Thursday, August 14, 2014

As GOP Courts Black Voters, Is Showing Up Enough?

Source: (

Eighty percent of success, as the famous saying goes, is simply about showing up. That’s also true in politics, especially when a political party is trying to improve its standing with African Americans after losing the black vote by a whopping 87 percentage points in 2012. Since that last presidential election, the Republican Party has:
  • reactivated dormant and chartered new College Republican chapters on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities as part of the RNC’s “Growth and Opportunity Project”; -- hired key staffers to do additional outreach to the African-American communities in 14 states, including North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida;
  • deployed RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to address key audiences like the National Urban League and the National Association of Black Journalists at their conventions last month. “We have become a national party that has decided that it's OK to show up once every four years, five months before an election,” Priebus told the National Association of Black Journalists, acknowledging the GOP’s lack of engagement in the past.
“At the RNC, we’re optimistic and determined,” said Orlando Watson, the RNC’s Communications Director for Black Media. “Our goal is to compete for each and every black voter through non-stop engagement effort.”

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My View: The Party needs more concise policy proposals for dealing with issues ailing our cities and ethnic communities. Of course, this is going to be hard for Republicans because many of their districts aremajority-white. They don't see it as their problem. It does, however, become [their problem] when they loose presidential elections. Showing up will only take you so far; at some point you have to deal with the “elephant in the room” (i.e. specific policy proposals that empower these particular communities).  In other words: how does one start to talk about the benefits of tax cuts to people who aren't taxpayers because they don’t have jobs? You have to confront the latter before turning to the former. In districts where there are plenty of jobs and businesses the tax cuts argument is going to make more sense.
This is why it's essential that the party create a separate platform targeted with laser like precision at cities and minority communities. It must center on upward mobility and providing conservative alternatives to the Left. The recent championing of Uber and our strong support for school choice are but a few examples of how Conservatives can win when we offer minorities and city folk real options to real problems. Some issues esp. police brutality and mandatory minimums are probably best handled by Libertarian activist because many conservatives are too "pro-cop".  Right on Crime is one conservative advocacy group that is doing great work on this and other issues.That said, there appears to be some inklings of a platform targeted at African-Americans, but it hasn't really taken shape. Tara Wall, a spokeswoman for the RNC hints at it in the below interview when she says, “We have senators like Rand Paul that are talking about restoring voting rights for felons and prison entry programs under [former Virginia] Gov. McDonnell that are instrumental in some of our communities in getting people back on their feet, back into society, back into being responsible, productive citizens”.

I should also add that the party needs to also do a better job of empowering working class and poor whites communities too. It may surpise many, but in places like Appalachia poverty is shockingly worse than in our urban cities. The only irony is that many of these poor whites vote Republican.