By DEXTER DUGGAN
The cynical national Republican establishment helped boost its candidate to a narrow victory in Mississippi’s U.S. Senate GOP runoff by campaigning, in part, with a pitch to black Democrats that the other guy in the contest, a Tea Party conservative, wanted to prevent blacks from voting.
The establishment’s “moderate” Thad Cochran snatched a victory in the June 24 runoff election over challenger Chris McDaniel after Tea Partier McDaniel impressively won the June 3 primary but lacked the necessary margin to avoid the runoff.
The June 3 result was impressive because McDaniel successfully had taken on Cochran, a powerful, porkmeister, longtime Senate incumbent whom the establishment was desperate to keep in his Washington job.
The black Democrats, who could vote crossover, were credited in some post-election analyses with having propelled Cochran to the June 24 win even though the majority of Republicans voting chose McDaniel.
Cochran’s backers had been desperate, and desperate campaigns do what they think works best.
Campaigns shouldn’t, just for example, claim that if you want to stop permissive abortion, you should vote for the candidate endorsed by Planned Parenthood. They shouldn’t, for instance, claim that if you oppose “same-sex marriage,” you should vote for the candidate endorsed by homosexual activists. Those claims would be blatantly contradictory.
But Cochran’s strategists used the equally false pitch to black Democrats that the Tea Party wanted to prevent them from voting, and McDaniel was a Tea Partier. The mud stuck here, no matter how untrue.
There were other factors, to be sure. Conservative black activist and columnist Star Parker wrote in a post-election analysis that McDaniel failed to take advantage of appealing to blacks’ conservative values during the runoff.
There’s “a news flash for McDaniel,” Parker wrote, “…that not all blacks are liberals. In Mississippi’s huge black population are many conservative black pastors who want freedom for their flocks. They know that black poverty is not about government money. . . .
“But the McDaniel campaign seemed clueless that there were potential allies in Mississippi’s huge black population to counter Cochran’s liberal assault,” Parker continued. “It is pathetic that some commentators are actually writing that Cochran’s government-plantation appeal to blacks shows how Republicans can reach this community.”
Purely by coincidence, black Tea Party activist KCarl Smith of Alabama already had a book on the market, published three years ago, telling of his political emancipation and addressing how to reach out to blacks and get past the stereotypes against “racist conservatives.”
Obviously, the book mentions nothing about this Mississippi race or Cochran or McDaniel. It does, however, provide background on negative assumptions that can inhibit what should be natural black-conservative harmony.
The book, Frederick Douglass Republicans: The Movement to Reignite America’s Passion for Liberty (AuthorHouse, 2011, 102 pages, $20 softcover), can be purchased at the online store of frederickdouglassrepublican.com. It was written along with Dr. Karnie C. Smith Sr.
KCarl Smith reminds readers that esteemed 19th-century emancipation leader and ex-slave Douglass was a strong Republican, as were many blacks for decade after decade. They knew clearly that the Democrats were the party long identified with forcing slavery and racial discrimination on human beings, while the Republicans were founded as, and continued to be, the party of civil rights.
However, beginning in the 1960s, numerous blacks began to see the Democratic Party as their home, looking on that decade’s assassinated John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy as their own family members — even though the social-liberal movements beginning to develop within the Democrats then cared nothing about blacks’ moral values.
Blacks’ votes were welcomed to underpin the Democrats, even as the Democrats’ post-JFK and post-RFK leadership went its own merry way toward permissive abortion, sexual disorientation, and emergent socialism.
Meanwhile, Smith writes, blacks recalled that “conservative” Democrats long had fought against civil rights, so the word “conservative” was poisoned. To call oneself a Christian conservative or Republican conservative sounded the same to them as saying a racist.
“I do not use the word conservative to describe myself politically,” Smith writes. “I am a Frederick Douglass Republican.” To cite this powerful figure from blacks’ emancipation history means “you just stepped into their world,” yet you identify with Republicans — the party of Douglass, who advised five U.S. GOP presidents.
“The ‘I am a Fredrick Douglass Republican’ statement is more effective because it takes the issue of race off the table, and the opportunity for political dialogue ensues.”
Traditional conservative values, Smith writes, are consistent with Douglass’ four “life-empowering values” which in turn “make the plight of the poor a legislative priority”: respect for the Constitution, respect for life, belief in limited government, and belief in personal responsibility.
Frederick Douglass Republicans are committed “to help today’s Republican Party recapture its political distinction,” Smith writes, going on to describe vividly how he became convinced he had to leave his traditional home with the Democrats.
Increasingly troubled in conscience because of what the Democratic Party grew to stand for, Smith asked, “How can a Christian have unquestionable loyalty to a political party that campaigns on an anti-Christian platform?”
Realizing that none of the emotional or sentimental reasons he had for being a Democrat was valid, and that Douglass’ life-empowering values provided the answer, Smith set his heart, mind, and soul at peace by becoming a Douglass Republican.
Still, values take precedence over party. “I could care less about a party’s name. For me, values and principles are more important than party affiliation,” Smith writes, citing a Reconstruction Era black Republican congressman’s words: “I am the slave of [Christian] principles; I call no [political] party my master.”
When “a staunch liberal Democrat” confronted him at their church door about being a Republican, Smith writes that he proceeded to question the Democrat about his values. This produced the revelation that the Democrat, too, actually was a Frederick Douglas Republican. “Smith, you got a point there. I never thought about it like that.”
“Success Is Not A Secret”
To read about the reality of Douglass’ life is to see the importance of human dignity, and the assaults against it. The cruelty of slavery left various scars, from personal honor to physical threat.
Douglass saw the indignity of having one’s rewards confiscated when a slave master allowed him to keep for himself a tiny fraction of what he earned. Master Hugh “would…when I made him $6, sometimes give me six cents, to encourage me. It had the opposite effect.”
When he was being whipped viciously, Douglass later wrote, “life was all I cared for. ‘Spare my life’ was my continual prayer.”
Although some urged that the solution for blacks was to go back to Africa for a better life, Douglass was convinced that despite the deep changes required to transform a slaveholding America, blacks needed to remain here, their native land.
The same could be said of the massive waves of illegal immigrants sneaking into the U.S. today. Although legal immigration long has been accepted in the U.S., millions of the unauthorized aliens must stay at home to reform their own nations; they certainly have the numbers to do it, and can’t be allowed to have the excuse that the U.S. government is obligated to provide them what their own slave masters won’t.
Their slave masters need to be taught lessons in humanity, as Douglass’ were.
“Success is not a secret; it’s a system,” Smith writes.
A Valuable Tool
Concluding this handbook for activism, Smith invites readers to clarify their political values by reflecting on what’s important to them, using serious thought, prayer, and honesty.
He suggests these issues: Keeping taxes low, halting illegal immigration, defending traditional marriage, giving parents the power to choose the schools their children attend, protecting unborn children, and fighting international terrorism.
Time and again in current discourse, one hears that blacks favor traditional values — their opposition to the elite’s embrace of “same-sex marriage” is a timely example — but “progressive” Democrats never seem to think they’ll pay a damaging political price for ramming through their agenda.
The black vote always will be there for them anyway, they figure. And the dominant liberal media do all they can to enforce the belief, among blacks and anyone else, that black survival depends on enhancing liberal Democrats’ power.
Were this propaganda deception to crumble, the national Democratic Party would follow the 19th-century slave system into extinction.
Frederick Douglass Republicans could be a valuable tool to help bring an end to the national Democrats’ deep damage to people and society.