“What I have seen and what I have heard tells me that we’re at a moment in time when the black community is receptive,” said former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, the first black man to hold that job. “As we transition from the Obama administration and the Obama leadership, they are looking. They have not sold themselves on Hillary. They have not bought into the Bernie Sanders socialist view of the world. They are suspicious of Martin O’Malley.”
It would not take that many black votes to complicate the Democrats’ electoral map. Neil Newhouse, a veteran Republican pollster working for a super PAC supporting Bush, said in an e-mail that the “demographic challenges” facing whomever the GOP nominates are “real and significant” but fixable.
“The payoff can be significant,” Newhouse said. “It doesn’t take much of a swing in minority votes to make a difference. Winning even 10 to 14 percent of African-American votes in states like Ohio, Florida or Virginia could put those states in the GOP column in ’16.”
Cuyahoga County and Cleveland, which will host the first Republican primary debate next week, have been laboratories for that theory. Obama had won the county by a 256,613-vote margin, which boosted him to a 166,272-vote statewide win. In some Cleveland precincts, Romney won no votes at all. Just two years later, Ohio Gov. John Kasich won the county by 22,333 ballots, in a landslide that has become part of his story to Republican primary voters.
Frost spread around the credit for that. Kasich himself aggressively pitched black voters, and the local party started a conversation with some open-door debates. In October, for example, black Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley came to midtown Cleveland as the conservative voice in a GOP-hosted debate. The party collected the names of about 200 skeptical voters who showed up, then stayed in touch with them. It was a soft sell — one of many — and it seemed to work.
“We really believe that every vote in every neighborhood of Cuyahoga County is winnable for Republicans,” Frost said. “We are in a fight where we want to win every vote.”
That's a nice fantasy.
Here's the cold, hard reality.
Romney won just 17 percent of the nonwhite vote in 2012, down a bit from the 19 percent John McCain won in 2008 and a steeper drop from the 26 percent George W. Bush won in 2004. Had Romney performed as well as Bush among nonwhite voters, he too would have won Ohio.
He still would have lost in 2012, just by a smaller margin.
Pretty sure the black community in Cleveland and in other Ohio cities are going to remember Ohio Republicans limiting early voting in the state at every opportunity in an effort to lower black turnout. The state was sued by the ACLU and settled but not before voter turnout in 2014 was sharply limited by the plan put in place by Gov. Kasich and Secretary of State Jon Husted, which helped Kasich get his "landslide" win.
This plan also presumes that Democrats won't set foot in the state or something and won't campaign here.
Sure. After years of trying to keep black voters from voting in Ohio and other swing states, we're just going to be "receptive" to the GOP now?
Keep on believing that, guys.