A column from The Nation took a look into GOP primary exit polls and the absence of black voter participation. In Georgia, Michigan, Florida and South Carolina where black populations are higher than the national level, black voters are turning out for the GOP contests in numbers so low that pollsters can barely measure it.
The to the question of why African-American turnout in GOP primaries has fallen to such low levels has at least something to do with a failure of will. For all the talk among GOP operatives and conservative pundits about how the party really is trying to reach out, there is simply no evidence from the primary voting that the efforts are paying off. Indeed, to suggest that the current crop of GOP candidates is seriously contending for the African-American vote is to deny the numbers. While all of the candidates have individual African-American supporters, none of them has made the sort of connection that Republicans once made.
And at least one of the current contenders, Mitt Romney, knows this.
He is, after all, the son of one of the most honorable Republicans of the era when the party really tried to secure a significant African-American vote—and sometimes succeeded.
When Mitt Romney’s father sought reelection for governor of Michigan in 1966, he got 30 percent of the African-American vote. Two years later, when George Romney sought the Republican nomination for the presidency, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. reportedly praised the prospect.
Why? It was not just a matter of words. It was a matter of deeds.
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