Former GOP presidential hopeful and Libya strategist Herman Cain has come to the realization that the Republican Party may have an issue with race. It wasn’t the series of voting restrictions targeting minorities or the recent tweet from the RNC that declared racism over that bothered Cain, it was the omission of his name on a flier for potential 2016 presidential candidates.
“The RNC sent out a flier to some of its members talking about potential 2016 presidential candidates. Do you know what they had in common? They all have been on TV and in the media a lot, and they were all white. Where was Allen West? Where was Dr. Ben Carson? And have they ruled out the possibility that I might consider another run? That’s part of their branding problem.” Cain told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.
Under the guise of preventing voter fraud (a crime so rampant, it breaks down to 0.0002% in occurrence), the GOP introduced voting restrictions in several states specifically to limit minority votes prior to the 2012 elections.
At no point did Cain comment against the restrictions. Rather, he explained why the GOP has lost support from African-American voters, telling CNN, “Many African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view.” Cain didn’t put the fire out. He poured gasoline on it.
African-American voters aren’t “brainwashed” into voting by political party, as Cain believes: they are responding to specific policies.
For example, Cain’s most famous policy was his proposed 9-9-9 Tax Plan. This is the same plan the non-partisan Tax Policy Center determined would raise taxes on 84% of households, hitting the lowest incomes hardest. The 9-9-9 Tax Plan only benefited wealthy incomes, especially those making $1 million and above.
According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, the 2012 median household average income for blacks was just $33,321 (hardly a group that would have benefited under Cain’s plan).
African-Americans aren’t the only minority group whose concerns have been ignored by the policies of the GOP candidates; they did the same to Latino voters (as covered in our previous entry, Abre Los Ojos).
However, this isn’t to say race hasn’t played a role in modern-day politics.
During the same time frame of Cain’s defense of the GOP, Republican Georgia Rep. Sue Burmeister explained that implementing new legislation against voter fraud would lead to “fewer black votes.”
Arkansas GOP State Senator Jason Rapert told a Tea Party crowd: “We’re going to take this country back for conservatism. And we’re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in.”
Earlier this year, former Secretary of State Colin Powell commented on the issue of race within the GOP with Meet the Press’ David Gregory: “There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that that they still sort of look down on minorities.”
In March 2011, Cain put on his best trunks and dived into the racist cesspool of birtherism. When asked during an interview about his response to Donald Trump questioning President Obama’s birthplace, Cain responded: “He (Obama) should have to prove he was born in the United States of America.”
Cain wasn’t bettering the party for minorities; he was keeping the status quo.
Cain’s reaction to this RNC flier speaks to a much broader problem within the Republican Party. The representatives of the Tea Party-infused GOP seemingly can’t empathize with the American people on social issues unless they have somehow been directly touched by it first.
Earlier this year, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman reversed his long opposed stance against same-sex marriage only after his son came out as a homosexual.
Interestingly, Portman’s son’s sexual orientation (disclosed in 2011) did not prevent him from entertaining the possibility of being Mitt Romney’s running mate during the 2012 elections. Romney’s agenda contained some of the most damaging and hateful views towards the LGBT community, including the candidate signing NOM’s anti-gay marriage pledge.
Now that Cain is not on the short list for 2016 potential nominees, the party has a “branding problem.” Sorry to break it to you Herman, but they had one long before Tuesday.