Conservatives Roll Back the Clock on Civil Rights Enforcement
A recent Supreme Court ruling which upheld the unreasonable and unrealistic application of time limits on those who believe they are the victim of pay discrimination is another in a growing list of occurrences which demonstrate, clearly and convincingly, that the clock is being rolled back on civil rights enforcement in America. It’s the Reagan era all over again. Court rulings and the Bush administration’s abdication of support for those who have been wronged has literally made it easier to discriminate against individuals based on race and gender. This is an unfortunate result of conservative deregulation of civil rights enforcement that, if left unchecked, will adversely impact minorities and women for decades. The conservative juggernaut that has demonized discussions of legitimate concern regarding civil rights as simply seeking “political correctness” or “playing the race card” has gone on long enough and those who know better must speak up in defense of what is right.
The Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. seems absurd on its face. Lilly Ledbetter, who worked at Goodyear for 19 years, alleged that she received less pay than male counterparts for the same work because of gender discrimination. At the time of the discrimination complaint, Ledbetter was making $6,000 less per year than the lowest paid man doing the same job. She was awarded $360,000 (down from the $3.6 million original jury award) in damages but the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding that the district court should have granted Goodyear's motion for judgment because the statute required Ledbetter to file her complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within six months of the alleged illegal employment practice (Ledbetter argued that each paycheck constituted a new discriminatory act). The Supreme Court upheld the circuit court ruling in a ruling which held that each paycheck that showed a gender-based disparity must have been contested within the 180-day EEOC timeframe.
Congress established the time limit in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The limit now seems arbitrary and penalizes anyone who finds out after that period that they are being wronged. The Supreme Court has made the burden even more difficult by now putting victims of discrimination in the position of being protected only if they happen to find out about the discrimination within the first six months of their employment. How likely is it that a discriminatory practice would be revealed so quickly? While a time limit is a reasonable requirement, a short one such as this does not give a fair chance to those seeking court redress. This is even more notable when one considers the enormous and growing backlog of cases before the EEOC. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg noted in the dissenting opinion, “The Court’s insistence on immediate contest overlooks common characteristics of pay discrimination.” Ginsberg noted that pay discrimination often occurs in small increments that may take a long period of time to be revealed. As pay information is often secret, it is even more difficult for someone being victimized by wage discrimination to learn of such discrepancies.
And as the Supreme Court continues to erode civil rights protections, the Bush administration is making things worse. It was recently revealed that the Justice Department has an abysmal record when it comes to hiring Black attorneys and conducting civil rights cases. Since 2003, the criminal section within the Civil Rights Division (CRD) has not hired a single African American attorney to replace those who have left and it’s not like the CRD was a hotbed for Black attorneys. In 2007, there are fifty attorneys in the Criminal Section, just two of whom are African American. By comparison, the section had two African American attorneys in 1978, despite the fact that it was half the size of the current organization.
Justice commissioned KPMG Consulting and Taylor Cox and to examine diversity among attorneys throughout the department. The report, which was initially kept from Congress and the public, was heavily redacted when it was released. It was ultimately revealed that women and minority attorneys in the department feel that their careers are hindered and they are passed up in favor of White men when it comes to getting the best assignments. This, combined with six senior CRD officials being forced from their jobs for what appears to be political reasons, has undermined the work of the Justice Department.
The personnel decisions in the CRD are but part of the problem. Prosecutions are down as well. On the one hand, one may argue a decline in prosecutions can reflect a reduction in discrimination and, therefore, be a sign of progress. Those who reject that argument, of which I am one, would counter that it could mean that Justice is more accommodating to those who engage in illegal discrimination. Be that as it may, the statistics are more than worrisome. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Justice Department has only tried 35 Title VII employment discrimination cases since 2001, compared to 92 cases brought during the Clinton administration. The Housing and Civil Enforcement section's cases dropped from 53 in 2001 to 31 in 2006, with a 60% decline in the number of race-related cases.
Sadly, this is in keeping with the history of conservative civil rights enforcement. As professor Hanes Walton demonstrated 20 years ago in his book When the Marching Stopped: The Politics of Civil Rights Regulatory Agencies, conservatives have long resisted fair civil rights enforcement. Conservative arguments often revolve around the notion that federal civil rights enforcement too often results in reverse discrimination and harms Whites. These efforts took on new resonance with Ronald Reagan’s election to the presidency in 1980. He talked openly of remaking the civil rights status quo.
But as I note in my book Republicans and the Black Vote, Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and vehemently opposed Reagan’s efforts and served as a backstop against Reagan and the Republican majority in the Senate, many of whom were elected along with Reagan on a conservative policy platform and were sure to support the president’s proposed changes in this regard. Overtly seeking to overturn these measures would continue to paint Reagan as a racist, and continued a controversy that had the potential to bog down other areas of his domestic agenda, such as tax cuts. Reagan needed a more covert approach to get closer to his policy goals. The Reagan solution was to defund the parts of the federal apparatus responsible for enforcing and contributing to the enforcement of civil rights laws, thereby lessening their ability to examine and enforce federal civil rights issues.
The dismantling of Federal civil rights enforcement under Reagan took two forms occurring concomitantly. First, was the freezing or reducing of funding for agencies charged with enforcement of federal civil rights laws and regulations. Rather than overtly end these programs and agencies, the Reagan administration sought to starve them to prevent them from doing their work. In this way, they could largely achieve their goal of civil rights deregulation without seeking the abolition of the programs and agencies, thereby providing some political cover. Second, was the hiring of individuals to lead these organizations, or take high-ranking positions therein, who were ideologically pre-disposed to not enforce federal civil rights laws and regulations as aggressively as their predecessors. These actions deregulated federal civil rights enforcement and created an environment in which civil rights violations could occur with near impunity and certainly with much less fear of federal reprisals than before.
In some departments, enforcement either shifted in new ways, was reduced, or discontinued. One congressional investigation concluded that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shifted away from class action lawsuits, elevated the standard of proof to establish reasonable cause, orally directed staff not to recommend the use of goals and time tables and not to intervene in cases in which goals and timetables were proposed as a remedy for discrimination, and accelerated closure of cases at the expense of quality of investigations. The Justice Department filed no cases under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 during its first year under Reagan; they filed two in 1982. Under presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter, the department averaged thirty-two cases a year.
This background demonstrates that the Bush administration’s civil rights enforcement efforts are part of a long lineage of conservative policies in this area. It is clear and incontrovertible that conservative civil rights enforcement will always work against those most likely to be victimized by discrimination, be it in the workplace, in housing, or education. For conservatives, the real victims are not those who are discriminated against but, rather, those who are have to operate within the confines of civil rights law and are trapped into frivolous litigation. Conservatives who argue otherwise are either ignorant of history or willfully twisting the truth to support their point.
The conservative-led deregulation of civil rights enforcement has created a fairness void in America that flies in the face of attempts by the Republican Party to reach out to minorities. Republican political activists are quick to note the appointments of Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice to significant and unprecedented positions in the Bush administration as evidence that the GOP is doing the right thing on civil rights. While notable, these appointments do nothing to overcome the reality that this administration, like so many conservative governments of previous years, has deregulated civil rights enforcement to such a degree that basic, common-sense civil rights for all is in jeopardy.
Michael K. Fauntroy is an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of the recently published book Republicans and the Black Vote.
Winners, Losers, and Other Debate Observations
Ninety minutes isn’t much time to discuss the issues that are important to the nation. Seventy-five minutes is even less, which is what we got after the Tavis Smiley Show, the 15 minutes at the start of the broadcast that allowed him to pay tribute to Howard University, Tom Joyner, and, of course, himself. Candidate events such as these almost always fail to live up to expectations. There are canned answers, flubbed lines, and other annoyingly condescending comments made by candidates. However, these events are (marginally) important and here are my winners and losers.
Former Senator John Edwards, yet again, has demonstrated he grasps the issues as well or better than anyone in the race. He was particularly impressive in responding to a question on HIV/AIDS. He called for increased federal funding for a cure for HIV/AIDS and provide Medicare coverage for testing and treatment. He would appoint a redevelopment czar for New Orleans. It’s too bad the punditocracy is trying to make this a two-person race.
Every day that Hilary Clinton walks off the stage without a major flub is a good thing. She didn’t hurt herself and she helped herself when she noted that if HIV/AIDS were hitting White women aged 18-25 the way it is hitting Black America, then there would be hell to pay. That was an inconvenient truth that too many people want to overlook.
Joe Biden showed his willingness to be candid on issues. His comment on the need for community leadership to confront the men in the community about the need to wear condoms and the need for women to know that they can say no in response to a question on HIV/AIDS drew gasps in the room. Some will, no doubt, see his comment as condescending and I can see why (there’s nothing like a White Senator telling Black folk what to do), but he’s right and people need to be real about this issue. Too many Black men are being sexually irresponsible.
New Mexico Governor Richardson should get out now. He is surprisingly unprepared for these forums and seems stilted and stiff. It’s as if he is not studying for the forums. Much to my chagrin, he is not ready for prime time. His answer to the question on outsourcing, which included the idiotic "What will it take to keep you here?" in reference to corporations, strikes me as supportive of corporate tax breaks that hurt workers.
Former Senator Mike Gravel. He doesn’t have a chance of winning this nomination, so he’s free to speak truth to power. His taking note of the abhorrent rise in incarceration rates in American over the last 35 years was certainly an eye opener. Hopefully, it will get some to think about better ways to mete out justice. Our current system is a failure, captured by "tough on crime" conservatives who couldn’t care less about just and prefer to incarcerate as many people who might vote Democratic as possible. Gravel also drew applause for his comment that neither party has done much on opportunity issues. Ending the national income tax is an interesting thought, though his solution is unduly regressive. His comment that most of the other candidates don’t have the moral judgment to be president may have been the zinger of the night.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Thursday, June 28, 2007
June 28 Debate
Black Media Well Represented at Debate
It's rare to have a presidential candidate forum on the campus of an historically Black college or university. My alma mater, Howard University, is hosting today's forum and I'm pleased to be among the accredited media covering the event. One impression so far is how well represented Black media are among those covering the event. Radio One, Syndication One, The Final Call, the Afro-American Newspapers, Progressive Black Journalists, and Black Agenda Report are among the Black-oriented organizations here (even Homes of Color magazine was in the house!). Add Pacifica to the mix, and one can expect that any Black person in the country that wants a Black perspective on what happens this evening will have an abundance of choices.
There is important news today that may come up in the forum. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that school desegregation plans used by systems in Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky, which categorize students on the basis of race and use that in making school assignments, violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, even though the goal is school desegregation. It'll be interesting to see how the candidates work the ruling into their responses.
More later . . .
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Thursday, June 28, 2007
June 28 Debate
Expectations for Thursday’s Debate
I've been asked by more than a few people about what to expect in Thursday's Democratic presidential debate. I expect a few things. First, I expect there to be a number of people in the D.C.-based mainstream media and the punditocracy to get lost on their way to Howard University. Let's just say that my alma mater is in a part of town that is outside of their Capitol Hill--White House--Georgetown "Axis of Evil." Most of the people covering the debate never make it to outside of official Washington, so I'm happy they will be out of their comfort zones.
Second, I expect Tavis Smiley (disclosure: Smiley and I are FRATERNITY brothers, so I am a bit partial to him), along with Michel Martin, Ruben Navarrette, Jr., and DeWayne Wickham to ask tough questions that wouldn't occur to Blitzer or Matthews and people of their ilk. While some topics will be predictable -- e.g. Iraq, immigration, Katrina, healthcare, education, Africa -- I think other important areas will be probed as well. Look for questions about incarceration policy, single-parent households, urban housing, and, perhaps, Haiti, to come up as well. Don't forget that the most penetrating question of the 2004 debate may well have been Gwen Ifill's query of Vice President Cheney with regard to women and HIV. All of these questioners are capable of similarly probing questions.
Third, I expect Barack Obama to be treated like a conquering hero. The audience response to him may turn the debate into a circus. While I am not yet sold on Obama, his appeal is legitimate and undeniable, as is Black America's desire to have someone Black in the White House. It won't be a pep rally, but it will be an obviously pro-Obama crowd. And, though the semester ended a month ago, there are a number of students who got tickets and I'm sure they aren't there to cheer on Mike Gravel.
Fourth, look for John Edwards to stand out. His "two America's" theme resonates with Black America. If Obama weren't in the race, then he might be the front runner. It's unfortunate that he's getting crowded out at this point because, truth be told, he may well be pushing the best collection of policy initiatives.
Lastly, I expect all of the candidates to play up the fact that they are on the campus of an historically Black university; Howard means a lot to many in Black America. Look for all of the candidates to pay homage to Blacks in one way or another. Some may even mention that they visited the campus before and that the feel "home" at Howard (I'll keep the barf bag nearby just in case). Some are more comfortable around minorities than others, so it will be interesting to me to see how staged each of them seem.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Wednesday, June 27, 2007
June 28 Debate
Shhh! They’re Letting Me into Thursday’s Presidential Debate
Thanks to the Media Bloggers Association, I'll be among the 20 bloggers it has arranged to receive press credentials to cover the PBS Presidential Debate being held this Thursday at my alma mater, Howard University. I'll be trading elbows with reporters from around the country for prime space to ask the candidates (and their flacks) questions about how the debate went. I'll put up a few posts from the debate and give my take on how it all played out. I'll be sure to give you the inside poop.
Until next time . . .
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Monday, June 25, 2007
June 28 Debate
Bob: You are Ignorant and Narrowminded
Quite a bit of things have been written about me and my columns, books, and media commentary over the years. In every previous instance, I have just let it roll off my back (It’s really no big deal to me and I’ve been called far worse than a "race hustling poverty pimp"). Bob, you have encouraged me to change my ways.
You are ignorant on more than a few points with regard to my post on TaylorMarsh.com. First, my name is Michael Fauntroy, a professional scholar. I am not a Reverend (I curse and drink too much!). You have confused me with my uncle, Walter, a man who has dedicated his life to improving the general condition of the poor around the world, without regard to color and without personal enrichment. He was famous for his civil rights work before I was born and has probably done more good for the country and world in the last five minutes than you have in your lifetime (check your civil rights history; Free South Africa Movement; D.C. Home Rule; CBC Constructive Alternative Budget, Darfur, etc.). There are many things that can be confused in the course of responding to a blog post. However, at a minimum you should be able to correctly identify the people involved. Credibility begins with getting the basic facts right. You have failed a fundamental test.
One of the reasons why we have such a discordant political climate is the notion, advanced by people such as yourself, that somehow just discussing the role of race in America is "stirring the pot" or, worse, "playing the race card." I believe that what we need is more, not less, intelligent, informed discussions of race in America. You don’t’ agree, which is certainly your right. It’s easy to throw bombs when you don’t have an argument. You exemplify that better than anyone I’ve come across in recent years.
Just so you know, I believe that people who commit crimes should, if the judge decides it’s best, be incarcerated. To read my post and suggest otherwise is to perpetuate a lie. My solution is to let American citizens vote, regardless of their status with the criminal justice system. Americans who run afoul of the law aren’t stripped of their citizenship, so why should they be stripped of their vote?
Book sales? Don’t worry about me. The publisher has already gone into it’s second printing. They have told me that it is the fastest selling book they’ve ever published. I’m proud of the response, particularly given the limited publicity the book has received. To take a snapshot of where the book ranks (on one of the numerous places where someone can buy a book) and offer that as a motive for my writing is to purposefully mislead. Do you feel good about that?
I’m willing to send you a book, free of charge, to help you understand the history of conservatives and Black voters in America (send your address to Taylor, who will forward it to me). I’ll do it under one condition: that you actually read it. Otherwise, you are no better than the legions of blatherers who cast aspersions or impugn the integrity of others without any connection to facts. After all, how would you know that my book is garbage if you haven’t read it? If, after reading the book, you believe that I’ve purposely cooked the facts, then I encourage you to write a book to correct the record. In the two-and-a-half years, thousands of pages of reading, and dozens of first-person interviews, that I put into this book, I’m sure it will stand up to intelligent scrutiny.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Tuesday, June 19, 2007
TomPaine.com: Bush Shafts Enron Victims
Here is an interesting story from TomPaine.com that tells the all too unfortunate story of how Enron's victims are still getting the short end of the stick. Here's the lead: "Wall Street’s investment banks just got another one step closer to making defrauding investors an accepted line of business. And Enron’s employees who lost their pensions and the small investors who got fleeced in the Enron frauds just got shafted again—this time at the urging of President George W. Bush."
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Fox News Traffics in Racial Stereotypes—Again!
I'm no fan of Fox News Channel. There are just too many instances in which it traffics in racial stereotyping and symbolism to the detriment of minorities, particularly African Americans (You may recall that during the 2006 Millions More Movement rally in Washington, D.C., Fox chose to devote most of that afternoon's coverage to a gang fight in Ohio rather than give significant time to one of the largest and most peaceful mass events in the history of the country.) Well, here's yet another example of the willful use of racial symbolism likely to be explained away as a simple mistake.
As you may know, Louisiana Representative William Jefferson was indicted yesterday and charged with a range of abuses of office -- bribery, racketeering, etc. (Disclosure: I wrote a column last year calling for Jefferson to resign after $90,000 was found in his freezer; honest people don't put that kind of cash in their iceboxes. I also wrote a column criticizing the Congressional Black Caucus for it's blind loyalty to Jefferson). Jefferson, an African American Democrat, was somehow confused with Michigan Representative John Conyers, an African American and chairman of the powerful Judiciary committee, during Fox's story announcing the Jefferson indictment. This may seem benign on the surface, but a closer look will show otherwise. Conyers has been a target for Fox for some time now. He was featured throughout the runup to the 2006 election as a way to scare voters into voting for Republicans to prevent Conyers from chairing the Judiciary committee. They know who Conyers and Jefferson are and I don't believe they have their "B" team running the control room during the middle of the afternoon. There is no reason to believe that this was anything other than purposeful.
Props to TPM Media for pointing out the "gaffe." See for yourself
Michael K. Fauntroy is an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of the Recently published book Republicans and the Black Vote.
June 5, 2007
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Monday, June 18, 2007
Race and American Culture
What’s Next, Al?
Only one question remains now that the other shoe has dropped and CBS Radio has followed MSNBC’s lead and cut its ties with Don Imus: Now What? Will this story begin to die a long, slow death that results in no meaningful change and is simply about the actions of one person? Or will it be the spark that lights an intelligent discussion on the tenuous balance between freedom of speech, striking a blow against racism and sexism, and responsible use of public airwaves? While my heart hopes that we are at the dawn of a new era of American societal discourse, my cynicism cautions me to not hold my breath.
The heat is now on those who called for, and received, Imus’s head to take their scalp and do something responsible. Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have taken their customary place at the front of the publicity line, but they now run the risk of being the greatest of hypocrites of all time if they don’t continue this budding movement to decontaminate the airwaves by moving on to the "artists" and companies who produce the vile lyrics and other forms of "entertainment" that do far more damage to Black communities than Imus ever did. Imus’s crass racism, practiced in scattershot fashion over the years, is no match for the visual and lyrically imagery presented to America by far too many "artists" whose only skill is identifying the lowest common denominator and playing to it for all its worth. They, and the music and movie companies that make millions on this commerce, must be compelled – by any means necessary – to end their trafficking in cultural debasement for the sake of the almighty dollar. Otherwise, all this fuss about Imus will be little more than a gratuitous career hit on one racist.
Of course, there is the all too inconvenient truth that millions of people, without regard to race, revel in this kind of stuff. Many African Americans defend the debasement of women, for example, on capitalist, free speech grounds. This is Sharpton’s moment to stand up and speak truth to forces throughout the country who feed this beast. Unfortunately, there is only limited evidence that he has the courage to do so.
It’s easy to criticize Sharpton. As a former FBI informant who supplemented his income by snitching on Blacks, perpetrated the Tawana Brawley scandal, and established himself as a preeminent self-promoter, Sharpton is a ball of contradictions. On the one hand, he is an eloquent spokesman for the disenfranchised. On the other, he is a man of brazen ambition and deceit who won’t let facts or good taste get in his way. The enormous self-importance with which he carries himself is unjustified and exemplifies much of what is wrong with Black leadership. Leadership should be about more than speaking loudly and forcefully. That said, he deserves credit for ensuring that Imus was held accountable for his actions. It is doubtful that MSNBC or CBS Radio would have taken the steps they did were it not for Sharpton and his jihad against Imus.
Now that Sharpton et. al. have reached their goal and have a trophy to hang up on a wall, let’s hope that this is just the beginning of a new movement to increase our societal dignity.
© Michael K. Fauntroy, April 12, 2007
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Sunday, June 17, 2007
Race and American Culture
I Need You to Do Me A Solid
As you know, I've written the recently released book, Republicans and the Black Vote. I'm happy with the response I received so far but, being the greedy person that I am, I want more attention for the book. If you have read it, then please write a review for it on your favorite online bookstore website, such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble. That would be "a solid."
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Saturday, June 16, 2007
Giuliani and Romney Stiff-Arm Urban League
And they want to be President. The recent report that Republican presidential candidates Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney have declined invitations to speak at the annual convention of the National Urban League represents yet another brick in the wall that exists between the Grand Old Party (GOP) and African Americans. It is also evidence that Republican candidates can not seem to get out of their own when it comes to Black outreach. If Giuliani and Romney are representative of Republican thinking, then they just don’t get it and they will pay a price in the general election. You cannot contend, on the one hand, that you want votes from a particular segment of the electorate while, on the other hand, stiff-arming important, substantial organizations that represent those same voters.
The two major GOP candidates have claimed that their schedules will not permit their attendance at the convention. Aside from being an unfortunate political decision, the problem with that explanation is that the invitations were extended in November of 2006, long before either candidate likely filled their July schedules. One can only conclude, then, that Giuliani and Romney had other reasons for skipping the convention. Whatever the reasons, they have blown an opportunity to engage in the kind of symbolic outreach that can reap serious benefits.
Clearly, Giuliani and Romney do not view this event as something they need to win their party’s nomination. There is no rocket science in that political calculation – Republicans have serious problems in Black America and do not appear to be close to repairing them. However, this view is short-sighted. Both of these candidates, as party nominee’s, will need Black votes to make up for what they will lose from Christian conservative voters. Consequently, the Urban League convention is a good opportunity for both Giuliani and Romney to reach out to an organization and its politically engaged constituents. Given their problems in Black America – Giuliani’s stint as New York mayor inflamed Black New Yorkers and Romney’s religion has an unfortunate history of anti-Blackness – they both should be able to see the value in addressing the Urban League.
The Urban League is about as mainstream as you can get in Black America. It is led by former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial – hardly a paragon of anarchy and chaos. President Bush addressed the organization as he was boycotting the NAACP. In other words, the Urban League is not some far-leftist organization preaching hate and hell-bent on destroying America. Indeed, the Urban League has its share of conservatives. So if you can’t address the Urban League, a safe outlet for Black outreach, then you can’t address Black America.
Let’s hope that Giuliani and Romney will come to see the mistake in their decisions and find a way to make the convention. The political costs for not addressing the convention are higher than any benefits they will accrue from skipping the conference. It’s unfortunate that their political tin-ears have led them to make a stupid political decision that will only harm them in Black America.
Michael K. Fauntroy is an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of the recently released book "Republicans and the Black Vote."
© Michael K. Fauntroy, Ph.D., March 31, 2007
C-SPAN2 Book Talk (Republicans and the Black Votes) Video on YouTube
Video of a book talk I did in February at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of Progressive Majority that originally aired on C-SPAN2 has been put up on YouTube (hat tip to Starbuckwylde). I hope you have some time to check it out. Feel free to pass it on to someone you think would be interested in the topic.
Lynne Rienner Publishers
Contact: Joia Jefferson Nuri
New Book Release
Republicans and The Black Vote
Michael Fauntroy, PhD
Political Commentator and Assistant Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University
"Republicans have to decide what kind of party they want to be going forward. The assimilation of Hispanics into the Democratic Party has been accelerated by Republicans actually pushing Hispanics out through immigration (reform). That coupled with African American support that is nearly on the floor means the Republican Party is in serious jeopardy. I don’t think we have talked enough about how bad the Republican Party stands with these various aspects of the American electorate and if it is not fixed soon Republicans even could end up going the way to the Whigs because there will be no one to support them." --Michael Fauntroy, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006
The race for the White House in 2008 has begun and the Republican Party is at a critical crossroad. With the loss of the House and Senate in 2006 the Party is facing challenges to its policies abroad and domestically. One Hundred years ago the party of Lincoln commanded the support of freed slaves in their quest to become full American citizens. What happened? How did the party the freed the African Americans from slavery become a party that garners less than 10% of the Black vote today? How will the Republicans ever hope to maintain the White House and regain Congress without the Black and Hispanic vote?
Professor and political analyst Michael Fauntroy has written Republicans and the Black Vote, a historical work that explains the history of GOP and the Black voter and gives a prognosis for today’s political landscape. From Abraham Lincoln to Newt Gingrich, Fauntroy meticulously navigates the policy choices and political strategies that have driven a wedge between the GOP and its formerly stalwart constituents. But he also argues that the time may be ripe for Black voters to bridge the ideological divide to their advantage. In this age of close elections, African Americans are well-positioned to extract policy concessions that were previously unthinkable.
An assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University, Michael Fauntroy is an NPR contributor and weekly analyst on "The Cliff Kelley Show" on WVON-AM in Chicago. He is also frequent guest on ABC News, MSNBC, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Radio One, the BBC, and Pacifica Radio.
Republicans and the Black Vote is published by Lynne Rienner Publishers, celebrating 23 years of independent publishing and known for bringing high-quality, cutting-edge books in politics and the social sciences to the general market.
To obtain review copies of the book and the schedule interviews, contact Joia Jefferson Nuri, firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-603-7905
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Monday, June 04, 2007
Race and American Politics
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