Among all the political quandaries across the country one of the most confounding of them is why black voters are so devoted to Democrat candidates.
The Frederick Douglass Republicans of Tarrant County have, since its inception in 1985, been trying to convince black voters that they are supporting the wrong party.
As this year’s midterm elections unfold and are finally decided in November, we can see if progress is being made in moving the organization’s objectives forward.
Founded by the county’s iconic black leader Reby Cary, here’s how its mission statement explains their purpose:
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“To maximize the growth and participation of the African Americans in the Republican Party and to be a resource of empowerment as well as economic, social and political issues affecting the African American at all levels of government.”
“We are not segregated from the Republican Party, we embrace the Republican Party and its platform and … we want you to remember the history of the African Americans who were founders of the party. We were there from the beginning.”
Frustrated about the disconnect from history, Stoglin answers the refrain of “that was then, this is now.”
“We are the now,” he explains, “we believe in values, economics, family, and liberty. Democrats come into your church once a year to give you $5 and a chicken. Those days should be over.”
Recently Stoglin penned a perspective for the county’s Republican Party that emphasized the role of black leaders.
“Within its historical annals, there are pages of brave African Americans who have worked tirelessly to build-up the Republican Party. These men and women not only helped establish the identity of this great Party, they also helped set it on a path toward success.”
Clarifying the record of the Civil Rights Movement culminating in transformative action in the mid 1960’s, he wonders how the reality of passing laws to deal with racial discrimination has escaped current awareness.
“LBJ gets the credit because he was the president. But, it was the moderate Republicans in Congress that prevailed over the abject objections of Democrats. Without the Republicans, none of that would have happened.”
Remarking of the organization’s namesake he emphasizes that Frederick Douglass was an ardent anti-slave abolitionist and women’s suffrage advocate who proclaimed his allegiance to the Republican Party.
“Hear his words,” Stoglin pleads, “for he speaks to us today:”
“I am a Republican, a Black dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.”
On the national level, the Washington DC based Frederick Douglass Foundation is working on the same objectives as the Tarrant County organization.
Their website emphasizes a Democrat Party statement, “We’ve worked to pass every one of our nation’s civil rights laws. On every civil rights issue, Democrats have led the fight.”
They declare that quote to be a monumental “lie of the century.”
The presidential election of 2016 may offer evidence of at least a little movement in the direction of attracting more black voters to the conservative party.
President Trump received eight percent of the black vote. While that isn’t much, it was two percentage points more than Mitt Romney received four years earlier.
There’s a very long way to go before the mission of organizations like the Frederick Douglass Republicans of Tarrant County would succeed.
Still, the high calling of its purpose, echoed by Douglass himself, should be sufficient motivation to affect change.
We’ll see what happens in November but this trend, small as it is, could serve to temper the anticipation by Democrats that Texas would turn blue this year.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.