Monday, May 02, 2005

The Changing GOP
Conventional wisdom usually says that Bush's 'Faith-based initiatives' were a bow to the radical evangelicals of the party. I always thought they were an attempt to help out social programs that were doing good work. Now there's a new theory: maybe they're helping pull black voters into the Republican Party. Harold Jackson gives his take:

While reviews are mixed on whether Bush's so-called faith-based initiative will ever successfully supplant government-run social welfare programs, it has been a bona fide hit in winning African American support for the Republican president. Was that planned or a coincidence?
African American ministers who had been shy about being linked to the Republican Party no longer felt so constrained after the White House began directing federal dollars to church programs that truly have been the saving grace in many downtrodden inner-city communities. And once they touched a toe to the water, many black preachers decided the baptismal pool was warm enough for full immersion.
Seems plausible to me. If you read the whole thing, you'll see some of the evidence of the gains Bush has made among black voters. I don't know that any linkage between faith-based initiatives and increases in black Republicans can be proven, but it seems logical. Remember, Democratic candidates always make a point of visiting big black churches in urban areas—maybe the Republicans have figured out a way to tap into those same vibrant communities without so visibly entering those churches.


jj said...

Check this link that explains better than I can why this can hurt religion as well as being a Church and State issue Dr. C. Welton Gaddy is a Baptist minister and heads up the Interfaith Alliance

Joe said...

I think the fundamental big issue here is this -- on the whole, African Americans do not tend to be ideologically aligned with the Democratic party. They see their *financial* interests as being with us, but that's about it.

I think the country is moving, as things become more fluid, to a model where you can't predict someone's voting patterns based on the color of their skin. I think it may take 20 years or more from now for that to happen, but it'll be good for everyone when it does.