State Representative Paul Froehlich has written his vision of an Illinois Republican Party that competes for the affection and identification of racial minorities in the Tribune here. It's a thoughtful and insightful analysis that explains one of the reasons why the Democratic Party is the governing majority in Illinois and increasingly, in the nation: the Republican Party is perceived to be largely indifferent to the concerns of most racial minorities.
Representative Froehlich lays it out, identifying President Nixon's racist "southern strategy" (only formally revoked by GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman last year) as the reason for the hostility to Republicans by minorities, as well as:
Blunt crusades against illegal immigrants and affirmative action, which are easily (mis)interpreted as racist.
A blind attachment to the death penalty, despite the high wrongful-conviction rate of minority defendants.
The lack of serious Republican effort (except for Ken Mehlman) to earn support from African-Americans.
Opposition or indifference to issues important to Latinos and African-Americans, such as rooting out racial profiling and closing the nation's biggest disparity in public education funding.
He's correct. He's also sparked a debate on Rich Miller's Capitol Fax site here, where some Republicans seem to argue that the only way to pursue justice for minorities is ..... reduce the size of government. Actually embracing minority issues (such as the criminal justice system injustices or public education funding) is warmed-over liberalism, according to his critics. That's nonsense, but that's one significant wing of the GOP (particularly those from former Confederate states).
It's refreshing to see any white elected official from the suburbs reaching out to embrace justice for racial minorities. While it's healthy for a two-party system to have far-sighted Republicans like Paul Froehlich, the partisan in me hopes not too many GOPers catch on to his way of thinking.....