Michael Steele: For Decades GOP Pursued 'Southern Strategy' That Alienated Minorities

06/22/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Elyse Siegel Fmr. Deputy Managing Editor, The Huffington Post

Earlier this week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele told a group of 200 students at DePaul University that African-Americans "don't have a reason" to vote for Republican candidates.

During his remarks he also acknowledged that for decades the GOP pursued "'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South."

Steele was asked to explain why an African-American should vote Republican at a university-sponsored discussion on the conservative movement. The RNC chairman's response: "You really don't have a reason to, to be honest -- we haven't done a very good job of really giving you one. True? True."

Steele also discussed with students his own experience being the victim of racial discrimination -- a subject that the he has openly addressed in the past. Steele told TV One's Roland Martin in November that even some of his fellow Republicans are "scared" of him because of his race.

Steele acknowledged his party's failure to reach out and connect with African-Americans and other marginalized communities. "We have lost sight of the historic, integral link between the party and African-Americans," he explained.

Steele went on to make a candid statement about how the disconnect between Republicans and minorities is not new and has been a part of the party's strategy for years. The Chicago-Sun Times reports on what the RNC Chairman had to say:

For the last 40-plus years we had a 'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South. Well, guess what happened in 1992, folks, 'Bubba' went back home to the Democratic Party and voted for Bill Clinton.

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