When Mitt Romney’s father sought reelection for governor of Michigan in 1966, he got 30 percent of the African-American vote. Two years later, when George Romney sought the Republican nomination for the presidency, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. reportedly praised the prospect.The GOP is only growing older and whiter.
Why? It was not just a matter of words. It was a matter of deeds.
As governor of Michigan, George Romney marched for, lobbied for and then signed into law civil rights legislation. After creating a state Civil Rights Commission, George Romney declared, “We can in Michigan, on the basis of this new fundamental law, provide a leadership for every other state to follow.”
At the Republican National Convention of 1964, he led the fight for a strong civil rights plank. After Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, George Romney refused to support the Republican nominee for president that year.
“Whites and Negroes, in my opinion, have got to learn to know each other,” George Romney argued. “Barry Goldwater didn’t have any background to understand this, to fathom them, and I couldn’t get through to him.”
It should go without saying that he would be horrified, absolutely horrified, that his party has degenerated to a point where its appeal to African-American voters is so slim that their sentiments cannot even be measured in states with the highest African-American populations in the nation.