Clarence Page Praises Tea Party for Not being a Whites-Only MovementSubmitted by bobbyw24 on Sun, 11/14/2010 - 09:13
What's the most overlooked, underappreciated story from the midterm elections? My nominee would be the surprising new racial and ethnic diversity of Republican congressional and gubernatorial winners — even if we don't see as much diversity among the party's voters.
Republican contenders-of-color had a history-making night, which helps undermine the notion that the GOP is becoming a whites-only party. It's hard to say how much help the new diversity will be in winning over more nonwhite voters. But it already appears to be helping party leaders to become more comfortable with an increasingly multiracial, multicultural voting population. If their success at attracting ethnic minority candidates keeps up, it could attract nonwhite voters, too.
For example, South Carolina's Tim Scott and Florida's Allen West became the first African-American Republicans to be sent to Congress from their states in more than a century. They also are the first black Republicans to join the House or Senate since Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma retired in 2003.
Cuban-American Marco Rubio of Florida was elected the Senate's only Hispanic Republican, since Florida's Mel Martinez retired last year.
In the House, Idaho's Raul Labrador, Florida's David Rivera, Texas' Bill Flores and Francisco Canseco and Washington state's Jaime Herrera will join re-elected Florida Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart for a record total of eight Republican Latinos in both chambers, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. That will bring the total Latino representation on Capitol Hill to what the association called "a near-record 27."