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In a Switch, GOP’s Speakers Highlight Diversity In a Switch, GOP’s Speakers Highlight Diversity

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POLITICS

In a Switch, GOP’s Speakers Highlight Diversity

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Mia Love could become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. Born in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrants, she is mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.(Ralf-Finn Hestoft)

Tuning in to the Republican National Convention this week, viewers could be forgiven for thinking they had switched on the Democratic convention of yesteryear, what with all the up-and-coming women and minority politicians taking the stage. It’s a contrast with Democrats, who will trot out a bunch of timeworn white guys next week in Charlotte to help make the party’s case to the nation.

It is one of this presidential election’s most striking juxtapositions that Mitt Romney, a Republican throwback, is leading a renaissance of down-ballot diversity. And President Obama, dependent on high minority turnout and support, is counting on a group of largely white political veterans to vouch for him at next week’s Democratic National Convention.

 

But the seeming incongruity belies a bigger political truth: Both parties are using their conventions to portray weaknesses as strengths. Republicans, traditionally lagging in support from women and minorities, are highlighting fresh, diverse faces. Meanwhile, Democrats, struggling to win over white, working-class voters, have chosen speakers who they hope will resonate with that crowd.

As Republicans work to project the image of a party evolving with the country, they have tapped a diverse group of speakers: Govs. Susana Martinez of New MexicoBrian Sandoval of Nevada, and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Senate candidate Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Sen. Marco Rubio ofFlorida, who will introduce Romney on Thursday. Also notable is Utah congressional candidate Mia Love, who could become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.

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