This is how the Republican Party chooses to celebrate Black History Month?
The ever-shifting mitosis and meiosis of congressional redistricting, municipal restructuring, and the persistent churn of resignations, reappointments, and other unforeseen circumstances make pinning down exactly how many open seats there in government at any given time a uniquely Herculean task. One expansive estimate claims there are more than half a million total elected positions in the United States, when you go from the White House, through Congress, to state and county officials, and all the way down to hyper-local races like school boards, township governments and, yes, dog catchers.
The point is, there are a lot of opportunities to run for office. So many, in fact, that you’d think someone at the Republican Party’s comm’s office would have stopped for a moment and asked themselves “is this something we really want to brag about?” before hitting send on the following tweet:
Now, if I were a political party increasingly dependent on a white, conservative base, I would simply choose not to brag about a “record number” of total Black Republican candidates across the country that equals the number of Black Democratic women already serving in just the Georgia state legislature alone. And to be clear, the GOP isn’t bragging about the number of nominees the party is currently fielding. They’re talking about anyone simply running in a Republican primary — which is to say, the number of Black Republican candidates can and very likely will get even smaller once those primaries are done and the official nominees are selected.
Let’s do some quick, real rough back of a napkin math though, shall we? And, for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that the GOP’s boast of “over” 40 people means ... 41.
- 41 primary candidates out of the half a million elected offices in this country is 0.0082%.
But not all those positions are up for election this cycle. So let’s take a plausible (but, admittedly, arbitrary) quarter of that total: 125,000 open roles.
- 41 primary candidates out of the theoretical total of 125,000 open roles is just 0.0328%.
Okay, let’s slice this pie a different way: How about if the GOP is only talking about candidates the running for a state position? There are 18,749 of those.
- 41 primary candidates out of 18,749 positions is 0.218%.
Meanwhile, 13% of current representatives in the House are Black, which roughly corresponds to the overall percentage of Black people in the United States. Overall, there are 59 Black lawmakers across both the House and the Senate — all but three of whom are Democrats.
And again: The GOP isn’t talking about elected officials, or even just actual nominees! Only primary candidates. Now you start to see what a spectacular self-own the GOP’s tweet actually is. Their record slate of Black candidates amounts to a fraction of a percent. This is how they chose to celebrate Black History Month, to the point they slapped the hashtag on their tweet and everything. Yikes.