If a picture is worth a thousand words, moving pictures are worth a million.
The hard numbers confirm that the Republican National Convention, held in Tampa, Fla. the last week in August, was as white as it looked on television. The public policy institution the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies reported last week that only 2.1 percent of the 2,286 delegates at the RNC were African American. That’s like 47 black folks. No wonder TV viewers – the few who watched the RNC – had trouble spotting people of color in the arena.
By contrast, blacks made up 26.2 percent of the delegates at last week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Although the DNC had a far greater number of delegates – 5,551 – proportionally, its black make-up would still be far greater than the RNC’s pitiful numbers.
The RNC used smoke and mirrors to try to convince the world that the party is no longer just a country club for old, rich white guys. Congressional hopeful Mia Love, former Democratic Congressman Arthur Davis, Condoleezza Rice, Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer “Do I look like a Lesbian?” Carroll, and other blacks were trotted out to the podium to show that the GOP is inclusive. But they spoke to a sea of white faces. If the intent was for them to convince other blacks to sign-on, the GOP failed. There were only a few blacks on the convention floor to take the messages back home and the vast majority of black TV viewers would rather be water-boarded than watch Republicans rewrite history and feign amnesia.
Black Republicans like failed presidential candidate Herman Cain claim that blacks flock to the Democratic Party because they have been brainwashed. They believe that the 90-plus percent of blacks who vote Democratic have seen little in return for their loyalty.
We don’t disagree with that argument, but unlike the Democrats, the GOP cannot even pretend to care about black people. If the party was really serious about increasing diversity, wouldn’t someone – Gov. Romney, perhaps – have seen fit to make sure at least 13 percent of the RNC delegates were black so that it would at least reflect the nation’s African American population? Instead, more attention was placed on putting tokens behind the podium.
African Americans aren’t drinking the GOP’s Kool Aid. Gov. Romney is polling at an unprecedented zero percent among black voters. While Cain, Love and the others can bring a convention hall of white folks to their feet by claiming racism and discrimination are things of the past, seemingly they can’t recruit other African Americans to Team Romney.