March 3, 2016

Last year, we speculated that Kentucky Republicans won the Governor’s Office based on an ad campaign reaching out to African -Americans by highlighting support for school choice.

Here is more evidence on the power of school choice as a winning issue in elections. According to a recent poll, ”65 percent support private school choice (32 percent oppose), when those surveyed were asked if they support, “opportunity scholarships, also known as school vouchers.”

The poll showed very strong support for school choice among Hispanic, black and young voters. But polls are just theory. So what happens in practice?

Rick Scott is a tax cutting, budget chopping, anti-amnesty Governor in Florida who rose to fame ripping ObamaCare. You might not think he would have much appeal to African -American voters. However, Governor Scott doubled his share of the black vote from 6% to 12% between 2010 and 2014. And he did it running on giving parents more education options for their children. His 61,000 vote increase among blacks accounted for almost all of Governor Scott’s victory margin.

From the Sun Sentinel, “In 2010, Scott received 6 percent of Florida’s black vote. This time he got 12 percent, a statistical difference of roughly 61,000 votes. Scott beat his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in a razor thin 48-47 percent election — a difference of about 66,000.

“That was the reason why Rick Scott won that election,” Kevin Chavous, a one-time city councilman and now executive counsel for the American Federation of Children, a pro-school choice group told The Washington Examiner. “He really had no base of support in the African-American community but for this one issue.”

School choice is one issue where the interests of black Americans and the Republican Party could overlap. Blacks want a better education for their children. The GOP needs to chip at the Democratic Party’s most loyal voting blocs if they hope to win more elections”

Governor McCrory and the conservative majority should go big on school choice. Good policy. Good politics.