By: Stacy M. Swimp
In a recent speech to the Eastside Republicans posted on his Face book page, Oakland County political consultant Paul Welday, who’s running for GOP congressional District Chair at the upcoming Republican State Convention, said Republicans “cannot win without making significant inroads into non-white voting blocs.”
I have been pondering his speech for some time and only now have had a chance to respond, as I have been on the road quite a bit doing educational campaigns in various urban communities.
I must confess that, of all the issues available to us that are debated on today’s political scene — job creation, freedom to work, school choice, national security – what’s the first thing that weighs on Mr. Welday’s mind? What Republicans must do in order to appeal to non-whites?
I am always a voice which supports reaching out, but not at the cost of one’s principles and platform, which was the tone of Mr. Welday’s message. He suggests that the GOP, for all intent and purposes, abandon its message on strong family values.
I ask, why should Republicans abandon their position on the hot-button issues on which Blacks and Hispanics more strongly agree with the Republican Party platform than whites do? Those issues are what some call “social issues”.
Additionally, I ask Mr. Welday, does he believe that Black and Hispanics have no morals and family values?
“So what do we do?” Welday asks. “Well, my fellow conservatives, we must first stop obsessing about what other adults might be doing in the privacy of their own bedrooms.”
And to remove any doubt about what precisely he’s talking about, Welday continues: “If gay people want to formalize their relationships, we should look at this as more an affirmation of our values than an assault on our liberties.”
In other words, from Mr. Welday’s perspective, the way to win more Black and Hispanic votes is for Republicans to stop opposing (or at least talking about opposing) so-called homosexual “marriage.” Does this not assume Blacks and Hispanics overwhelmingly support gay marriage? It is actually quite the contrary.
Let’s consider the facts:
A Detroit Free Press poll found that two-thirds of black voters in Michigan supported the state Marriage Protection Amendment when it appeared on our November 2004 ballot, constitutionally reaffirming that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
Former Georgia Democratic state Rep. Dr. Alveda King, the niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Michigan that year to campaign in favor of the amendment, and her cousin Bernice, Dr. MLK’s daughter, led a march on the Georgia state capitol in support of that state’s Marriage Protection Amendment.
The amendment won majorities of the vote in the city limits of Detroit and Flint and Saginaw. When’s the last time a Republican candidate done that? Yet Paul tells us that in order to appeal to non-whites, Republicans must stop talking protecting the institution of one-man, one-woman marriage. Obviously, if the GOP hopes to win votes in Black communities, exactly the opposite is true.
They should talk about it more.
Similarly, polls in California found that 70 percent of Black voters supported that state’s Marriage Protection Amendment on the November 2008 ballot and were credited with its narrow victory.
Just last year, Black pastors and even some prominent Black denominations openly criticized Barack Obama for reversing himself and endorsing so-called homosexual “marriage.” So once again, on that rarest of issues — one on which leaders in historically overwhelmingly Democrat-voting communities are willing to openly break with the so called first Black president — Paul Welday says that’s the issue Republicans should run from, not to!
Knowing that Blacks historically are the racial demographic most opposed to homosexual behavior and most supportive of state Marriage Protection Amendments on the ballot, and that Hispanics are second only to blacks in that regard, suggesting that Republicans must change or drop their position on that issue to win ”non-white” votes is, to put it kindly, sheer political incompetence.
Paul Welday is not an unintelligent guy, politically or otherwise. However, he is a professional political consultant with whom I strongly disagree on just about every issue he addressed in his speech to the Eastside Republicans.
So something other than substantive material facts obviously motivates his inexplicably misguided (both arithmetically and morally) assertion that in order to win Black votes, the GOP must “drop” their opposition to so-called homosexual “marriage” or civil unions or whatever Welday meant by his reference to ”formalizing their relationships.”
I can come to only one conclusion. Either Paul Welday himself doesn’t support the party’s position in favor of protecting marriage, or he’s personally uncomfortable talking about and defending it. Or, unlike Blacks and Hispanics, he may even support so-called homosexual “marriage.”
Thus, confronted with the light of day of the facts on this issue – that reversing ourselves or going quiet on that issue would only further alienate Blacks and Hispanics – Welday’s argument has nothing whatsoever to do with appealing to “non-white” voters but with the color of his own thoughts and feelings on the issue.
And that is exactly the kind of squeamish, embarrassed, hand-wringing leadership we don’t need on any Michigan Republican Party executive committee, If he’s elected congressional district chair, he’ll be urging the state party to run from the issue too, and if enough people of like mind are elected from other congressional districts, he might succeed, and the Michigan Republican Party would ultimately throw away one of the two most formidable issues (school choice being the other) by which Republican candidates can hope to win votes from Blacks and Hispanics.
As I stated previously, Mr. Welday presumes that Black and Hispanic voters have no morals or family values. In order to attract them, he suggests, the GOP needs to go against principles and against God. That is the shameful and unacceptable.
If Republicans want to win Black votes, rather than abandon your platform and values, you should instead find more effective ways to communicate the platform principles and values.
Rather than “drop” the issue, as Paul demands, Republican candidates should have the courage to go to Black churches and community meetings and aggressively argue, among other issues, your support for marriage and the family.
You should talk about empowering low-income families to choose better and safer schools for their children.
What about the discrimination causes by Prevailing Wages and Project Labor Agreements that are driving up unemployment in predominantly Black communities?
Someone who is willing to remain true to the Republican Platform and all of it principles, regardless of the cultural identity of his or her audience, should be elected Congressional District Chair.
That someone is clearly not Mr. Paul Welday, who does not truly embrace all of the principles of the Republican Platform. I pray that Oakland County Republicans remember the consequences of numerous elections, when Republicans have tried to “out liberal the liberal”. It simply does not work.
Stay true to your values, Oakland County Republicans. Choose leadership who will do the same.