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The Edge

The Edge: How a GOP Focus on Minorities Could Pay Off

April 29, 2013

The Edge is National Journal's daily look at today in Washington -- and what's coming next. The email features analysis from NJ's top correspondents, the biggest stories of the day -- and always a few surprises. To subscribe, click here.

How a GOP Focus on Minorities Could Pay Off

It may seem contrarian, but Republicans could be well-served by focusing on winning over African-Americans with an aspirational agenda that includes education reform, economic growth and faith-based initiatives. 

 

In fact, a new Associated Press analysis, which reports record-high turnout among blacks along with lagging white turnout in the 2012 presidential election, underlines the point.

The study suggests that the historic nature of President Obama’s candidacy raised African-American turnout to historic levels that aren’t likely to be replicated. If a future Republican nominee got merely 10 percent of the black vote, with lower turnout levels, swing states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia and perhaps even Pennsylvania could flip. A more relatable nominee may also increase turnout among working-class whites.

Latinos, despite their growing numbers, still lag behind in turnout, and immigration reform is one way to focus on that piece of the puzzle. But policy items like education reform, which may appeal to a broader population of minority voters, could be a productive ticket for Republicans and should not be ignored.

Josh Kraushaar
jkraushaar@nationaljournal.com

TOP NEWS

KARZAI: AFGHAN GOVERNMENT ‘VERY GRATEFUL’ FOR CIA FUNDS. Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed a report by The New York Times that the United States has been making monthly payments to the Afghan National Security Council for the past decade, the Associated Press reports. Karzai said that the monthly sums were "a small amount," and have been "very useful, and we are grateful for it." The CIA, which has reportedly provided tens of millions of dollars in payments to the Afghan council, declined to comment on the report. Read more

  • @ZekeJMiller: Q: “Was the president aware of the payments [to Karzai]?” Carney: “You are making an assertion about something I have no comment on.”

‘MISHA’: I HAD NO ROLE IN BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING. The mysterious “Misha” who reportedly helped to radicalize Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is Mikhail Allakhverdov, The New York Review of Books’ Christian Caryl reports. “I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov said. “I’ve been cooperating entirely with the FBI. I gave them my computer and my phone and everything I wanted to show I haven’t done anything. And they said they are about to return them to me. And the agents who talked told me they are about to close my case.” Read more

GARY PETERS TO ANNOUNCE SENATE BID. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., will announce this week that he will run to replace retiring Sen. Carl Levin, sources tell The Hotline, giving Democrats another top recruit in a state critical to their hopes of keeping the Senate next year. Peters, a three-term House member from the Detroit suburbs, will be the first major-party candidate to jump in the race. And he's likely to have the Democratic primary to himself. Republicans have yet to settle on a candidate of their own. Reps. Mike Rogers and Justin Amash are both considering a bid. Read more

NBA’S COLLINS INSPIRED BY JOE KENNEDY TO COME OUT. National Basketball Association player Jason Collins, who came out as gay in a Sports Illustrated story published Monday, was influenced by the decision of his former college roommate, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., to march in Boston’s Gay Pride parade last year, The Washington Post reports. “I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator,” Collins wrote. The White House commended Collins’s decision today. Read more

  • As only he could, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver breaks down Collins’s chances of signing with another team.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH AT SANFORD-COLBERT BUSCH DEBATE. The only debate in the special congressional race between Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, and Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch is Monday night at 7 p.m., and The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan has five things to watch out for, including whether Sanford can shift the momentum and how Colbert Busch will perform under the spotlight. Read more

MORE GROUPS PLOT TO DODGE SEQUESTER CUTS. Now, with two sequester adjustmentsthe FAA and meat inspectorson the books, other special-interest groups, unions, and lobbyists are planning to rev up their efforts to undo the cuts bit by bit or, in this case, by a few billion dollars here or there. The actions of the FAA in the past week, alongside airline groups and unions, offer a playbook for others to use as they too seek exemptions, National Journal’s Nancy Cook reports. Read more

OBAMA AT WHCD: ‘WE CAN DO BETTER.’ President Obama closed his remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner not with humor but with “a 607-word morality bomb,” National Journal’s Ron Fournier writes. “If we’re only focused on profits or ratings or polls,” the president noted, “then we’re contributing to the cynicism that so many people feel right now.” The remarks, which received less attention than the evening’s jokes, “may stand as one of the best rhetorical moments of Obama’s presidency, a clearheaded indictment of four national institutions (the media, the entertainment industry, big business, and the political system), coupled by a prescription for revival,” Fournier writes. Read more

O’CONNOR HAS MISGIVINGS ABOUT BUSH V. GORE. During a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor expressed reservations over the Court accepting Bush v. Gore in 2000. "It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue. Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, good-bye,'" O’Connor told the board. “It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn't done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.” Read more

HOUSE DEMOCRATS LINK CLIMATE CHANGE TO ‘TRANSACTIONAL SEX,’ DISEASE. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., along with 11 Democratic cosponsors, introduced a resolution recently highlighting the particular dangers of climate change for women and asserting support for the plight of female farmers. According to the resolution, women who are “food-insecure,” and “with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health.” Read more

TOMORROW

CONSUMER-CONFIDENCE NUMBERS OUT. The monthly gauge of consumer sentiment is due out tomorrow, and the numbers from the Conference Board are expected to show a slight rise from March—from 59.7 to 62.0, according to The Wall Street Journal. Read more

KERRY TO HOST MEETING WITH JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER. Secretary of State John Kerry will hold a bilateral meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh at the State Department. Closed press. He will also hold a bilateral meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, also at the State Department.

QUOTABLE 

“My wife, my family, I got one of the biggest liberal families in the world, but I had more money when Bush and Reagan was president. I shouldn’t have said that, my wife is going to kill me for that.” – Former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson on Obama. (National Review)

BEDTIME READING

FROM DRUG-WAR INFORMANT TO FUGITIVE. “On the run from his native country and abandoned by his adopted home,” Luis Octavio López Vega, 64, lives in intentional obscurity, his former face vanished with a face-lift over a decade ago, writes Ginger Thompson for The New York Times. But what separates López from numerous other immigrants living unregistered in the western United States is that López is hiding from the authorities with whom he once worked closely. López was a senior adviser to Mexico’s drug czar of the 1990s, Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, while also working as a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant. When Rebollo was arrested in 1997 in what was considered the biggest drug-trafficking case in Mexican history, the DEA secretly helped López and his family escape across the border in exchange for his cooperation with the investigation. Then the agency severed its ties. López has been a fugitive ever since and the DEA denies any knowledge of his whereabouts. Read more

PROFILE AT A GLANCE: ANTHONY FOXX

  • Why he is in the news: President Obama nominated him to serve as Transportation secretary (The New York Times)
  • Current job: Mayor of Charlotte, N.C.
  • Born: April 30, 1971 (Age 41)
  • Education: B.A. in history, Davidson College; J.D., New York University (City of Charlotte)
  • Married to: wife Samara; two children

Career Highlights

  • Led bid and chaired host committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention
  • Led city’s economic turnaround, adding 13,000 jobs (The New York Times)
  • Working to expand Charlotte Douglas International Airport (Charlotte Observer)
  • Spearheading expansion of city’s light-rail system

Of Interest

  • First black student body president at Davidson College
  • At 38, was youngest-ever mayor of Charlotte
  • Announced in early April that he would not seek reelection, citing family considerations (release)
  • Considered a rising star in Democratic Party (National Journal)

TODAY’S PHOTO GALLERY

SARAH PALIN HATED NERD PROM, BUT THESE PEOPLE DIDN’T. The Washington Post photographers blanketed the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, from the red carpet, to the dinner itself, to the boozy after-parties. Because what other red carpet would feature both George Stephanopoulos and the Duck Dynasty cast; what other dinner party would feature New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg seated next to Barbra Streisand; and what other event’s after-party would feature a hug between Jon Bon Jovi and Geraldo Rivera?

 

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