Republicans To Celebrate Passage of AIDS Bill at Gala, Hope Event Will Attract More Black Voters
Republican congressional leaders plan to celebrate the recent passage and signing of the five-year, $15 billion global AIDS bill (HR 1298) tomorrow with a two-hour gala event on Capitol Hill, an effort Republicans hope will attract more black voters, the Washington Times reports. Armstrong Williams, a conservative African-American columnist and talk show host, said that Republicans should be able to connect with more black voters because the party has "always championed the little guy," according to the Times. Events like tomorrow's gala will help Republicans gain a "toehold" among black voters, according to Williams. "AIDS is the holocaust of Africa," Williams said, adding, "What we wanted to do was celebrate the passage of that bill, and get the (Republican) leadership interacting with the entire diplomatic corps of the African nations." Democrats said that the Republican strategy will not be effective and is not really designed to gain black support but rather to convince white swing voters that Bush is more moderate than he appears, according to the Times. John Logan, director of the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at the State University of New York-Albany, said that Republican efforts to tout the global AIDS bill will not significantly affect the black vote because blacks tend to vote more on domestic issues than on foreign policy issues. "I think it's a step in the right direction," Logan said, adding, "By itself, it will have a short-lived impact." Williams said that the effect of Republican-supported measures such as the global AIDS bill will show Democrats that they can no longer take the black vote for granted. "We won't see the full impact in 2004, but we will in future elections," Williams said. The ambassadors of eight sub-Saharan African countries are expected to attend the gala and talk show host Montel Williams will serve as master of ceremonies (Lakely, Washington Times, 6/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.