I have nothing to say about the Ames straw poll, so this will be my last post. I assume Andrew will be back tomorrow with fresh insights. Readers who have been less than enthused with my discussions of tax reform, gay marriage and other topics will no longer have to suffer.

So I will end my temporary duty with a shameless act of self-promotion. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a new book coming out in January called Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past. It's a political history of the race problem in America that emphasizes the role of the Democratic Party as the party of slavery before the war, the party of Jim Crow after the war, and the party of the segregationist "Solid South" throughout most of the 20th century.

The book arose from an idea for a column I had a year or two back. I assumed that someone had written a book or a good academic journal article on the Democratic Party's sordid history on the race issue before the 1960s. To my surprise, none existed. So I began researching the topic in a casual manner and discovered a lot of interesting stuff. Eventually I decided that there was a book that needed to be written on this topic.

One hope I have is that this book will encourage Republicans to reach out to the black community and for blacks to be receptive should they come calling. They both need each other, whether they realize it or not. Blacks are ill-served by being virtual captives of the Democrats because they just take the black vote for granted, just as Republicans did in the post-Civil War period. And Republicans are going to badly need black votes to compensate for the loss of Hispanic votes resulting from their embrace of anti-immigrant policies.

I don't like the immigrant-bashing of people like Tom Tancredo, but I thought it was interesting that he was the only Republican to speak at the NAACP's candidate forum on July 12. Moreover, he got a decent reception, which confirms my observation that blacks are sympathetic to the anti-immigrant message. This is hardly surprising. Blacks have always viewed immigrants as competitors whether they were the Irish of the 19th century or the Hispanics of today. Furthermore, since the Hispanic population is larger and growing faster, I think that Democrats will tend to favor them over blacks in the future.

I believe that this will make African Americans receptive to Republican outreach. I also think that the losses Republicans are going to suffer next year are going to make them desperate to find new votes somewhere. I think they may find useful ammunition in my book when that day comes.

There's a great deal more I could say, but I don't want to preempt myself. The history is really quite interesting and there are a lot of colorful characters in the book like "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, a racist Democrat from South Carolina who once threatened to stick a pitchfork into Grover Cleveland for some reason or another. Regardless of what one thinks about the current stance of the two major parties on the race issue, the history is what it is and deserves to be better known. I hope people will find it of interest.

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