(NNPA)—Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain professes to know why most African-Americans don’t vote for Republicans—they are brainwashed. Cain’s decision to insult people he hopes will vote for him proves that he is both brainwashed and brain dead.
“African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view,” Cain said on CNN’s The Situation Room. He added, “I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it’s just brainwashing and people not being open minded, pure and simple.”
Merriam-Webster defines brainwashing as: 1) a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas 2) persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship.
Herman Cain fits that description better than Black America.
Anyone with a scintilla of a brain knows that African-Americans have not always favored Democrats. Blacks voted overwhelmingly for Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln, until Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, a package of programs that helped lift America out of the Great Depression. By 1936, 75 percent of African-Americans had switched their support from Republicans to Democrats.
Still, the GOP continued to receive a respectable share of the Black vote for the next two decades. Even with a Democratic presidential candidate as attractive as John F. Kennedy, Republican Richard M. Nixon managed in 1960 to capture 32 percent of the Black vote. However, the GOP took a sharp right turn in 1964 with the nomination of ultra-conservative Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Black GOP support plummeted to 6 percent that year and has never risen above 15 percent since that debacle.
African-Americans knew what they were doing in the 1930s when they switched allegiance. And instead of being brainwashed today, they have wisely decided to extend solid political support to the party that supports them. When you examine how differently Democrats and Republicans vote in the House and Senate, it should not be surprising that African-Americans shun the party that shuns them.
With only a couple of exceptions, the record of GOP lawmakers shows that they don’t want to merely turn back the clock on Black progress, they want to turn back the calendar.
This is from a column I wrote in 2008:
The NAACP has been issuing a civil rights report card since 1914. When it comes out, there are often efforts to discredit it, as though the NAACP doesn’t know what’s good for Black people.
If you read the last report card for the complete session of Congress (the 109th), you might learn why Republicans have such a difficult time attracting African-Americans.
In the 109th Congress, 25 Democrats in the Senate received an A from the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, 15 earned a B, and two got C’s. None was graded D or F.
By contrast, no Republican senator earned an A or B. One, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, earned a C, and another, Mike DeWine of Ohio, was given a D. The other 54 Republicans who served the full session earned F’s.
There was a similar pattern in the House, where 133 Democrats earned A’s, 41 got B’s, 15 received C’s, and 19 brought up the rear with D’s. Among Republicans, none earned as high as a C. Three received the highest grade of D and 211 got F’s.
At the end of this session of Congress, the Republican record will certainly be worse.
Any African-American supporting a party with such an anti-Black record must be, in Cain’s words, brainwashed.
The only reason Cain gets away with making such outlandish charges is because he is Black.
Pollster Cornell Belcher made that point on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. In a face-off with former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer, he said: “You know, if I came on your show, Anderson, and I said, all Jewish people are brainwashed, I probably wouldn’t be invited back to CNN and I assure you the condemnation would be swift and it’d be powerful and be strong. What Herman Cain said was a racist, bigoted statement and [he] should be treated like a racist and bigoted person who makes those racist and bigoted statements.”
Instead of acknowledging that he can’t speak for all Blacks, Cain likes to frame criticism of him in racial terms.
In a speech in Pella, Iowa, Cain said he would not sign a bill longer than three pages. (He later claimed that he was exaggerating.)
Jon Stewart had fun with Cain’s ridiculous proposal, joking that if Cain were elected president, “Treaties will have to fit on the back of a cereal box … The State of the Union Address will be delivered in the form of a fortune cookie.”
Speaking at the Iowa Falls Fire Department, Cain asserted that Stewart was criticizing him “because I’m Black.”
No, Cain was targeted because he makes ridiculously laughable comments.
Cain could have avoided the brainwashing controversy by asking Republican rival Mitt Romney about his father’s failed 1968 presidential campaign. George W. Romney, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and ex-governor of Michigan, was considered a serious candidate for president until he gave a radio interview in 1967 in which he said, “When I came back from Viet Nam [in 1965], I’d just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.”
Instead of defeating Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination, Romney’s poll numbers tanked and he never recovered. I don’t know why Herman Cain never asked the younger Romney about his father’s failed campaign. Perhaps Cain had been already brainwashed by then.
(George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.)