GOP Uses Convention Spotlight to Embrace Diversity

Laura Bischoff, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 28, 2012

When television news cameras broadcast sweeping shots of delegates at the Republican National Convention, viewers will see a sea of red, white and blue apparel—and white faces.

As the hurricane-delayed convention gets rolling Tuesday the GOP will present a multi-hued face onstage. Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, who is Latino, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is of Indian descent, and Utah Congressional candidate Mia Love, who is black, all will speak Tuesday night.

But the 4,411 delegates and alternates watching them in the Tampa Bay Times Forum will be nearly all white, and polls show President Barack Obama—the nation’s first mixed-race president—with significant advantages among minority voters.

Leading Republicans acknowledge picking up more minority votes is crucial to the party’s long-term survival, as the nation becomes less white. {snip}

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This year, 46 Republican delegates are African-American, or about 2 percent of the total, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. That is up from 36 in 2008, which was the lowest number in 40 years, but far less than the 167 black delegates in 2004, which was the highest since 1912, said David Bositis, senior political analyst for the Joint Center.

The Joint Center does not track Latino or other minority delegates, but the Republican convention is likely to have more Hispanic delegates than African-Americans, he said.

Bositis found that 26 percent of the 4,000-plus delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention are African-American. He estimates that at least 40 percent of the Democratic delegates will be from minority groups.

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[Sen. Marco] Rubio, who will introduce Romney on Thursday night, is one of several minority Republican stars in Florida. The state’s lieutenant governor, Jennifer Carroll, is a black native of the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Cuban-Americans such as Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have long been a force in the state GOP.

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[Editor’s Note: Evidently MSNBC ignored speeches by non-whites at the GOP convention.]

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