Michael Steele and the Giant Roach…
While eating dinner I thought to myself “self, I wonder who was the first person to realize that you could eat this?” And I know that I’m not the first person to think just this thought. When you look at sea urchin, oysters or various other foods you have to think to yourself that the only way that someone would have ever thought to try this was to be both desperate and creative. However, being desperate and creative is exactly the circumstance that Michael Steele found himself in after the 2008 election.
If you remember in 2008 Democrats won control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency in an electoral landslide. The Republican party was in desperate shape. So desperate that the party of Strom Thurman, Jesse Helms and “Welfare queens” turned to an African American, Michael Steele, to lead their party. Being in a similarly desperate place, Steele had to get creative. Much like a starving tribe that sent a lone scout to the shore in search of food, the Republicans were in a condition where they felt only one man could save the future of their party. What Steele came back with was nothing less than brilliant but became nothing more than an after-thought. Steele crated a plan to expand the party base. He reached out the moderate and socially conservative African Americans, did not preach the gospel of hatred towards Latinos and Hispanics, he even reached out to young voters in a way that Republicans have not since the Reagan revolution.
But just like the first person to bring something back to their tribe from the coast, the party rejected Steele’s attempts to modernize the party. What we now know to be a lobster they only saw someone bringing a Giant Roach back and trying to convince them to eat it. The Party threw Steele out of leadership after the 2010 mid-term elections and returned to their conservative roots. Gone was the talk of a big tent and in were the cries of “birtherism.” No longer did the Party reach out to Latinos rather they spoke of building fences and self-deportation. A starving party rejected the only food that was available and in 2012 now finds itself starving to death.
The problem for Republicans, Just as Steele realized 4 years ago is that America is running out of old racist white people. America is no longer a melting pot where everyone become a homogeneous gruel, rather America is now a thick Gumbo where all the pieces keep their identity but come together for a common purpose. If the Republican’s has stuck with Steele’s strategy it is very likely that between 2-5% of African Americans in swing districts would have abandoned President Obama simply over the issue of gay marriage. Similarly, Republicans could have built on President Bush’s outreach to Latino voters which netter him 44% in 2004. Republicans could have avoided the Reince Priebus driven discussions on “Forcible rape” and whether a rape baby was “God’s will” and concentrated on the economic issues that united America.
With just a few percentage points change in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. in northern Virginia the Republicans would’ve carried the State. With only a couple percentage points change in the suburbs of Cleveland and Cincinnati Republicans would have carried Ohio. And with only a couple of percentage points change in key districts Republicans would have carried the election. But sometimes you can’t convince cave men to eat a Giant Roach.