If you watched the Republican National Convention last week you might have come away thinking the GOP was a pretty damn diverse party. Judging by the prime-time speakers you’d think women, Hispanics and African Americans made up the bulk of the delegates at the convention and the bulk of local Republican leaders and rising stars.
To see the truth, you only needed to look at the crowd shots.
According to the Plain Dealer, Ohio Republicans sent exactly one African American, Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo, to Tampa. Compare this to the Democrats who have made a concerted effort to match the demographics of their delegation with those of the state (and those of the Democratic Party). Democrats are sending 50 African Americans to the convention, along with representative numbers of Hispanics, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans, LGBT and Youth.
The diversity of the people on stage at the Democratic Convention will be mirrored in the audience. Auditor Mingo was speaking to a sea of white.
I’ll leave it to the Republicans to explain why they chose to give a county auditor an important speaking spot along side our Republican (and white) Governor, Senator and Speaker of the House. But make no mistake, this parade of female and minority faces across the stage was no accident.
The latest MBC/WSJ Poll finds President Obama leading Romney by 10 points with women (51/41), 2-to1 with Hispanics and 94% to 0% with African Americans.
And when you compare the highly-staged convention against the 2012 Republican Platform, you’ll get some idea why.
The platform insists we build “double-layered fencing” around the entire US border. It rails against the Obama administration for its “assaults on State governments” – a reference to racist, anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and other states. And yet, in the very next section,Republicans promise to make similar moves against “sanctuary cities” that protect immigrants. They also support making English our nation’s official language.
The Republican Platform also opposes teaching teens about contraception, fails to make any abortion exceptions for rape, incest or even the life of the mother and expresses support of “personhood” for fertilized eggs.
As Governor Kasich would say: it seems like the platform was written by a bunch of wackadoodles.
The Convention, however was nothing more than an elaborate show intended to present the Republican Party as something it’s not: diverse. And while I imagine there were a few people who were fooled – people who tuned in just at prime-time and ignored the shots of the crowd and the crazy old men (some of whom talked to chairs) – it certainly wasn’t enough to matter.
The Republican Party represents old, rich, mostly-male, white people. And a fancy convention, regardless of who is on stage, isn’t going to change that.