If Republicans want to remain politically viable over the next few election cycles, they must confront the fact that the ethnic landscape of America is changing. In the last few years since Mitt Romney embarrassingly lost 83% of the minority vote, they have tried to promote minority candidates as proof that they are not out of touch with the United States in the 21st century.
Currently, the GOP presidential field has one African-American, one woman, and two candidates of Hispanic descent. Even though these contenders are minorities, their campaign message is very much out of line with the people Republicans are trying to court.
Another candidate who has since dropped out of the race is Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal who is set to leave office after two terms, thanks to term limits. Once a rising star of the Republican Party, Jindal put running for president over his duties as governor, and later embraced right-wing ideology after ironically warning Republicans in 2013 to “stop being the stupid party.”
Exiting his tenure as governor, Bobby Jindal is wildly unpopular in extremely conservative Louisiana, even with Republicans. Combined with Jindal’s low poll numbers, resurrected personal scandals, and the scorched earth campaign he ran against other Republican gubernatorial candidates, David Vitter’s predicted shoo-in campaign for governor went down in flames against previously unknown Democrat John Bel Edwards.
Bobby Jindal was once seen as the Republican Party’s answer to their problem with appealing to minorities. The son of Indian immigrants who was given the name Piyush (that he later rejected for “Bobby”), Jindal became the first governor of Indian descent in the United States after a series of appointments to key government positions as a very young man.
It has been said that Bobby Jindal had been planning to run for the White House from a very early age. When you look at his name change and leapfrogging from one government appointment to another before running for office, this is a very convincing argument. He was positioned to be the conservative answer to the first non-white president, and then ran so far to the right that everyone saw through his act.
Jindal, who is Indian-American, ran as a Christian conservative. He earned high favorability ratings among the mostly white evangelical voters in Iowa but did little to appeal to minority voters, railing against the idea of “hyphenated Americans” and saying, even in his exit interview, that “immigration without assimilation is not immigration; it’s an invasion.” Some South Asian-Americans took to mocking Jindal on Twitter with satirical hashtags including #BobbyJindalIsSoWhite and #Jindian. (Source)
Republicans have counted on finding minority candidates who would parrot their tired old message of trickle-down economics and fighting the culture wars, instead of modifying their platform to a country that has changed while they were asleep.
As much as the GOP has tried to appeal to minorities, most of the candidates they’ve put forth have turned out to be little more than political shams and puppets for the NRA. Arguably, Bobby Jindal was by far the most qualified out of all the minority politicians Republicans have fielded recently, but his candidacy for president lasted just a few miserable months.
As long as the Republican Party continues to treat minorities like idiots and attempts to appeal to them with politicians who insult them, their slide toward irrelevance will continue. The smartest thing Bobby Jindal ever did was to tell the GOP to “stop being the stupid party,” but he couldn’t even take his own advice.
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