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How Much Worse Can It Get?

Republicans can’t afford to write off African-American voters.

Mar 31, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 28 • By JAY COST
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Both political parties have long taken African Americans for granted. Democrats know they have the black vote in the bag, so they have little electoral incentive to expend political capital on the black community. Republicans, having found ways to win in the postwar era with as little as 10 percent of the black vote, offer rhetorical support for conservative initiatives like school choice or faith-based charities, but spend their energies elsewhere. 

Obama’s back-to-back electoral victories may have scrambled that long-standing calculus. The GOP, which may no longer be able to rely on its modest share of the black vote, had better start behaving as if the worst-case scenario will come true. The party needs to craft a bold reform agenda for the black community, one that meets the community’s needs as African Americans define them. The party also needs to signal that it is committed to enacting that agenda if elected. Otherwise, the “emerging Democratic majority” that the left has dreamed of for over a quarter-century may yet come true.

Jay Cost is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

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