NYT: ON the morning of March 6, 1989, Lee Atwater, the Republican National Committee chairman and the manager of George Bush’s presidential campaign — which had made use of race-baiting ads featuring Willie Horton, a black convicted rapist and murderer, to scare white people into voting Republican — had been appointed to Howard University's board of trustees. After three days of protests, Mr. Atwater resigned from the board.

The party that hopes to attract black students is the party whose congressional leadership filed a baseless lawsuit against the first African-American president. It is the party whose representatives allied with birthers who demanded that the president prove his citizenship. It is the party that has endorsed the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act and made it more difficult for the very people it is courting to actually cast a ballot for its candidates. Senator Rand Paul himself has expressed ambivalence about enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Republican Party now faces the same dilemma: whether its interest in black voters might ever outweigh its investment in the reactionary politics of race.