Republicans! Do Good To Do Well

Someone once quipped that the missionaries went to Hawaii to do good, and they did very well, indeed.

I have said here more than once that the Republicans would do well to do good — that is, that if they did the right and good thing regarding race, i.e., supporting the “without regard” principle of colorblind equality, they would do well politically. (See here, here, and here.) Now comes Edward Blum, a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and occasional commenter here, to say the same thing, very effectively, with numbers.

Fearful of driving large numbers of minorities to the polls, the Michigan GOP establishment believed it could mitigate high turnout by opposing MCRI. But on Election Day, Republican candidates who opposed the MCRI wound up with nothing to show for their pandering — they lost by wide margins, while MCRI passed with 58 percent of the vote.


The two most prominent Republican losers in Michigan were gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, who sought to unseat Jennifer Granholm, and Michael Bouchard, running to replace Debbie Stabenow in the U.S. Senate. Both DeVos and Bouchard, along with the leaders of the state Republican party, opposed MCRI. However, Republican Mike Cox, running for reelection as attorney general, was a vocal supporter, having thrown his support behind it nearly three years ago when the proposal was being organized. Cox beat his Democrat challenger with 54 percent of the vote, while DeVos and Bouchard lost by wide margins.

Of course, this is not to argue that if DeVos and Bouchard had backed MCRI they would have won. After all, Cox’s incumbency and popularity played a role in his reelection. But the big lesson for Republicans in the future is that Cox’s principled support for MCRI didn’t hurt his candidacy and probably helped overall.

Blum’s most impressive numbers came from “Michigan-based research consultant Chet Zarko,” a frequent commenter here. Blum quoted Chet’s analysis of the vote in three revealing Michigan counties: one heavily Democratic, one heavily Republican, and one a toss-up. Republicans everywhere, as well as other interested in the politics of racial equality, should read Blum’s whole article to see these numbers and what they could mean. Also see this discussion on Chet’s blog.

Say What? (2)

  1. Mike McKeown December 3, 2006 at 2:32 pm | | Reply

    The Hawaiian missionary reference may not be well chosen. The general tone of that saying is that the missionaries went to do good and ended up becoming, as some might say, “filthy, stinking rich” at the expense (exploitation) of the native Hawaiians. In other words, they went with nominally noble goals and ended up with something other than what many would consider selfless Christian charity.

  2. John Rosenberg December 3, 2006 at 6:11 pm | | Reply

    Well, I knew the origins of the comment but still thought/think its applicability is close enough for blog work. True, the Republicans doing the Right Thing is not identical to the Good Work the missionaries set out to do (though there are some of us who think supporting the “without regard” priniciple is God’s work, or a close earthly facsimile), and the Rep’s doing well would be getting votes, not getting rich. (It would be a bit of a stretch to say that the missionaries getting rich would have been evidence enough to some early [and some later] Calvinists that they were among the Elect[ed], which is why I didn’t say anything about that.]

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