By Bankole Thompson
Some Republican leaders in Oakland County and around the country are still expressing shock at what happened on Election Day. Apparently some of them have been living in another planet or their shock is a blatant revelation of how out of touch some of these leaders have been.
Even Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan expressed shock at the turn out of the urban vote: blacks and other voters who came out in droves to support President Obama. The GOP leadership which has hardly made any effort to reach out to minority groups now wants to pretend they didn’t know what was taking place in the demographic roadmap of the country.
But here is the issue: in 2012 the GOP must lay to rest the tradition of an all-white-male ticket whether in national or local politics. The GOP ticket (whether they like it or not) has to reflect the growing commmunities that their ticket seeks to serve. You can’t purport to represent Oakland County (Michigan) which is increasingly becoming diverse almost every year with diverse groups and run an all white male ticket as the Michigan Republican Party did this year.
An all-white-male ticket does not speak to a multicultural America and it certainly doesn’t represent the changing demographics reflected boldly in the last 2010 Census report.
The GOP leadership on the national level can no longer be deaf to this new reality if they want the party to continue to exist. One of the party’s biggest mistakes was to run an all-white-male ticket (Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan) in a nation where women and people of color are gradually becoming the pillars of a new emerging democracy. By running an all white male ticket in the last presidential election the GOP was sending the message that there’s no room for women or people of color on their top tickets.
America is changing rapidly. The GOP now must seize on this new change with a new attitude toward the politics of minorities and women or face gradual demise. To have the audacity to run an all white male ticket and then complain about losing to minority and women voters is lunacy.
This is no rocket science for the GOP to solve. Open up the party to people of all stripes and backgrounds if it truly seeks to be a democratic institution.
But it will take guts for some in the GOP to rest on those who still hold old and mundane views about where the GOP should be. It will take the courage of moderate Republicans like Paul Welday to continue to push their party to this new reality and make the party adapt to these changes.
It will require the courage of rising Oakland County moderate GOP voices like Lena Koretzky to tell their party that women should no longer be sitting at the back the bus but rather should be front and center of decision making. In this current dispensation, you can’t relegate women to a certain level in the party when the Democratic Party had their female boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz head of the Democratic National Committee running the show on the other side of the isle. That’s the difference it makes when a party stands for inclusion.
Change is the only thing that is permanent and the GOP can choose to be in the change column or seek to be stagnant and not grow. We are witnessing the battle for the soul of the Republican Party.
It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” And the real facts are that there is rising multicultural majority that the GOP cannot afford to ignore including women, young people, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Arab Americans, Native Americans and other groups all of whose interested should be a top priority for a party that is seeking to represent the UNITED STATES.
If the GOP like Lincoln is a firm believer in the people that when given the truth they will make conscious decisions then there shouldn’t be any issue for the GOP leadership in Oakland County and the nation to open its doors to the people.
Bankole Thompson author of “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” is a distinguished journalist and presidential author. Since 2008 he has been a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening program on New York’s WLIB-1190AM. You can tune in every Sunday to hear his take on the Obama administration from 9-10:30pm and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut. You can listen to him every Thursday morning on WDET-101.9FM (Detroit NPR Affiliate). Thompson is the editor of the Michigan Chronicle. No part of this blog must be republished without the appropriate designation or expressed permisison of the author http://www.bankolethompson.com