Have you been following the North Carolina Senate Race? To be totally honest, we haven’t. Until now! This week, it came to light that the GOP nominee for Senate in North Carolina, Thom Tillis had some interesting things to say back in 2012 during an interview with the Carolina Business Review.
Carolina Business Review host Chris Williams asked Tillis:
“Let’s start fairly broad with the Republican Party. You watch— and probably see many more— polls than I do or we do in general. When you watch what’s happening in presidential politics. When you see this shift that Hispanics used to be in the Republican Party and now they’re clearly on the other side of the aisle —when you see all of these things that have transpired, what do you think about? what is going on in the Republican Party?”
To which Tillis responded:
“Well I think it has more to do what’s going on in the demographics of this country and recognizing that and then having a platform and a message that resonates. If you take a look, you mentioned the Hispanic population —the African American population, there’s a number of things that our party stands for that they embrace. I think we have to do a better job of communicating it. I think we have to do a better job of being out there in between elections, garnering support for the things that we’re trying to advance. And I think that we need a focus on limited government and free markets which is something that’s appealing to everybody. That kind of work will position us for those growing sectors. The traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable. It’s not growing. The African American population is roughly growing but the Hispanic population and the other immigrant populations are growing in significant numbers. We’ve got to resonate with those future voters.”
So…according to Tillis the traditional population of North Carolina is stable. By contrast, minority populations are growing. So, if our deductive logic is correct, that means that when Tillis is taking about ‘traditional’ populations, he’s really using the words as a stand in for…white, right?
Tillis’ team wants you to know that that isn’t what he meant–after all–he was trying to court minority voters, not turn them off. As his campaign manager told Talking Points Memo:
“‘Traditional’ North Carolinians refers to North Carolinians who have been here for a few generations.”
The only problem with that logic is that much of North Carolina’s black population has been there for a few generations. In fact, North Carolina’s black population hasn’t changed much in almost 40 years.
And he was also wrong when he said that the traditional population is stable… the white population is actually growing, it’s just not growing as fast as the Hispanic population. So what we’re really talking about is proportions, and how those proportions can swing an election.
If Tillis really wants to reach minority voters–his messaging needs to be…How can we put it? LESS TRADITIONAL.