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The Loneliness of the Black RepublicanPragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power$
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Leah Wright Rigueur

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159010

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159010.001.0001

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The Challenge of Change

The Challenge of Change

Chapter Three The Challenge of Change
The Loneliness of the Black Republican

Leah Wright Rigueur

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes how Edward Brooke's election was a moment of profound achievement for both black Republicans and the larger Grand Old Party (GOP) apparatus. Viewed as a political phenomenon, he not only represented the abstract goals of the National Negro Republican Assembly (NNRA) but also captured an image that moderate and liberal Republican leaders had struggled to harness since Barry Goldwater's unnerving rise in 1964. For a party traumatized in the aftermath of defeat, Brooke provided much needed proof that moderate Republican candidates could appeal to an interracial cross section of the American public. Drawing on a broader black middle-class tradition of respectability politics, he won his elections by running a campaign that was simultaneously race neutral and race conscious—a paradox, to be sure, but one that allowed an interracial audience to embrace him and his politics.

Keywords:   Edward Brooke, black Republicans, Grand Old Party, NNRA, Barry Goldwater, American public, black middle-class, interracial audience, National Negro Republican Assembly, GOP

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