Eric Rauchway Translates John Maynard Keynes
Dawn Patrol

Sophia Nelson Needs to Return From the Gamma Quadrant

She writes:

It's My Party, But I Don't Feel Part of It: Election night was a bittersweet night for me.... [A]s a black Republican, I was chagrined that the political party I've belonged to for 20 years... lost 96 percent of the black vote and 67 percent of the Hispanic vote.... We'll have to decide whether we want to be the party that believes in smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation, or whether we're going to be a litmus-test party that responds only to the demands of social conservatives.... [W]e'll have to confront our most disastrous modern legacy: our poor relationship with black Americans, the very people the party was formed to protect....

John McCain that seemed to simply concede the black vote... only one high-level black adviser or spokesperson on his full-time paid campaign staff. The GOP convention was embarrassingly devoid of people of color -- among more than 2,000 delegates, only 36 were black. The problem, former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele told the Washington Times last week, is that party officials "don't give a damn."... It didn't have to be this way....

I joined the Republican Party in 1988, attracted by George H.W. Bush's message of a "kinder, gentler" America and Jack Kemp's mantra of economic development and urban enterprise zones, which seemed a natural fit for the black community.... [B]eing a moderate black Republican isn't easy. My black GOP colleagues and I endure endless ridicule and questioning from other African Americans, including close friends and family members who wonder how we can belong to a political party that is so overwhelmingly white, male, Southern, conservative and seemingly closed to ethnic minorities.

And truth be told, it's sometimes an ill fit.... Shannon Reeves... started a college Republican chapter at Grambling State University in 1988. In 2003, he wrote an open letter to the party after it was disclosed that in 1999, a newsletter published by the then-vice chairman of the California Republican Party had carried an essay suggesting that the country would have been better off if the South had won the Civil War. "I am tired of being embarrassed by elected Republican officials who have no sensitivity for issues that alienate whole segments of our population," Reeves wrote. "This embarrassment is different for a black Republican. Not only do we have to sit in rooms and behave professionally towards Republicans who share this ideology, we have to go home to a hostile environment where we are called Uncle Tom and maligned as a sell-out to the community because of our membership in the Republican Party." With those words Reeves expressed what many of us have felt over the years -- and felt again during the recent campaign as we listened to racially coded Republican ads and speeches aimed at scaring working-class and rural white voters about Obama...

Sophia: Jack Kemp lost. The Republican Party is now controlled by people who would rather have the votes of those who think it's a damned shame the South lost the Civil War than your vote. That is how it is. That is how it has been since Nixon.