I have to say, this one really puzzles me. The Republican presidential candidates are skipping the debates hosted by Tavis Smiley and it’s not clear to me what their thinking is here. In case you’ve missed this story in the news, here’s the lede from today’s New York Times’ story by Michael Cooper:
As the Democrats debated last night in New Hampshire, a debate broke out about the decision of the leading Republican presidential hopefuls to skip a televised forum tonight that focuses on issues important to black and Hispanic voters.
None of the leading Republican candidates plan to attend the forum, which the television host Tavis Smiley will moderate at Morgan State University in Maryland and which will be broadcast live on public television. All the leading Democratic candidates attended a similar debate moderated by Mr. Smiley in June at Howard University in Washington.
Don’t get me wrong…it’s not that I think the presidential candidates care, especially, about Black and Hispanic people, but I have come to expect a certain level of Machiavellian strategizing from the Republicans. It seems to me that they’d want to at least appear to be interested in voters who are also Black and Hispanic. Curious.