With a record caucus turnout recently, Republicans in Iowa dismantled the political myth that the Republican Party is a party of and for racists. Two Cuban-Americans and an African-American received more than 50 percent of the vote in the Iowa Republican Caucus, a state that is more than 90 percent white. Desperate politicians and people who seek to justify their own political intolerance have long developed and promoted political myths for their own gain.
The benefits of political myths are enormous and long-lasting. According to a Democratic National Convention and the Pew Research Institute study, from 1936 to 1960, Republicans received, on average, 30 percent of the black vote for president. From 1988 to 2012, they received, on average, 9 percent of the black vote. Mitt Romney received only 6 percent of the black vote. Since 1988, blacks have given Democrats, on average, 89 percent of the black vote.
Sadly, blacks have not benefited from the political myth that a black president would be better for blacks. Blacks have a higher unemployment rate and a lower high-school graduation rate than whites, Hispanics and Asians. On the cable news show “Morning Joe,” prominent black Profs. Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University and Eddie Glaude Jr. of Princeton University openly concluded that blacks today were worse off than before President Obama took office.
There are signs today that suggest blacks are no longer willing to accept the political myth that liberals are their only allies.
The hashtag #OscarSoWhite lit up social media as many black celebrities spoke out openly against the Hollywood liberal elite for failing to nominate a single minority in the acting categories.
In Chicago, blacks are growing increasingly angry at Democratic Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s inability to address their concerns with regard to education and crime. In fact, a significant number of minorities are openly protesting against the mayor with regularity and calling for his removal from office. Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter protesters attempted to shut down super-liberal Mayor Betsy Hodges when she tried to give a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech recently.
Just as Obama exploited certain myths about Republicans during his campaigns, Hillary Clinton has not been shy about doing the same. Clinton and her surrogates have been openly promoting the myth that a Democratic woman in the nation’s highest office will be better for women than having a Republican in that office.
At a Clinton campaign rally, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who served in President Bill Clinton’s administration, said: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” There is no word yet on how Albright and Hillary helped Monica Lewinsky, whose life was ruined due a consensual affair with Bill Clinton at age 22 or the other women who accused the former president of sexually assaulting them.
In our state, Minnesotans appear to be tired of being shamed into supporting the myth that government programs are inexpensive and effective. They have also grown skeptical of two-faced politicians who promote political myths that are openly hostile toward the private sector, the main engine of our economic growth. For example, the same politicians who shout that rich people are responsible for income inequality and should pay their “fair share” are often the very same politicians who gave $300 million or so of taxpayer money to a billionaire for a football stadium. Minnesotans couldn’t even get a much-needed field goal out of what some have called the worse stadium deal ever.
With so many of us frustrated with government and a broken political system, the time is right for Americans to look beyond simple political myths promoted by desperate politicians.
The way forward for Minnesotans and our country is to take a page from the Iowa Republicans. They made their choice based not on myths, but on who they believed had the capacity to get the job done, understood the challenges that working families face, and had a record of promoting positive change as well as strong character and integrity. It is no accident that the Republican Party has the most diverse field of candidates. The party has evolved into a political organization that is made of and for big thinkers and doers who know how to provide solutions that help us become a more perfect union.
Chris Fields is deputy chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota.