Monthly Archives: March 2015

Non sequitur of the day: lack of black Republicans elected in swing districts

Republican political junkies know that most blacks elected to the House of Representatives in majority-white or and/or swing districts are Republicans, e.g., Gary Franks (Conn.), J.C. Watts (Okla.), Allen West (Fla.), and, most recently, Mia Love (Utah).  Nearly all black Democrats come from heavily black, heavily Democratic districts.  Ann Coulter and the National Journal have discussed this recently.

This history doesn’t prevent a Washington Post article, “Texan Will Hurd defies the odds for House Republicans. Can he last?” from reverting to the usual liberal trope:  “Moreover, House Republicans have never been able to retain a black lawmaker in a true swing district for more than a couple terms, suggesting broad appeal across ideological and racial lines.”

Besides being a sloppily-formed sentence, as well as a tautology—either party would have trouble retaining a member of any race long-term in a “true swing district”—this passage’s principal implication that it is the Republicans, and not the Democrats, who don’t elect blacks from swing districts is false.

Despite the fact that black Democrats outnumber black Republicans in Congress considerably, it isn’t the case that Democrats come from swing districts.  In the current Congress, there are 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus—42 Democrats and Rep. Love.  Of these 43 Representatives, 42 c0me from districts that were rated as “safe Democrat” or “safe Republican” by a consensus of political forecasters in the 2014 elections, and one comes from a district that was not unanimously rated “safe.”  We’ll give you one guess as to the identity of the outlier.

(Rep. Hurd, the subject of the article, also comes from a swing district—which was in fact rated “Lean Democratic” by all of the forecasters cited in the linked article.)

True, the Republicans have not yet been able to “retain [Love and Hurd] for more than a couple terms”—and it’s not surprising that most of their minority members of Congress representing majority-white and/or swing districts become the top targets for defeat by Democrats and the media—but that doesn’t make the Post‘s false implications anything other than lazy and biased.


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