This GOP press release disguised as a Politico news article contains quite a few untruths, starting with the title:
GOP touts school choice to woo minority voteThat's simply untrue.
Republicans eager to attract black and Latino voters believe they have hit on an ideal magnet: school choice....No, Republicans don't believe that. They know better.
Republicans ... believe school choice can be the fulcrum of their newly reinvigorated effort to woo minority voters, dubbed the Growth and Opportunity Project.
... Led by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, with high-profile contributions from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the GOP is pushing an election-year initiative to talk up school choice at every turn.Well, now we're getting a bit closer to the truth.
Calling for more charter schools, vouchers and tax credits to help parents pay private school tuition fits with the party's mantra that the government works best when it gets out of the way and lets the free market flourish. But top strategists say it's more than that: Talking about helping poor minority children softens the GOP's image and lets candidates offer a positive vision instead of forever going on the attack. And unlike immigration reform, school choice is politically safe; there’s no chance of blowback from the tea party.
Plus, the photo ops are great. As the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks put it in a strategic planning document: "Focus on kids and the future = excellent media opportunity."
... Even if minority voters aren't entirely won over, [GOP strategist Matthew] Dowd said, GOP candidates still benefit from talking up school choice: "It gives the message to moderate white suburban voters that they're tolerant, they're expansive -- they care."Ding ding ding ding ding! OK, this is the truth. Or at least a portion of it.
None of this talk is aimed at nonwhite voters -- even Republicans aren't naive enough to think that works. The talk is aimed at conning moderate white voters into believing that Republicans have nothing but minority voters' best interests at heart.
But beyond that, this sort of talk also fires up the base. You know how, every few weeks or so, some Republican grouses about how black voters need to move away from the "liberal plantation" (or "Democrat plantation," or "Democrat [sic] Party plantation")? GOP base voters love that sort of talk, the capper of which is always "Liberals are the real racists!" Evidence of alleged black self-enslavement inevitably includes blacks' reluctance to embrace school vouchers.
Oh, and there's this, quoted in the Politico story from a Hispanic-themed open letter Reince Priebus wrote to fellow Republicans:
"Some Hispanics are sadly stuck in failing schools," Priebus wrote. "But do Democrats stand up and say those kids deserve a shot at attending another school? No, they systematically oppose school choice at every turn, doing the bidding of the teachers unions...."Ding ding ding ding ding! The push for vouchers is also about curtailing the power of public sector unions, and thus curtailing union funding of Democratic candidates.
Yeah, this crusade has many purposes, but wooing minority voters is not one of them. Politico thinks you're too stupid to realize that.