A Heartland Event: Charles Douglas Love on The Truth About Blacks and the GOP
January 27, 2014
On January 16, I attended a luncheon event at The Heartland Institute featuring author C. Douglas Love and his book, Logic: The Truth About Blacks and the Republican Party, And Why They Need To Work Together To Improve The Party, The Black Community, And the Country. [Watch the video below.] The subject piqued my curiosity in a big way.
The invitation about C. Douglas Love spoke of him as “an amateur polymath and avid reader with a keen interest in politics.” Describing himself as a conservative, Love said he strives to be a champion of the truth. He believes that both political parties do the country a disservice in their rhetoric.
Raised in Gary, Indiana, Love now lives in Chicago with his wife where he runsa political site and an organization — Think or Die — whose purpose is to galvanize conservatives and educate people on the conservative principles and the dangers of an overreaching government.
Given Love’s credentials and the intriguing and promising title of his book, I was all ears about what Mr. Love had to say as a black Republican and author. For it seems logical to believe that blacks, even though voting Democrat 95% to 5% in the last election cycle, might be receptive to the Republican message if Republicans knew how to reach blacks and didn’t tend to write off the black community.
This led me to consider the following question: Why then are Republican pundits and those in House leadership positions currently convinced that a larger slice of the Hispanic vote is essential to winning elections, and that working with the Senate to pass immigration reform (amnesty) will produce the means to win future elections? It seems evident that Republicans have no inkling that amnesty is not popular outside the beltway. In the hinterland of America, securing the border before all else is top priority. Granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is illogical, to say the least, and is not popular with the base of the Republican Party, given the millions of Americans unable to find jobs or who are underemployed
History does tell us that blacks and Republicans once had a strong relationship. From the creation of the Republican Party in 1856 to the election of Franklin Roosevelt, blacks voted exclusively for Republicans — for it was Lincoln as the first president to be elected under the Republican mantel who freed the slaves. As Love explains, while black allegiance started to shift during Roosevelt’s presidency with his “New Deal” programs, it was with the election of President Lyndon Johnson and his anti-poverty legislation that blacks went from voting exclusively for Republicans to voting exclusively for Democrats.
Love noted how the biggest shift of black allegiance from Republican to Democrat possibly took place when Barry Goldwater came on the scene with his book “The Conscience of a Conservative” in 1960. Goldwater’s book rubbed black people the wrong way, Love said. With the Barry Goldwater/LBJ presidential match-up four years later in 1964, blacks eagerly embraced Johnson and later on his War on Poverty.
Mr. Love’s remarks zeroed in on what many blacks believe about the Republican Party and the correlation those beliefs have on the way they vote. Love also had advice for Republicans in reaching out to black Americans for their votes.
Writing the book was not a sudden epiphany for Mr. Love. Like many black conservatives, Love said he started out as a Democrat. His transformation toward conservatism evolved over time. Love said blacks vote heavily Democratic because that’s the way their parents or family voted in the past. It is also more than likely, he said, that nasty remarks about Republicans are passed around within the black community that tend to forever poison the well for Republican candidates.
In explaining the nature of his book, Love noted how Logic differed in two essential ways from those written by other authors who have written about blacks and the GOP:
1. Logic’s goal is to abandon the use of labels and instead listen to what all have to say before forming opinions. (Arriving at personal conclusions is why Mr. Love chose Logic as the title of his book.)
2. Logic doesn’t address many issues, as its object isn’t directed at explicitly creating black Republicans. The use of logic, however, should result in a self-discovery (an awakening) by blacks to show that their former misconceptions are faulty and that being a Republican makes sense.
Love said he recalls often the experience of listening to people talk about the “angry responses” between John McCain and Obama in the 2008 election. The same tone of anger was heard four years later in the retorts exchanged between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the 2012 match up, which prompted Love to ask: “Why can’t people just disagree instead of calling each other names?”
Since those disagreeing most with Obama were Republicans, Love said, it came to be accepted as truth in the black community that all Republicans “must be racists” because they didn’t endorse Obama for president. Even after six years as president, it is pathetic that Obama is still using racism to explain why support for him and his programs aren’t more popular.
According to Mr. Love, this perceived racism toward Republicans among blacks developed at the time Barack Obama became the first back candidate to vie for the presidency. With the entrance of Obama on the national scene, many blacks at last took an interest in politics, with this one drawback: Any knowledge they gained was based solely on Obama’s candidacy and his subsequent election.
Overnight, Love said, blacks became experts on Obama — never questioning Obama’s policies or actions because they lacked prior political experiences to draw upon in order to evaluate or compare stated policies. Romney’s policies in 2012 would have been better economically for blacks, but lacking any background on which to base their votes, blacks voted for Obama’s wrong policies which sounded better to them, but which didn’t work.
Using logic, Mr. Love explained how to dispel the common notion in the black community that blacks can’t possibly be racists — as power and control must be present for racism to occur. Love asked: Is it really possible or logical to conclude that only Republicans can be racist and that Democrats are blameless? Is racism perceived to be present when a white candidate is selected over a less qualified black candidate? Or what if a more qualified black candidate is selected over a white candidate?
Other black misconceptions about whites, according to Love:
1. All white people are rich Republicans, which refutes logic as the wealthiest people in Congress are Democrats. Consider also that movie stars are wealthy and most often vote Democrat.
2. All whites love war and Bush was a war monger, when about an equal number of wars were started under presidents of both parties.
3. All whites are right-wing zealots, which comes into play because many blacks are one-issue voters (same as in many other ethnic groups). If a Democrat legislator is in sync with the views of a voters on a key issue — be it for gay rights, abortion, or immigration — voters must support that legislator. Yet not all Republicans are anti-gay, pro-life or for amnesty.
And what about the stigma placed upon black conservatives by other black Americans? As blacks are expected to vote Democrat or they are “off the plantation,” black conservatives are accordingly racist. Not so says Mr. Love who didn’t grow up wealthy — but neither did Dr. Ben Carson who was targeted by the IRS in 2013 after daring to criticize Obama and his policies at the National Prayer Breakfast.
In the Q&A after his presentation, Love was asked: Will Republicans ever again be able to capture a goodly portion of the black vote? Love suggested that 30 percent of the black vote is about all Republicans could hope for in future elections. Even so, he asked, why do Republicans write off a good proportions of the voting population? While Democrats can count on Jews, women, and Hispanics for support, they continue to take the black vote for granted because of its huge ready made majority. Is this indifference by Democrats an opportunity for Republicans among black voters?
Love said that it is not enough for Republicans to just show up in black neighborhoods once every four years. They are seen as opportunists. Republicans need to court the black vote, Love said, because blacks live in mega cities like Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. This is where the votes are. Blacks need the Republican Party, because Republican polices are better for blacks in the long run.
But Love asked: How does one break the chain of dependency that blacks have come to expect from Democratic politicians? Logic comes to the rescue. Has the leadership in your black community serve you well? What about the promises that were made over the years? Have they been kept? Are you better off since President Obama became president?
A brief discussion of Adam Smith’s book, The Invisible Hand, brought to a close the Heartland event. An black attendee noted how the “personal self-interest” of many black voters always comes into play. The result of voting for this “self-interest,” he said, has helped create the worst pathologies we see now in many black communities: poverty, unemployment, and crime.
Politicians would do well to remember: Good intent has consequences which should be based on results, not on interests.
I highly recommend you read Mr. Love’s book, Logic.
[END NOTE: I had one point of contention with Love, which riled me as a conservative Republican. It occurred when Love spoke about not being a fan of name-calling — specifically the use of the term RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) by conservative Republican and Tea Party members. As stated by Mr. Love: “Democrats don’t call Democrats DINOS,” so why does the Tea Party ostracize “RINOs”? For conservatives like me and other Tea Party members, the good of the party does not rest with establishment Republicans in leadership positions. They are trying to silence conservatives and the Tea Party so they can continue to compromise with Democrats with an agenda that is Democrat-lite — bigger government and more massive spending.
— Nancy Thorner
Nancy Thorner writes for Illinois Review.