Saturday, April 24, 2010

RNC Chair Steele: African-Americans "Don't Have A Reason" To Vote Republican

Speaking to 200 DePaul University students, Michael Steele, the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee, said that African-Americans have not been given a reason to vote for his party. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Why should an African-American vote Republican?

"You really don't have a reason to, to be honest -- we haven't done a very good job of really giving you one. True? True," Republican National Chairman Michael Steele told 200 DePaul University students Tuesday night.

Steele also said that the Republicans have pursued a race-based strategy in the South:

"We have lost sight of the historic, integral link between the party and African-Americans," Steele said. "This party was co-founded by blacks, among them Frederick Douglass. The Republican Party had a hand in forming the NAACP, and yet we have mistreated that relationship. People don't walk away from parties, Their parties walk away from them.

"For the last 40-plus years we had a 'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South. Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, 'Bubba' went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton."

Steele's comments have not gone over well with his fellow Republicans, who deny that the party has played upon racial divisions since Richard Nixon pursued the "Southern Strategy" in 1968. Yet one of Steele's predecessors as RNC chair, Ken Mehlman, said in 2005 that some Republicans in the past few decades were "trying to benefit politically from racial polarization" and that they were "wrong."

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