GOP Is Quite Diverse On the State-Level
January 19, 2013 - 3:31 pm
The Republican Party has been smeared and demonized as the party of white people. In the days after the 2012 elections the insufferable chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said that we should “take a good look when the house convenes…they [referring to Republicans] got whiter and more male. And we now have a majority minority and female Democratic caucus. First time in history.” The New York Times wrote an editorial saying that, “we’ll leave the Republicans to their discussions in quiet rooms in the hope that at least a few are suggesting throwing out their old and failing playbook, seemingly written by and for a dwindling society of angry white men.”
NYT’s Nicholas Kristof questioned whether Republicans could “adapt.”
An astonishing 45 percent of Obama voters were members of minority groups, according to The Times’s Nate Silver. Many others were women or young people. That’s the future of America, and if the Republican Party remains a purist cohort built around grumpy old white men, it is committing suicide. That’s bad not just for conservatives, but for our entire country.
More recently, Bush’s former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, had this to say about the Republican Party on Meet the Press last week.
There’s also a dark– a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do mean by that? I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is shuckin’ and jivin’, that’s a racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well, he said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with it.
However, as John Avlon of CNN wrote on January 18:
…Republicans are by far the more diverse party when it comes to statewide elected officials such as senators and governors. On this front, they leave Democrats in the dust. And that’s why the GOP actually has a greater depth of diversity on their potential presidential bench looking to 2016 and beyond.
Yes, Hispanics didn’t give Mitt Romney the light of day, but:
Among the Republican ranks is Brian Sandoval, the Hispanic governor of Nevada. The 49-year-old former federal judge took on a corrupt conservative incumbent and is now racking up an impressive reform record in his first term. Likewise, there is New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez, a former district attorney who remains popular in her state despite an otherwise Democratic tide. How many Hispanic governors do the Democrats have in office? Zero.
Additionally, with America’s rising Indian-American population Governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana could have significant impacts on future elections. There are currently no Democratic Indian-American governors in office. Rep. Tim Scott has become the first black Republican senator from the south, which occurred after incumbent Jim DeMint decided to take the presidency of The Heritage Foundation. In fact, as Avlon noted, he’s the only black senator during this current session from either party.
Additionally, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are rising stars within the Republican Party, while Bob Menendez of New Jersey remains the Democrats’ only hispanic representative in Congress – and one who:
…has been beset by ethical allegations for much of his career, most recently the accusation that federal agents held off from arresting an office intern who was also an undocumented immigrant and registered sex offender until after Menendez’s re-election. (Menendez has said he didn’t know about any possible delay.)
Menendez might have influence, but he is not a charismatic figure. That’s why the Democratic National Convention chose to highlight San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro at its keynote, rather than anyone more senior or nationally known.
So, when it comes to liberals slamming the Republican Party, my party, for being the last, supposedly crumbling, bastion of “angry white men,” I suggest you learn that demography is not destiny. While Avlon does say that Democrats hold the edge on diversity at the federal level, “their lack of statewide-elected diverse Democrats is striking and could provide an opening for Republicans in the next generation (if conservatives don’t keep alienating that community with anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation).” Although, that last point is a discussion for another time.