As Wingnuttia hilariously descends upon a former plantation to discuss (amongst many other things) how to reach out to women and minorities, it is instructive to see who is leading the charge. Slate’s David Weigel, take it away:
- Successful Communication with Minorities and Women, with a female moderator (Rachel Campos-Duffy), a female consultant (Ana Navarro), a female congressman (Rep. Jaime Herrera Buetler), and three congressmen who are neithor [sic] female nor minorities: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Scott Rigell, and Rep. Frank Wolf.
OK, three women of color is good. Then three white guys. Houston we have a problem!
Moving off the plantation (a-hem), let us now turn out attention to CNN’s Jon Avalon, who tells us that Wingnuttia has a surprising diversity edge over the Dim-o-crats:
“This is why it might surprise you to hear that Republicans are by far the more diverse party when it comes to statewide elected officials such as senators and governors. On this front, they leave Democrats in the dust. And that’s why the GOP actually has a greater depth of diversity on their potential presidential bench looking to 2016 and beyond.
Among the Republican ranks is Brian Sandoval, the Hispanic governor of Nevada. The 49-year-old former federal judge took on a corrupt conservative incumbent and is now racking up an impressive reform record in his first term. Likewise, there is New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez, a former district attorney who remains popular in her state despite an otherwise Democratic tide.
OK, yay for the home team in southwestern and western states, where demographics might actually encourage greater participation from traditional ethnic minorities. But how many of these Republicans of color are playing on the national stage?
The new 113th Congress is the most diverse in history, but that diversity comes almost exclusively courtesy of the Democratic side of the aisle. For example, there are 42 African-American members of the House — all are Democrats. The Hispanic population is comparatively less skewed, with 27 congressional Democrats and eight Republicans. Among Asian-Americans, we’re back to the lopsided totals — 11 Democrats and no Republicans.
There is a problem with this sort of lazy punditry 101 analysis: it assumes that all ethnic groups are monolithic, with the same beliefs, walking lockstep. To divide the country into these racial silos is where we get into stereotyping trouble.
Outreach to women when you are a profoundly anti-woman party that adopts profoundly anti-women positions (everything from forced-birth to legitimate-rape to pay discrimination) is not going to attract many women. Why would any woman want to participate in a club that holds hostile policy positions?
Demanding that a wall be built on the southern border, electrified, and with armed troops defending it to keep “them” out is not a policy position that is welcoming to Hispanics (let alone the lack of a similar fortress on the northern border). Fighting tooth and nail against the Dream Act tells people that they are not wanted in your party. It is racial profiling as a policy position.
The problem is not that there are not conservatives of color or conservative women–there are plenty–but Republicanism itself is driving people away. I keep coming back to the image of the dinosaur thrashing about in the tar pit: it has no idea that it is doomed.