It was the usual great time down in Brazoria County, last Friday. Yvonne Dewey, the county GOP chairwoman, and her crew, held their annual Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner. Ron Paul, a Brazoria County resident, and other political luminaries were in obligatory attendance. We were sorry to hear that newly-elected state senator, Joan Huffman was ill and unable to attend.
I had the great privilege of being seated next to U.S. Senate candidate from Texas, Michael L. Williams. Williams is the current chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. For all of our out-of-state readers, the Railroad Commission has nothing to do with railroads. It’s all about Texas energy policy. I don’t know the history why. You figure it out then tell me, please.
You can look for Chairman Williams on Facebook. He’s a large, black man that habitually works a bow tie. And his command of a room when speaking is very becoming. Yes, he’s articulate, accomplished, and has obvious political aspirations for higher office. He wants to get to Washington to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison when she resigns to run for Texas governor.
A few names have surfaced in the race, including the equally charismatic and articulate Roger Williams, the former Secretary of State for Texas. However, looking at the upcoming senate race from the lens of RagingElephants.org, I want to examine the campaign from the perspective of which candidate’s campaign could most best benefit the party now, and in the distant future. What is going to benefit the party the most? The growth of the party.
Let’s review. Texas is in the rifle scope of the Democratic Party. Texas GOP is suffering a double-digit deficit when it comes to voters that identify themselves as either a "D" or an "R". A recent Gallop poll reports that party preference in the Lone Star State favors the Dems by 2 points. The Hill Research Center in The Woodlands, Texas, published a very disturbing survey that showed just how tarnished the GOP brand is, just in Texas. The party is seen as outright racist!
With all of this as a backdrop, the question has to be asked, "Which candidate is best to combat all these negatives?" And, another question, "Is there a candidate that can actually ‘grow’ the party?"
Let’s be clear right here. Neither RagingElephants.org nor I is endorsing a candidate. Especially in this very early campaign and with a very good field for the primary and the possibility of others entering the race. What we are looking at is the demographic trajectory of the state and the nation, and what it portends for Texas and national politics for many election cycles to come. Because of identity politics (folks voting for folks just because they look like them – a major problem in the communities of color), the GOP has to take advantage of the electoral, psychological reality. We have to be smarter than the race-baiting liberals.
Remember, RagingElephants.org is all about growing the conservative voting base through racial diversity – the fastest way to get back to election dominance, and, in addition, certainty of retaining majorities for generations to come. Those of you that read this blog have come to understand this dynamic and have shown your support for the work that RagingElephants.org has begun. So, we are looking at the potential shaping of the race from this perspective. And, from this perspective, it looks to us like Michael L. Williams is the only candidate that will actually "grow" the party.
RagingElephants.org would like to see a 20+% black voter support for the GOP slate by the mid-term of 2014. We have seen the numbers that say that some African Americans don’t completely find the Republican Party as anathema. They will vote for a Republican on some occasions. This was most recently shown in the 2004 re-election of Bush, the Younger. Add to this the anecdotal evidence of the black barber shop and you can find great potential for the GOP with the nomination of M.L. Williams to the general election for senate.
Talking to the "brothers" at the salon, there are those that flatly say they will not vote for M.L. Williams because he is a Republican. They just can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican under any circumstance. One actually told me, "I voted for the black man when I voted for president." Translation? You’re not a real black unless you’re a Democrat. We’ve talked about this mental illness before. We’ll talk about it again in the future, I’m sure.
On the positive side, there are the "brothers" that have said that they WILL vote for Chairman Williams because he’s black. They want to see history made. They want to see the "brother" advance. And they don’t care that he has an "R" behind his name. This is promising.
This goes a long way to prove my theory that being proactive in seeking out qualified, attractive candidates from communities of color will go a long way to get the swine excrement off the brand of the GOP. We have made the argument that we need new faces, new messaging, and new messengers to change the general public’s perception of the GOP. And the only candidacy going into 2010, at this moment, is the run of Chairman Williams. And let me add, he would make a striking contrast to the projected candidacy of current Houston mayor, and pasty white liberal, Bill White. (Note to the Mayor: Dude, you live in Houston, Texas. It ain’t that hard to get some sun!)
To have a few million blacks vote for a Republican, maybe for the first time in their voting history, could be huge for liberating them from the Democratic plantation. They'll be able to see that they can vote for a Republican, no matter what race, and they won’t be immediately struck with leprosy. Then the GOP has a truly fabulous chance to complete the conversion with outreach follow up and the like. But the most important thing that will keep blacks in the GOP column will be to deliver positive change to their lives through time-tested conservative principles.
No, we are not advocates of identity politics. But we are advocates of wise political strategy. Obama is not the fulfillment of Dr. King’s Dream. This nation, especially the "black nation", is a long way from evolving to the manifestation of the Dream. Closer, indeed. But, no cigar. And, until that happens, it’s time for the GOP to recognize that reality and start looking at the advantage of running candidates of color, en masse. Haven’t we learned the power of image and perception? It kicked our butt on November 4, 2008 – a seminal moment in American politics, forever!
The only candidate that can actually "grow" the Republican Party in the very endangered red state of Texas, is Chairman Michael L. Williams.
2009©Claver T. Kamau-Imani