Diversifying the GOP majority in South Carolina, Part 2

As a follow-up to yesterday's discussion of diversifying the GOP majority in South Carolina ...

Republican strategists talk wistfully of cracking the monolithic Democratic support in the black community. There is much to suggest that just cracking that base can yield solid benefits. For example, doubling the share of the black vote could well have allowed the GOP to prevail over Congressman John Spratt in 1994, win all nine statewide offices in 2006, and probably even keep former State Representatives George Bailey and Wallace Scarborough in their seats.

But do they really want to win that badly?

In spite of calling their party “pro-business”, GOP leaders fail to apply time-proven business logic in reaching out to black voters. Any business that wants to grow its market share must reach out aggressively and bring buyers to their stores, and then prove their products can meet the needs and expectations of customers. While selling products and growing markets is second nature for any successful businessman, it’s something the tone-deaf GOP leadership has proven themselves unable, or unwilling, to do.

While black Republican candidates flounder terribly in majority-black districts, they represent an alternative voice in the black community that is willing to stand up and challenge the “same old same ol’” power structures in their communities. Until some of those challengers break through, GOP leaders can use their political majorities at the state level and in many of the state’s larger counties to chip away at Democratic power bases by appointing concerned and independent-minded black activists and community leaders to boards and commissions.

Black voters currently see the GOP as indifferent to their concerns. But when they see those in their communities who refuse to sell out to local Democratic leaders empowered via appointments, it could help defuse arguments that Republicans don't care about blacks and convince them that abandoning their traditional single-party loyalties may be to their benefit.

While many of those appointees may not turn into Republicans overnight, they would be hard-pressed to campaign against those Republicans who empowered them via appointments. Over time, as these appointees rise in prominence and influence in their communities via these offices, they could become credible advocates for the GOP with their traditionally Democratic constituencies.

While this could offer the GOP potential political benefits, there are also more noble reasons for this course of action. Many of the state’s urban and rural predominantly-black areas are falling farther and farther behind, and these statistics are reflected in the state's overall statistics on education, employment, incomes, health care, etc. This gives Republicans a real opportunity to help to reach into these areas to help address these problems.

Given it's present position as the majority party, the state's Republican leadership has the ability to act on this issue quickly in a manner which could bolster its majority for decades to come. But considering how the gradual growth of Democratic voting strength in South Carolina has begun to chip away at that majority, there may not be much time left to act.

1 Response to "Diversifying the GOP majority in South Carolina, Part 2"

  1. Anonymous 6/1/09 19:55
    Go Earl, Go!

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