Republicans Probe Race, Gender Boundaries
Posted on Feb 25, 2008
The Politico reports that Republican strategists have been clandestinely polling and focus-grouping to determine how America might react to campaign attacks on an African-American or woman presidential candidate. As one strategist explained, “You can’t allow the party to be Macaca-ed,” a reference to former Sen. George Allen, whose use of a racial slur cost him certain victory in the last election.
Of course one way to avoid being “macaca-ed” is to not use racial slurs. Baby steps.
Top Republican strategists are working on plans to protect the GOP from charges of racism or sexism in the general election, as they prepare for a presidential campaign against the first ever African-American or female Democratic nominee.
The Republican National Committee has commissioned polling and focus groups to determine the boundaries of attacking a minority or female candidate, according to people involved. The secretive effort underscores the enormous risk senior GOP operatives see for a party often criticized for its insensitivity to minorities in campaigns dating back to the 1960s.
The RNC project is viewed as so sensitive that those involved in the work were reluctant to discuss the findings in detail. But one Republican strategist, who asked that his name be withheld to speak candidly, said the research shows the daunting and delicate task ahead.
The usual suspects: Republicans countered the Democrats’ historic candidates by running a wide variety of old white men. No wonder they need to research racial and gender sensitivity.