At last week's NAACP GOP Presidential Candidate Forum, of the nine Republican candidates invited to the forum only Tom Tancredo showed up. All the Democratic Presidential hopefuls showed up for their forum. The excuses given by the Republican campaigns mostly had to do with scheduling conflicts. Many will see this as an indication of the Republican party's commitment to civil rights in America.
Democrates usually start with upwards of 90% support from this easily identifiable demographic group that makes up some 12% of the population. So, the Republicans may reason, why waste our time? Republican efforts to court black votes have not proven effective. When Blacks vote as a Democratic block, then they can't expect to be courted by Republicans.
Still, I wish Republicans would not give up on them. Republicans have a record of which to be proud. Bush's faith-based initiative, the Bush Housing initiative which increased Black homeownership, increased employment in the Black Community, and prominent Black cabinet members in the administration such as Rice and Powell are all things of which the Republicans should remind Black voters.
If Republicans appearance before a black audience does not win them black votes, it is still a good place to talk about important issues. For the good of America, we need to address the issues that effect black America such as poverty, the war-on- drug policy, the black aids epidemic, and failing schools. The forum would have been a good opportunity for a Republican candidate to talk about continuing welfare reform, economic opportunity, and personal responsibility. Even it the blacks in the audience don't care what white Republicans have to say, I would like to see how the Republicans would address the important issues that effect black America and therefore effect us all. I do not think a Jack Kemp would have turned down this opportunity.