For reasons that are not entirely clear, the GOP got two great conservatives in Tim Scott and Mia Love.
The GOP of the moment is not a GOP that deserves them, and it’s not because they are black. It is because of their steadfast commitment to their convictions, despite the hate that gets spewed at them from the Left for not being Good Black Democrats.
Mia Love, sadly, no longer has her congressional seat. Tim Scott, however, is still in the Senate.
During her concession speech, Love pushed back against the idea that she lost because she didn’t support Donald Trump enough, and a lot of the media focus was on that. However, there was another part of her speech that deserved a lot more credit than it got.
This election experience, and these comments, shine a spotlight on the problems Washington politicians have with minorities and black Americans: It’s transactional. It’s not personal. You see, we feel like, politicians claim they know what’s best for us, from a safe distance. Yet they’re never willing to take us home.
Because Republicans never take minorities, minority communities into their home and citizens into their homes and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats and bureaucrats in Washington because they do take them home, or at least make them feel like they have a home. I’ve seen the cost to conservatives for not truly taking people into their hearts. Democrats saw newly elected black members and women to Congress in this election. This is a matter of fact that Republicans lost in this regard.
However, minority communities need to ask themselves a question also: at what cost? What is the cost of staying with the Democrat Party that perpetually delivers exactly what you need to stay exactly where you are? To make poverty tolerable, instead of temporary. People who judge their success by how many people they can put into poverty programs versus how many they can get out of them.
Scott, meanwhile, is leading the fight in taking on the nomination of Thomas Farr to be a federal judge. Farr’s nomination is tainted with accusations of voter suppression of black voters, and some of the claims do give me pause.
This isn’t because I believe voter ID and the like is voter suppression, but because I recognize that there is still racism and there are still people who attempt to do things like actually prevent black voters from voting. There is still evil in the world, and it is an evil that Republicans and conservatives more and more seem willing to turn a blind eye to.
Whether or not you believe that Love lost because she didn’t embrace Trump or that the accusations against Farr are leftist attacks on his character, there is a very real problem that the GOP won’t even entertain the notion, because they feel that any concession to the black community is a hopeless one.
But the facts don’t support that.
CNN’s Harry Enten provided some insight into polling back in August that showed Trump was decreasing his deficit among black voters, and exit polling from the midterms showed an overall increase in black male support for GOP candidates in 2018.
Via The Washington Post in that second link:
Black men who voted for Kemp were not so much rejecting Abrams as embracing the conservative messages of rugged individualism and free-market economics.
“I think it boils down to — the conservative mantra of self-determination and economic empowerment resonates with men, period, but especially with a certain cohort of black men,” Johnson said. “Like the brothers that are hustling CD to the brothers that open barbershops, that entrepreneurial spirit is alive in the black community.”
He said those voters believe the GOP talking point of “getting government out of the way and letting people determine their own economic path. That sounds good to black men, and it’s a mantra they can support rather than having the government say we’re gonna help you to be a man.”
But black voters’ support for Republicans rarely rises above the low teens because of the GOP’s increasingly racially charged politics, especially in recent years, with Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policies going largely unchallenged by party leaders. Trump’s election has been applauded by people who espouse racist beliefs, and he has often declined to criticize their actions, such as last year in Charlottesville, when a neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a woman.
You don’t get a Tim Scott or a Mia Love if the black community has completely written off the GOP. There are still some messages that resonate, and those messages are why Love and Scott would even run as Republicans in the first place. It isn’t about winning the election, but about pursuing those ideals in ways that worked for them and will work for poor black voters.
But you have no other Republicans willing to go to the mat for the black community in any meaningful sense. There is no support for Tim Scott in pushing back against Farr. There was no meaningful support from the Trump camp to Mia Love.
In much the same way, there is rarely any support from the Republican Party to the black community. There are the usual talking points (“Democrats want to keep you in poverty and dependent on them!”) but no action is taken to actually help. Love said it’s transactional, and that’s not the right way here.
We often treat the word “concession” as a bad word. We should not give something up to the Democrats because it will never be enough. For the most part, that is true, but in this case, this goes far beyond politics. We should be working to make some concessions because it is right to do so. In this case, it would be right to reject Farr and seek a nomination elsewhere.
Tim Scott and Mia Love are trying to get us to have this conversation, and to do what’s right for the black community – a community that is as American as those of you reading this post. They deserve a chance to be heard, their concerns taken seriously and not rejected as mere “playing the victim” for politics’ sake.