YOU NEVER WIN WITH THE BLACK VOTE | 1998-11-28
Whitaker's Law on the Black Vote
If a nonliberal gets a heavy black vote, he already has the election won.
No nonliberal EVER gets a heavy black vote unless he already has an overwhelming majority of the white vote. The term "going for the black vote" is always a code for going to the left. The press is always looking for proof that a winning black vote could be gotten if Republicans would "broaden their appeal to minorities," which means if they would move to the left.
This time, both Bush brothers picked up a number of black votes. As always,this was a byproduct of the fact that both of them already had the election won. But the press, as always, pushed it as a reason for Republicans to head left or "broaden their base," as the code term goes.
The breathless press found another Republican who got a large black vote in 1998. Kit Bond of Missouri got about 45% of the black vote for his reelection. As always, they did not mention he had the election won going away.
The Democrat opposing Bond had won his party's primary because, as state attorney general, he had taken a stand against racial "balance" in the public schools. Even with this, and with his opponent trouncing him in every other category, the majority of blacks still voted for the Democrat.
If he hadn't taken his stand, Bond's opponent would have gotten more black votes. But he also wouldn't have gotten the nomination, so that helps a lot.
So which votes do Republicans stand to get in the real world, those of the white Democratic primary voters who supported the former attorney general, or the blacks who joined the rout for Bond?
For some forty years, I have had conservative Republicans sidle up to me and say
"This time, we're going to get the black vote."
Back in the early 1960's, the argument for this brilliant strategy of getting the black vote always came back to the Eisenhower victories of 1952 and 1956. In those elections, Eisenhower got forty percent of the black vote, even though he was a Republican running against the liberal Democrat, Adlai Stevenson.
The catch was that the black vote came along for the ride. Eisenhower was getting a crushing majority of everybody else's vote, and he would have had a landslide with no black votes.
If a Republican gets a big black vote, it is because he has already gotten an even bigger proportion of everybody else's votes.
No Republican ever WINS with the black vote.