Friday, November 7, 2014

The Republicans and Minorities

Johnston City, TN – For over a generation now, many have called the Republican Party the party of the middle age, middle class, white man. Tuesday may have begun to change that. For the first time since Reconstruction, -which ended in the 70s, (in case you were wondering, that was the 1870s) a black man was elected to the senate –Tim Scott- with over sixty percent of the vote. And he was a Republican.

Interestingly enough, the state where he won, South Carolina, was the first state to succeed, just before Christmas, in 1860, to start the Civil War.
The Republican Party has become more diverse since Strom Thurmond, the senator who holds the record speaking the longest time on the senate floor, joined it in the 1960s in protest of the Democratic Party’s emphasis on Civil Rights. Strom Thurmond, famously against integration for at least the greater part of his life, was himself, not only from the same party that has now elected Tim Scott, but from the same state, South Carolina.
The Republicans have had trouble, historically, attracting minority votes. Even their recent attempts to pass laws requiring more ID required at voting places were pointed at by many as attempts to block minorities from voting, which historically vote Democrat. But in Texas, where the minorities were supposed to help beat Greg Abbott, the gubernatorial candidate for the Republicans, he won by over a million votes, and 40% of the Latino vote.
A simple look at those who are expected to be front runners for the Republicans in 2016 shows diversity, including Ted Cruz, whose father was born in Cuba, as well as other such minorities as Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio.
The Republican Party has definitely become more diverse in the years since Strom Thurmond spoke for almost an entire day on the senate floor in an attempt to block desegregation. The Republican Party is not the party of the old, or of the white. It is a party for all.
We should never forget, as well, that the Republican Party was, after all the party of Lincoln.

Andrew C. Abbott

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