Should Cao Join the Black Caucus?
Ahn “Joseph” Cao is not black nor Democrat but should he join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)?
Cao hasn’t officially approached the caucus for membership but odds are an invitation won’t be extended to him. Members of the CBC aren’t talking, but longtime Caucus watchers think it won’t happen but doesn’t think the idea of Cao joining is too farfetched.
In the Times Picayune University of London’s political scientist Robert Singh said “It seems odd that someone representing a majority, or even heavily black, district would still be refused.” and Vanderbilt University Law Professor Carol Swain said, “If the purpose of the caucus is to advance the interests of a group that is seen as disenfranchised or plagued with more serious problems than other Americans, then the membership should not be based on the racial characteristics of the member, but on the makeup of the district.”
But the CBC has kept out people before that didn’t meet their criteria. Former Connecticut Republican Gary Franks was labeled a traitor because he didn’t always agree with the viewpoints of other members. He was excluded from meetings until finally he left the group.
White Congressmen have also tried to join. Stephen Cohen, a liberal white Democrat from Memphis Tennessee represents a majority black district. He received a negative reaction when he tried to join that he decided to back off because he didn’t want to antagonize political allies.
Cao can join the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus(CAPIC). CAPIC is inclusive and has two members of African American descent. Al Green (D, TX) and Robert C. Scott. Scott is of African American, Hispanic and Filipino ancestry but both men represent districts that have a considerable Asian constituency.
The Congressional Hispanic American Caucus exclusively has Hispanic members.
From the Times Picayune:
Michael Fauntroy, a political scientist at George Mason University whose uncle, Walter, formerly belonged to the Congressional Black Caucus as the longtime delegate to Congress from the District of Columbia, said he felt Cao’s bid for caucus membership was “a very smart move on his part.”
“It sends a message to black voters in his district that, even though he’s a Republican, he is doing more than just paying lip service to the history of the district,” said Fauntroy. “I don’t expect it to work out, but if it doesn’t, to me the caucus will look bad on this.”