2010: The year of the black Republican?

An unusually large number of black Republicans are running for Congress this year... thanks to Obama?

Princella Smith, 26, is running for an open Republican Congressional seat in Arkansas.

At least 32 black Republicans are running for Congress this year, a post-Reconstruction record, The New York Times reports, with several well-positioned to become the first black GOP congressmen since Oklahoma's J.C. Watts retired in 2003. While some Party leaders and candidates credit Obama for proving that white voters will support black contenders, African-American talk-show host Tavis Smiley notes wryly that the last "Year of the Black Republican" — 2006 — "fizzled out." Has Obama's victory ushered in a renaissance for black Republicans? (Watch a Christian Broadcasting Network report about black conservatives)

This is about Obama's incompetence, not his precedent: There's a reason several of these conservative black candidates have "enthusiastic Tea Party support," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. They're in sync with the movement on fiscal and national security policy, and in their desire to oust Obama. This should finally kill the "increasingly desperate" media "fiction" that conservative opposition to Obama is driven by racism.

"NYT discovers record number of black Republicans running for Congress"

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Running isn't winning: Here's the problem, says Dan Amira at New York Magazine. Only five of the 32 black candidates have even a shot at getting elected, according to GOP leaders. Obama built a winning coalition, but black Republicans "can't count on the support of black Democrats, or of white Republicans, who, as the Times puts gently, 'sometimes do not welcome' blacks."

"Obama inspires black people to run for Congress as Republicans"

Blacks should cheer this development: For those wondering if this windfall of minority candidates is "straight from the playbook of cynical and condescending politics," says Michael Arceneaux in AOL News, "fret not." Judging from recent remarks by National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Paul Lindsay, "Republican leadership had nothing to do with it." Only one of the key black hopefuls is getting national-party financial assistance. Still, perhaps the GOP will finally realize they need to be "inclusive."

"GOP's long road to winning back minorities"

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.