Republicans have made a concerted effort to run minority candidates as a sign all our welcomed in the Grand Old Party. Pictures of a sea of white delegates at the last GOP Presidential nominating convention sent a message to voters of color that they were not welcomed to the party. Republicans are determined not to let that happen again.
Yet as Politico reports, despite a more diverse candidate pool, diversity is not something Republicans like to talk about.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is once again considering a run for the Republican nomination for President. But don’t expect the first Indian American Governor in the nation to play up his ethnicity. In fact he’s on record as saying he’s against the concept of hyphenated Americans.
“It is considered naive these days to talk about America as the great melting pot,” said Jindal. “But the fact is, that is the right construct. It’s not our skin color or ethnic heritage that binds us together. It’s our shared desire for freedom, for colorblind justice and for opportunity for everyone — regardless of our race, the income level of our family or the circumstances of our birth.”
Jindal is not unique to his party. Several other minority candidates have stated similar views. The fact is Republican primaries are dominated by the Tea Party and the GOP conservative base. Play up your ethnicity too much and you risk alienating that base. Downplaying your ethnicity risks sending the wrong message to the growing minority voting population.
In the end, it may be substance more than symbolism that decides whether minorities come in greater numbers to the Republican party. Issues like immigration reform, affirmative action, voting rights and the raising of the minimum wage will speak more loudly than any token candidacies.
Until Republican policies align themselves more closely to the majority of minority voters, old images will be hard to shed.
You can learn more about the views of several potential minority presidential candidates in the GOP in Politico.