As if there weren’t already too many examples demonstrating how badly the Republican Party has fallen short when it comes to outreach to the black community, the city of Chicago provides yet another one. Every week, conservatives put out the latest in Chicago’s homicide statistics. When a black person brings up police brutality, Republicans dismiss their concerns and respond with, “but what about black-on-black crime in Chicago?”
And yet, when it comes to competing for black votes in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., the GOP is typically nowhere to be found. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that during the 2020 election season, 53 candidates for state legislature ran unopposed. Care to guess what all 53 of these individuals have in common?
You guessed it! They’re all Democrats. Every single one of them. I checked. Don’t judge me. Now that I’m in Twitter jail, I don’t have a life outside of writing for you, dear reader.
According to the Sun-Times, “of the state senate’s 59 members, eight are running unopposed on this year’s ballot. In the Illinois House of Representatives, 44 of the 118 seats are in uncontested races. Additionally, one justice in the Illinois Supreme Court, P. Scott Neville, Jr., is running unopposed.”
The majority of those who coasted through 2020 after winning their primaries are black and Latino. This means that their constituents only had two choices as to who would represent them, 1. A Democrat, and 2. Another Democrat.
This is absolutely ridiculous, isn’t it?
To me, this news isn’t a surprise. Awhile ago, I spoke with Devin Jones, the Republican Committeeman for Chicago’s 18th Ward. He has been involved in local politics for years, and according to him, the local GOP is very uninvolved when it comes to outreach to minorities.
Here’s the thing, Jones told me that there are black Republicans in the Chicago area. Some even try to run, but it’s impossible to defeat the Democratic machine that is entrenched in that city without the backing of another major political machine. Jones also told me that many of the city’s residents aren’t put off by the fact that he is both black and a Republican — they don’t curse him out or shut him down.
The black residents of Chicago are more than willing to have a conversation with a conservative of any race. But without a concerted effort, the GOP cannot break through the layer of distrust that exists in the black community towards Republicans. The party would have to make a long-term investment in winning over the city’s voters, especially with black men.
But it can be done. President Trump demonstrated that.
The key is for genuine Republican candidates to start running in these areas with the local GOP’s full backing. They have to be willing to lose at first; as I said previously, it will take a while to rebuild that trust. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the Republican Party that covers Chicago is disinterested in moving the needle. Without leadership that actually wants to earn black votes, the city will be stuck voting for Democrats because Republicans refuse to show up.
Perhaps it would be more productive if more of us were willing to push for solutions in Chicago instead of just bringing up the homicide rates when it’s convenient in a debate with a leftist. If the former Party of Lincoln is going to remain an influential political force in this country, it must start expanding its voter base.
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