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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Black, Hispanic Conservatives Bailing Out of GOP

In his L.A. Times article “Latino and Black Voters Reassessing Ties to GOP,” Peter Wallsten reports on the exodus of African American and Hispanic conservative voters from the G.O.P. According to Wallsten, a growing number of leaders in both constituencies have articulated a sense of being taken for granted by Republican leaders. With respect to African American conservatives:

Complaints among black pastors who had been courted by the White House — while less pronounced than those of Latino leaders — have been fueled by a tell-all book by former White House aide David Kuo. The new book says that Bush, referring to pastors from one major African American denomination, once griped: “Money. All these guys care about is money. They want money.”
…The Rev. Eugene Rivers, a Boston Pentecostal minister and one of about two dozen black clergy invited to a series of White House meetings with Bush, said Friday that black leaders had been wooed with assurances that their social service groups would receive money from the president’s faith-based initiative. But, Rivers said, the bulk of the money had gone to white organizations, leaving black churches on the sidelines.

The GOP’s rift is also widening with Latino conservatives, who are disturbed by the Republicans’ mixed messages on immigration and who share the Black conservatives’ concern about the GOP’s ethics problems and the Foley cover-up:

A survey released this month by the Latino Coalition found Latino registered voters supporting Democrats over Republicans 56% to 19% in congressional elections. “If Republicans nationally get 25% of the Hispanic vote, it would be a miracle,” said Robert de Posada, the coalition president…
The Latino backlash has grown so intense that one prominent, typically pro-Republican organization, the Latino Coalition, has endorsed Democrats in competitive races this year in Tennessee, Nebraska and New Jersey….The Latino Coalition, for example, has endorsed the presumed Democratic presidential front-runner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), in her reelection bid this year.

The aforementioned Kuo book, “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction,” has alienated white conservatives as well, with its depiction of top White House aides “embracing religious conservatives in public while calling them “nuts” behind their backs.”

One comment on “Black, Hispanic Conservatives Bailing Out of GOP

  1. chicago dyke on

    i’m not surprised.
    while in divinity school at Chicago, I worked with several national leaders of the Black Church, and also with local youth interested in social justice issues. The bottom line: the Black Church is in a crisis, in terms of being able to have an impact on the problems of the Black community. Far too many of the leadership are only interested in sitting on laurels, talking about the good old Civil rights days and glories, and hearing their own voices. The young people I worked with were incredibly critical of the leadership, and many found themselves completely unmotivated to participate in the activities of their churches.
    It doesn’t help that the Black Church is rife with corruption and hypocrisy. Many of the “talented tenth,” myself included, have found little use for the churches of our fathers and mothers. I could spend all day telling you about scandals and horrors in various Chicago area churches, ministers who steal from the church, rape or commit adultery with their charges, who are closet cases and snake oil salesmen.
    Too often, the Black Church is little more than an organization that fleeces the poorest, distracting them with ridiculous absurdities about how gays are the cause for urban poverty, or that hip hop music is destroying communities.
    This is a little discussed topic outside the Black community, but the split is very clear to me. These days, educated, socially aware, professional Blacks have few reasons to have great loyalty to the traditional Black Church. Those left behind are increasingly the elderly, most poor and least educated. It pains me to say it, but after several conferences and other activities with national leaders of the Black Church in Divinity school, I have come to the conclusion that it is not going to be a significant force for racial and social justice in my lifetime.


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