Why Black People Need to Pay Attention to the Iowa Caucus
1 year ago
GOP candidates are talking about African Americans but we aren't hearing it
When Rick Santorum said at a gathering in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday that he didn’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them welfare, the comments hardly caused a ripple in the momentum of the former U.S. Senator’s campaign.
In fact, the comments may have just boosted it.
"I was in Indianola a few months ago and I was talking to someone who works in the department of public welfare here, and she told me that the state of Iowa is going to get fined if they don't sign up more people under the Medicaid program," Santorum said. "They're just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you dependent upon them so they can get your vote. That's what the bottom line is.
"I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money,” he added. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."
Over 100,000 voters will have a major impact on the Republican party’s presidential nomination when the Iowa Caucuses convene Monday night, and Santorum’s comments and continued momentum in the race’s 11th hour prove why more African Americans should take note of the campaign kickoff.
Santorum later told CBS that he wasn’t sure of the context his statements were made in. What is clear most people of color aren't really paying attention to Santorum. In fact coverage of the caucus in black media has been lukewarm. There is no question that since President Obama is holding down the democratic ticket that many black voters have been tuned out to the campaign rhetoric. Herman Cain kept up entertained for a minute but without him the rest of the candidates are just white noise. Gone unchallenged, comments like Santorum's can lead to bigger problems for blacks.
This was not Santorum's first pointed racial remarks. Last year, he mis-characterized President Barack Obama’s view on abortion and criticized him on the basis of race.
"I find it almost remarkable for a Black man to say 'now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people,'" Santorum said of Obama.