President Obama and the Democratic Party whacked the Grand Ole Party with an unforeseen combination in the 2012 presidential and state elections: Minorities combined with women combined with Generation Y equaled a landslide victory.
In the four months since the major defeat on local, state and national platforms, GOP leaders have been repackaging and rebranding the party’s message to appeal to a wider voting margin. The Conservative Political Action Committee was the ideal platform to debut shiny, upgraded, glitzy Republicans. The annual meeting of leaders, including birther Donald Trump and ideologue Ann Coulter, was supposed to showcase a GOP that ardors minorities, women and young folks and want us to focus on the economy instead of our wombs, voter suppression laws and gerrymandered district lines.
Instead of a transformed GOP, Republicans appeared old, rusty and out-of-touch at CPAC. A prime example of their delusional understanding of voter attraction was the featured panel promoting “Frederick Douglass Republicans.” Controversy erupted when K. Carl Smith, a Douglass Republican, was interrupted by a white North Carolinian man attempting to defend slavery. Scott Terry, 30, asked Smith if “separate but equal” politics is beneficial to the GOP. Smith referenced Douglass’ letter of forgiveness to his former master in his answer, which led to Terry’s response: “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Then Terry muttered, “Why can’t we just have segregation?”
He tried it. So, Frederick Douglass should’ve thanked his former owner for feeding and housing him after he was stolen from his native land? We should bow and kiss the feet of the master for whipping us, separating our families and leaving us with eternal oppression psyches.
ThinkProgress, a left-leaning blog, spoke with Terry after the panel. When asked if he’d be comfortable in a culture where minorities are subservient, he said “I’d be fine with that” because federal legislation has “systematically disenfranchised” whites. He also lambasted the GOP for seeking a diverse voting base.
“It seems to me that you’re reaching out to voters that might fit the program you’re speaking of at the expense of young, white, Southern males like myself,” Terry said.
This was one of several panels emblematic of the issues facing the GOP. Other panels included “The Uninvited,” which featured anti-Islamic blogger Pamela Geller; “Stop THIS: Threats, Harassment, Intimidation, Slander & Bullying from the Obama Administration,” a panel designed to teach conservatives how to counter accusations of bigotry; and the most popular panel, “Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You’re Not One?”
Racism can’t be camouflaged with a political rebranding.
Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus realizes the party’s failures, but offers no solutions. “Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country,” he wrote in the RNC’s annual report. “If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence.”
The GOP has a race issue and CPAC exposed it.