger share of the black vote is essential to the GOP’s success. To follow up on that effort, the RNC set up an African-American Engagement Office in Detroit, hired a local radio personality to head up the effort, and even launched a Michigan Black Advisory Council, but it obviously wasn’t enough to stir black people to turn out.
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow rightly noted last evening, the GOP may’ve had better luck if Sen. Rand Paul hadn’t been invited. If you remember, Sen. Paul straddled the fence on whether he would have supported the Civil Rights Act at the time of its passage.
In all honesty, if Republicans are looking to increase the number of minorities within their ranks, this was an awful first effort. It could have been worse though. The GOP could’ve attempted to entice blacks with fried chicken and watermelon. Thank goodness for small miracles.