2010 Midterm Election

New Black Republicans Coming to D.C.

Newly elected Black republican members of Congress should not feel obligated to join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). I do, however, think they should join the CBC to diversify the ideas offered by the group. Representative-Elect Tim Scott of South Carolina, a Black republican, has declined to join the group. While I understand that he is committed to themes that unite us regardless of our race, he is missing a golden opportunity to have republican ideas and ideals gain more exposure in the Black community. If Black republicans are really serious about bringing more Black people into the Republican Party, then they are going to have to join the most identifiably Black presence in Washington, D.C.—the CBC. I’m not questioning Representative-Elect Tim Scott’s passion for ameliorating the lives of Black people, but I am asserting that he is hurting his party by not recognizing his potential to recruit more Blacks into the Republican Party by joining the CBC. Representative-Elect Allen West of Florida, a Black republican, has decided to join the CBC. He is looking forward to challenging the ideas and policies of the members of the CBC. In the end, Allen West will be the more visible and more valuable person for the Republican Party’s efforts to recruit more Black voters.

It would not surprise me to see these two men, especially Allen West, become very prominent members in the Republican Party. They may even be successful one day in gaining the Republican Party’s nomination to become President. With the Republican Party increasingly becoming a more conservative party, these Black men have arrived at the right time to gain prominence in the party. They are both very fiscally and socially conservative. Although I want these two Black men to be successful members of the Republican Party, I don’t ever want them to forget that they are Black. I don’t ever want them to feel like they have to surrender their “blackness” to appease any member of the Republican Party. I am not saying that there are currently people in the Republican Party who will attempt to make them relinquish their blackness, but I just hope that if any people like this surface they will strongly resist their efforts.

Even though many Black democrats and liberals will not like these men simply because they are conservatives and republicans, I greatly encourage them to give these men a fair chance. You should wait until they gain a voting record before negatively criticizing them. I also encourage you to wait until they write, co-sponsor, and/or support legislation (as members of Congress) that you oppose before negatively criticizing them.

I hope that Tim Scott and Allen West will not feel like they have to be the chief attack dogs on President Obama simply because they are Black. If they feel passionate about criticizing President Obama, and this criticism genuinely comes from their deepest convictions, then I think they should vociferously promulgate their disagreements with him.

I congratulate Tim Scott and Allen West on their recent election victories to become two new Black members of Congress.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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The Dominant Message of the 2010 Midterm Election Results: Change Course

At both the federal and state level in the U.S. 2010 Midterm Election, we experienced a political tsunami as Republicans won races at a historic level. The American people have spoken and they have rejected the failed policies of President Obama. Republicans, however, should not be tremendously happy because the American people were not simply voting for them; they were voting to make a statement about their  unhappiness with incumbents. It is not like they are so happy to vote Republicans back in either. Let’s be honest, however, it is not just the struggling economy that resulted in historic gains for Republicans, but it was also a repudiation of the failed policies of President Obama.

President Obama is going to have to recognize that the people did not just vote Democrats out because of the economy—they voted them out because of his policies. I was glad to see him accept a significant amount of the blame for this too, but what I want him to acknowledge is he must change course from the failed policies that have significantly decreased his popularity. Obama is losing his appeal as a different type of politician. Each day it seems that he is becoming more and more like all of the other politicians he claims he is not like. He needs to find a way to work with Republicans to get things done for the American people. Republicans also will need to be willing to work with President Obama to get things done. The American people did not vote to give Republicans all of the power to do everything they want to do. If that would have happened, then they would have won the U.S. House and Senate and more state races too.

People are really exhausted with Democrats and Republicans. They want these politicians they elect to do real things that are going to significantly ameliorate their lives. I really think that by 2012 people are really going to be looking more toward true Independents at all levels, including for the President of the United States of America. If you are a Republican, I want you to feel happy about the fact that your party won historic gains at all levels, but you cannot allow your party to simply do more of the same. You must demand more from your party leaders. Democrats, you must demand more from your party leaders. We need a new awakening to spread across the land that communicates that we will no longer accept the status quo, business as usual politics. People are hurting and we need elected politicians to help them to be healed.

If President Obama wants to be re-elected in 2012, he will need to show a serious willingness to listen more to the American people, and some of that listening means being willing to support more things that the Republicans support. President Obama will really need to take a chapter from former President Bill Clinton’s book if he wants to have a better remaining two years of his presidency than his previous two. Republicans will also need to understand that America is not so in love with you all either. It was many of the policies that you all created that contributed to the problems we face today. President Obama, however, cannot continue to keep using this as an excuse—he must lead.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison