Ted Nugent and the Wall Street Journal remind us why black people think Republicans don’t like them

Commenting on the GOP’s minority outreach efforts, Republican pollster Whit Ayres said Wednesday, “The bottom line is that if people don’t think you like them they are not likely to vote for you.”

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Many African-Americans think Republicans don’t like them.


On Wednesday, as Ted Nugent campaigned with Republican Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, it was discovered that the rock star had called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.”

As horrible as that sounds, such language is nothing new for Nugent. As The Daily Beast’s Ben Jacobs points out, Nugent has called Hillary Clinton “a worthless bitch,” said the US should have “Nagasaki-ed” Iraq, expressed the desire to chop Democrats heads off and once noted that “not all Muslims are religious whacks who deserve a bullet.”

The current uproar over Nugent’s “subhuman mongrel” comment did not stop Abbott from continuing to campaign with the rock star. In fact, Abbott defended him.

The question is not whether Ted Nugent will stop being Ted Nugent. He’s not going to stop. Now 65, Nugent has been outlandish and offensive for so long that it has become a bankable part of his persona.

Nugent doesn’t care what others think. That’s the point.

The question is, do conservatives care what others think? Or do some conservatives, on some level, also believe that not caring is part of being conservative?

The Wall Street Journal recently published a column by editorial board member Jason L. Riley, titled “Holder (Hearts) Felons,” in which he denounced Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent efforts to restore the voting rights of ex-felons.

Riley took particular offense at the notion that current law disproportionately impacted the black community. Riley wrote, “Blacks are disproportionately affected by felon disenfranchisement laws because a disproportionate number of blacks are felons.”

He concluded, “The problem is black criminality, not racist laws.”

The author, Jason Riley, is black. This is not surprising, because it is hard to fathom a white person writing the same thing in the right-leaning Journal.

To say that the war on drugs—the primary reason America has the highest incarceration rate in the world—does not have a significant racial component is to ignore reality.

It is to not care.

White and black Americans use marijuana at about the same rate, but blacks are four times more likely to get arrested. The reason blacks get arrested at a higher rate is because law enforcement is often expected to meet an arrest quota to qualify for federal funds.

To get those funds, police must seek out future felons.

Police officers anxious to meet those quotas do not comb the suburbs looking for white college students and professionals, but concentrate on urban areas where minority populations are typically higher.

And thus they arrest more minorities at a higher per capita rate than whites for committing the same crimes.

To say that, “The problem is black criminality, not racist laws” it to ignore the idiocy of what we criminalize and the racially biased way current law is applied. It is to ignore the imbalanced way the system is stacked against African-Americans.

It is to not care.

Riley complains that “The Obama administration would rather focus on white racism instead of black behavior” and that “Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealers means that these thugs return to the ghetto sooner rather than later to raise hell.”

Our current drug sentencing laws are so absurd that presidents Bush and Obama could’ve conceivably been put in jail for decades for their own admitted youthful drug use. How many people, exactly, have made minor mistakes, been imprisoned for decades for maybe just having a just a few ounces of marijuana, and essentially had their lives ruined?

Dismissing such cases as the “black behavior” of “thugs,” as conservatives have done in the past and Riley continues to do, sends the message that being racially obtuse is part of what it means to be a conservative (when it comes to Latinos and immigration, Riley actually has plenty of sensible things to say that more conservatives should listen to).

Is there a black man or woman in this country who does not have a son, daughter, husband, cousin, friend or acquaintance of some sort that has not been impacted in a negative way due to our draconian drug laws?

Polls have long shown that strong majorities of African-Americans have opposed mandatory minimum sentencing, as do all Americans.

Do Republicans address this? Or do they simply continue not to care?

Riley seemed upset that some conservatives have cared, writing “Sadly, some Republicans—including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah—are supporting Mr. Holder’s misguided efforts to ‘help’ blacks by going easier on criminals.”

Riley concluded, “I know the GOP wants more black voters, but this is the wrong kind of outreach.”

In reality, the efforts of Paul and Lee represent the only kind of substantive minority outreach Republicans have even attempted as of late, after giving the idea mere lip service every time the GOP loses an election.

Republicans can attempt to grow their base by reaching new people where they are and talking about the issues of concern to them or they can continue to dismiss those people, double down on the same old formulas, sing the praises of Ted Nugent no matter what he says, view minorities as criminals, continue to ignore a “justice” system that is itself criminal, and keep sending the message that conservatives don’t really care what minorities or anyone else thinks.

People who think you don’t like them won’t like you, and they certainly won’t vote for you. Nor should they.

The four tea party Republicans helping Eric Holder end harsh drug sentencing

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