If you didn’t happen to catch the first night of the two-part South Carolina Republican presidential town hall hosted by CNN (Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz), you didn’t miss much. I’m a fairly big political junkie and these town halls even bore me. Without the candidates being on the stage at the same time, they’re basically nothing more than glorified interviews.
Though there were still plenty of lies to go around Wednesday night, especially from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
That being said, I couldn’t help but notice one fairly big thing was missing: African-Americans.
This was a town hall in South Carolina, right? A state that’s around 30 percent African-American. Yet in a state that is nearly one-third black, there wasn’t a single African-American there to ask any of these GOP candidates a question. In fact, I think all but three people who asked questions over a nearly three-hour town hall event were white.
How does that happen?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that African-Americans tend to vote for Democrats – but not all of them do. Heck, the Republican party had an African-American candidate on stage… but didn’t have a single person there to represent the black community to ask these candidates anything?
This has to be someone’s fault, right?
Is it CNN’s for not making sure that a race which comprises nearly one-third of the population of the state in which they’re hosting this town hall was represented? Is it the GOP for being so racially divisive that they couldn’t manage to get any African-American conservatives to show up to this event? Was it just all one big coincidence that was overlooked?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not someone who plays the “race card” frequently. In fact, I’ve been critical in the past of those who are quick to try to divide us along racial lines. Though I’m not even saying that this was racism. Honestly it could have just been incompetence by either CNN, the Republican party or both in that neither organization thought that it might be somewhat useful to make sure that a couple of African-Americans ask questions to presidential candidates in a state that has a large black population. Especially in a state such as South Carolina where a monster brutally gunned down nine African-Americans last summer in a mass shooting that led to the rather heated debate which ultimately led to the state removing the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds after standing as a symbol of racial tension for decades.
Maybe I’m simply reading too much into this. But as someone who usually doesn’t go looking for racism to point out, the omission of African-Americans as part of the political process Wednesday night struck me as rather strange.