The Republicans and the Black Vote

Stories like this one, about black evangelicals' flirtation with the GOP, are a reminder that the declining salience of racial politics - which Paul Krugman thinks will deliver the country back to the Democrats - could theoretically end up cutting in the GOP's favor in certain respects, as middle-class, socially-conservative African-American voters become more comfortable with the idea of voting for Republicans. So are blog posts like this one, from Fred Siegel, who notes that even at a moment rife with bad news about downward mobility among African-Americans, old-fashioned racial politics are playing almost no role in the Democratic primary campaign. And so are numbers like these, from a Pew survey on African-American public opinion:

A 53% majority of African Americans say that blacks who don't get ahead are mainly responsible for their situation, while just three-in-ten say discrimination is mainly to blame. As recently as the mid-1990s, black opinion on this question tilted in the opposite direction, with a majority of African Americans saying then that discrimination is the main reason for a lack of black progress.

One of these years, these kind of shifts will produce a spike in the Republican Party's miniscule share of the black vote. But I'm pretty sure that 2008 isn't going to be that year.