More Diverse GOP Field Still Not Likely to Pull Black and Latino Votes, Report Says

Election '16

The GOP has a far more ethnically diverse field of presidential candidates than the Democratic Party, but that does not mean they will have a good chance at pulling black and Latino voters.

Right now, the Republicans have Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz (both Latinos), Ben Carson (an African American), and soon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, an Indian American. You’d think that the most diverse GOP field in recent memory would have the Democrats worried, but that isn’t the case, according to The Washington Post.

A push to put black candidates on the ballots during the 2010 congressional races didn’t increase turnout or black votes, according to a 2015 study co-written by University of Chicago professor Amir Shawn Fairdosi. Several conservative columnists used the study to argue that the GOP should give up on black voters, but Fairdosi said that wasn’t the point of his research.

“The thrust of the paper isn’t that the Republican Party can’t attract black voters, but you just can’t throw a black candidate out there,” Fairdosi said. “Voters are going to vote for the candidates that will do what’s best for them.

“Democrats start off with a platform more appealing to black voters than Republicans,” he said.

Michael Steele, a former Republican National Committee chairman and Lt. Governor of Maryland, told The Post that getting black people to vote GOP isn’t just about fielding black candidates.

“The split with the black community was not because there were no black candidates; the black community felt the Republican Party walked away from the black agenda in the 1960s,” Steele said.

And it doesn’t seem like the Party is willing to walk back to it, either. So that means Ben Carson should not expect too many black votes.

But the same reality holds true with Cruz and Rubio as far as Latino voters go. A November Latino Decisions poll found that Cruz had a 25 percent favorable rating compared to Rubio’s 31 percent. Forty percent had no opinion of Rubio and 55 percent had no opinion of Cruz. Both have records to suggest that it would be hard for them to get a significant number of Latino votes from Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner in the presidential race.

The 2016 elections are more than a year away, so the GOP does have time to earn the respect of black and Latino voters. But, if the GOP candidates’ responses to Charleston or immigration reform are any indicator, that seems doubtful.


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