Skip to comments.The Republican Party's Black Problem
Posted on 02/03/2003 4:40:53 AM PST by rdb3
The indiscretion of Trent Lott reflected a problem that has long plagued the Republican Party: its consistent failure to court Black votes and to attract Black candidates. Many wondered how the Republicans could have allowed a Senator with ties to the Conservative Citizens Council to represent the party of Lincoln in the Senate. At the same time, many critics make the argument that its the Democrats who are the biggest hypocrites on race. Yet Republicans often fail to fight back when they are falsely portrayed as racists.
So what is it, exactly, that Republicans must do to solve their problem? Should the GOP make policy modifications in pursuing African American votes? If they make modifications, do they have any real chance of winning over Blacks? FrontPage Magazine's Jamie Glazov explores these issue in a special symposium held in commemoration of Black History Month.
Joining Frontpage Symposium today are Niger Innis, a conservative political commentator and the National Spokesman for CORE, a 60 year old civil rights organization; Carol M. Swain, a professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University who has just published her latest book, The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration; Richard Nadler, the President of Access Communications Group, a consultancy which specializes in African American and Spanish Language broadcast advertising for Republican and conservative groups; and Bill Hill (C.William Hill, Jr.), a Henry H. and Trudye Fowler Professor of Public Affairs at Roanoke College, where he is presently in his 33rd year of service. He is an active member of Republican Party organizations at the local, state, and national levels and is former chair of the Salem Republican Party.
The Republican Party's Black Problem
(1) Welcome to Frontpage Symposium Mr. Innis, Dr. Swain, Mr. Nadler and Dr. Hill. It is a great honor to have you here.
Lets start with the basics and see where the conversation goes: why do Republican efforts to court Black votes consistently fail? Why are there not more Black candidates in the Republican Party?
Nadler: What efforts? I just completed a campaign cycle in which I placed more than 11,000 pro-Republican issue ads on Black radio and BET TV in Missouri, Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Arkansas. Apart from Missouri, I didn't see any significant effort by any G.O.P. party or candidate organization to deploy the media that Blacks hear on a daily basis to communicate a conservative, pro-Republican message. What I saw instead were a lot of embarrassed white folk making affirmative action hires - "outreach directors" then handing them not a budget, but a bunch of dance cards to fill out.
What prevents Republicans from improving their performance among African Americans is not Black liberalism, not Black exceptionalism, but Black isolation. Democrats saturate Black media - which we hardly acknowledge - with visions of a Republican Reign of Terror, of actual physical threat. Repeated again and again, unopposed, on precisely the urban contemporary, soul and gospel stations that Blacks regularly tune into. But this vision supersedes reality.
Yes, it takes two to tango. This isolation persists because we let it. Republicans are too busy apologizing for heaven-knows-what to fight the one-party Democrat monopoly on its own turf. Regarding "more Black candidates" - When will we grow up? How stupid do we think Blacks are? They vote against Black Republicans as enthusiastically as against whites, because they've heard over and over that Republicans are the inheritors of the Klan, of the Slavocracy, of Jim Crow. The fact that Blacks regularly reject Black Republicans is proof that they [Republicans] are NOT racists.
Innis: Because Democrats have been more active and effective in demonizing the GOP, then the GOP has been in galvanizing black support. Historically the GOP has had two strategies in reference to reaching out to black voters and dealing with issues of race; one to do nothing or stick our heads in the sand or two, imitate Dems or reach out to the "usual suspects" (i.e. Newt Gingrich giving Jesse Jackson a seat at Clintons SOTU speech in 1996).
I think things are changing with President Bush who is committed to dealing with issues of race head on, while not compromising conservative principals or black conservative allies! Contrary to popular belief there are a record number of black Republicans being elected on the state level, even though we lost J.C. Watts in Congress. This is important because these individuals are the farm team from which future House and Senate and Gubernatorial candidates will spring.
Hill: I think the efforts themselves have often been desultory. Not until Bush has there been leadership from the top that actually invites African-Americans in a spirit that is willing to listen to what they have to say. Before, they were welcome if they signed on to the full conservative agenda, but otherwise they were left alone. Now I think there is a chance for a dialogue.
Swain: The Republican Party fails to attract blacks at the national level because actions speak louder than words. Some individual Republican candidates and governors have had more success in their states because they have provided black voters with a record that matches their rhetoric. Until the Republican Party actually starts demonstrating some of the compassionate conservatism it speaks of in its dealings with disadvantaged and working-class Americans it will continue to strike out with these groups.
The cost of running a competitive campaign for an open seat deters many would-be black Republican candidates. Few black candidates can tap into the financial resources needed to run a successful campaign in a majority-white geographical area. There is a direct correlation between candidate expenditures and the percentage of the vote a candidate receives. Why would anyone want to be a sacrificial lamb?
(2) What impact does the indiscretion of Trent Lott, or other Republican leaders, have on GOP attempts to connect with Blacks? How could the Republicans have allowed a Senator from Mississippi with ties to the Conservative Citizens Council to represent the party of Lincoln in the Senate?
Innis: Frankly speaking, what Trent said was relatively harmless. An irrelevant tribute to a 100 year old Senator whose own opinion of race has changed dramatically from 1948. His membership in the CCC was much more troubling to me. Of course Al Gore presiding over a memorial of Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder of the Klan) in Tennessee and Robert Byrd's sordid history is even more so.
As a black American man, I understand the victim syndrome first hand. I am open enough and intellectually honest enough to recognize that my people (black Americans) don't have a monopoly on the syndrome. Since the South lost the Civil War, white Southerners have fallen victim to that phenomenon. In some sense they have an inferiority complex to white northerners -- that has rapidly increased during the post-civil rights movement and their (sometimes unfairly generalized and stereotypical) depiction in modern culture, particularly Hollywood. The fact that these southerners have historically manifested their victimology on blacks in their proximity quite viciously, at times, is not lost to me. But it doesn't invalidate my theory. Perhaps it reinforces it.
Ironically at the same time, white and black southerners have a great deal more in common with one another (culture, values, etc.) then do blacks with whites anywhere else in the country. There is a degree of intimacy that the two communities have with each other that would surprise most.
Swain: Trent Lott's indiscretion will have minimal impact on the Republican Party's ability to connect with African Americans. I think many blacks were
pleasantly surprised at the almost unanimous condemnation he received from
conservatives . I believe that he should not have been forced to resign
for expressing views held by a segment of Americans who have either given up
on integration or never supported it in the first place. By forcing him to
resign and retract his views, we have missed a grand opportunity to start an
honest dialogue on race.
Lott is not the only politician in Congress who represents and shares the views of constituents we would call white supremacists, white racists, or white nationalists. I prefer to know the identities of my enemies and their friends. Individuals in positions of power can do far more damage operating underground with hidden agendas than they can do in open forums where alliances are known. I think Lott became a scapegoat for the sins of the Party.
I assume that Congressional Republicans selected him as their leader because
of a combination of factors, including his seniority and his legislative
Hill: First, let me say that Senator Lott was never my favorite Republican congressional leader, so I am glad that he is out of that position. If this answer is for a Canadian audience, let me suggest that U.S. parties are very pluralistic. There is no true central party. Anyone who wants to call himself or herself a "Republican" can do so. So there is no way to read people out of the party.
We tried with the benighted David Duke, but we still hear about that rotter. Similarly, if Republican Senators wanted Trent as leader, not even Republican Representatives could do anything about that. I have a hunch that Canadian parties might be more centralized and disciplined, but not as much as those in the U.K. So those of us who were not Senators were stuck with him and his unsavory connections were not in much evidence. Who knew he was going to self-destruct with stupid remarks? The truth of the matter, I suspect, is that he a bit of a wise guy and does not always mean what he says. But he got himself into the mud on his own, and it has been resolved well. African-Americans should be reassured that it was handled, for Republicans, expeditiously.
Nadler: As anyone knows who listens to Urban Contemporary stations on a regular basis, the Trent Lott affair had no impact on how Blacks regard the Republican Party. If the Lott affair had not existed, UC DJ's would have simply continued their jokes about Jeb Bush, Colin Powell, and brother George. If Trent Lott had not existed, they would have invented him.
The baseline assumption about Republicans is that we're all Klan until proven otherwise. I wish I were merely mouthing off, exaggerating, whatever; but believe me, I've spent too much time reviewing Black focus group tapes to indulge in delusions.
Republicans do not have issues in Black America: we ARE the issue. And until we go onto Black turf, and say who we are with persistence and passion, we will remain what the Democrats want us to be: the Bogeymen, the backdrop for scaring Black non-politicals to the polls.
The Trent Lott affair will not change one Black vote one way or the other: but it will send white Republicans whirling like dervishes in futile acts of ritual self-abasement in venues notable for the lightness of skin pigmentation
(3) Bush recently declared that University of Michigan admissions policies are unconstitutional because of their use of racial quotas. What is the significance here?
Hill: Bush properly has attacked a program whose sole intent (so far as I can tell) is to perpetuate an unconstitutional quota system. It is not precisely a quota, but it is clearly an irrational distinction that does more than just take race into account. (You do understand that under the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, as interpreted, violations of equal protection have to be defensible by criteria that the courts consider rationally related to the benefit sought.)
If race counted for less on their scale or if anyone actually read the applications (I heard on NPR that this is all done by computer) and then race were applied after considerations of merit were satisfied, I think they would have nothing to worry about. I think the Court is so likely to overturn the Michigan system, that Bush almost had to weigh in or be discredited as pandering. I usually look to statements of Colin Powell and J.C.Watts for guidance on these issues, but on this one I think Powell is a little out there and agree with Rice.
Personally, I agree with what I take to be Carol Swain's position that it is time that we put affirmative action on the basis of need and merit, not race. That would still benefit minority groups more, but it would target benefits to those who need the help most.
Swain: By declaring that the University of Michigan's undergraduate and law school admissions policies are unconstitutional because of their use of quotas, Bush has alienated a lot of Americans who were offended by his use of the
code-word "quotas," and he has missed an opportunity to make a more principled case for his opposition to racial preferences.
Nadler: I'm ever amazed at the "agreeable" nature of politicians: their reluctance to understand that there are some issues that you're simply not going to win with some groups. Few Republicans think that racial quotas like those employed by the University of Michigan are anything but detestable, but here go our "moderates," ready to sell out the position, and our conservatives, ready to write of the Black vote.
Affirmative action is a losing issue for the G.O.P. with Blacks in the same way that illegal immigrant benefits is a loser for us with Hispanics. In both cases, slightly under 50 percent of the minority in question agrees with the liberal position, and slightly under 50 percent disagree - but the pro-quota Blacks and the pro-benefits Hispanics are a lot more passionate about the issue.
But so what? The fact that Democrats have a few "winners" with minorities shouldn't paralyze our outreach. We have winners, too. How about taxes? How about school choice? How about National Defense? How about abortion? The 8 or 9 percent of the Black vote we're winning is 20, 40, and 60 points below the level of Black agreement with any Republican issue you can name.
We need to be courting our voters loudly, in the appropriate venues, on our regular platform issues, and attacking Democrat policy and leadership with a passion that equals their attacks on us. And if a statistical "loser" comes up, like quotas or capital punishment, we can play the final hand of the exhausted consultant: tell the damn truth.
Innis: It is part of what I call the new paradigm for the GOP on race. In the past Republicans would have either stayed on the sidelines and said nothing or caved in and supported quotas (like Bush 41 did in his term). Bush raised his head out of the sand and dealt with the question head on. Diversity Yes! Quotas no! He is single handedly moving Affirmative Action away from race (and gender, I hope) while strengthening it's ability to help those TRULY in need, regardless of their race. He already attempted to do just that with the 10percent program in Texas. Something that rewards achievement, not pigmentation. He and his wonderful administration are America's last hope to truly bring our country together.
(4) Why are Republicans reluctant to call racial preferences "racist"? After Bush intervened in the Michigan case, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell both appeared to come out in favour of racial preferences. Are the Republicans stuck between a rock and a hard place on this issue?
Innis: No. I think the President and Condi (not Powell) have it about right on the issue. While it is demeaning, artificial and down right racist to promote de facto or de jury racial quotas. What's worse is it doesn't do the job it's supposed to. It tends to reward people like myself (upwardly mobile middle class blacks, latinos or something that rarely is talked about, WHITE WOMEN). To steal the liberals line -- it is "Trickle Down" social policy. At the same time, while we should be moving to a color blind society, it would be foolish to think that we have already reached the destination. Race as a factor should be SEVERELY scrutinized, used as a last option (if at all),because it is constitutionally suspect and potentially dangerous to American Civilization. But to thoroughly rule it out completely, at this time, is naive. The President is moving in the right direction!
Hill: Come on. Why would anyone be willing to use such inflammatory language? Decent people don't talk that way except when the epithet is well earned. The State of Michigan is struggling with a real problem and diversity is a worthwhile goal.
I'll reserve "racist" for people in hoods or at least persons who are self-confessed. We can't look into another's soul. Besides, even if they are racist, maybe if we don't get their backs up, we can convince them not to be. We should always be willing, however, to draw judgements about actions that are unconstitutional, illegal, and/or immoral. For example, I work for a private college founded in 1842, which is located in a former Confederate State. The college is religiously affiliated, and I am a member of that denomination (ELCA). I think that we, or at least I, have a higher moral obligation than anything required by law or constitution to help make up for our institutional past. But I would not make that public policy.
Swain: With the exception of a few moral giants like Bill Bennett, the Republican leadership seems reluctant to stand up for a strong principled position on the issue of racial preferences to achieve diversity, despite the fact that it is the issue that many of them exploited to get elected.
How much is the ambiguous Republican position influenced by the changing racial demographics of the Country? How much of it is self interest? The system of racial preferences at elite institutions disproportionately advantages Blacks and Hispanics from more elite backgrounds such as Rice's, and it generously dispenses benefits to immigrants and immigrant off-spring who have no racial history in this country.
Our nation cannot continue to sustain racial preferences in higher education without creating intense resentment from white Americans whose percentage of the population is decreasing at a time when high immigration rates have combined with the offspring of the last wave of the baby boom generation to create fierce competition for freshman seats at top universities. If we are going to give extra points to anyone, they ought to be handed out to individuals selected on a race neutral basis.
Nadler: No, it's the Democrats who are caught. There are more whites than Blacks in this country, and if Democrats, in a fit of momentary enthusiasm, are big on preferences now, just wait until Fall 2004.
As a consultant, I'd use the word racist in designing ads for a general audience. I'd avoid the word racist in Black venues, because there "racist" means anti-Black. But the stupid thing about this argument is the assumption that Republicans are "caught" in it - i.e., that we cannot raise issues in the Black community, but must cower in fear of the next race-baiting onslaught.
One of my groups aired Spanish language ads questioning why Democrats were blocking President Bush's Hispanic nominees to the Federal Bench. Another aired a spot questioning why a white Democrat gubernatorial candidate was telling Black parents that they couldn't choose their kids schools.
Democrat policy is chock full of racial hypocrisy. Failing to raise these issues is not courtesy, but cowardice. And, by the way, I, Rich Nadler, am a Republican: racial preferences ARE racist.
(5) Why don't Republicans fight back when they are falsely portrayed as racists? Why do they let the Democrats get away with their hypocrisies on race?
Innis: Because of the "head in the sand" syndrome, I mentioned before. I think with the close relationship that my dad (Roy Innis) and I have with Sen. Frist and the administration and with guys like your very own David Horowitz out on the job, we are going to change that old pattern of behavior. NO MORE UNANSWERED JAMES BYRD NAACP ADS. NEVER AGAIN!
Hill: Good question. I think we will begin to see it. We needed a more representative critical mass of Black Republicans (who weren't Libertarian ideologues, much as I love them) to back our play. Democrats naturally run to shameless demagoguery on race, class, and gender more than Republicans. I agree with George Will who says that liberal vulgarity is the attempt to politicize all parts of life, while conservative vulgarity is the attempt to make everything pious. So it is easier to out-demagogue conservatives if you are vulgarly promising that government can cure everything from hangnails to afflictions of the human heart.
Swain: The Republican Party is composed of individuals from different parts of the country. Some of these individuals are racist. Others have been silenced by false accusations of racism, because of principled positions taken on issues such as affirmative action, slave reparations, crime, and school
choice etc. Democrats can get away with making borderline racist statements because it is easier for them to find black spokespersons such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to vouch for their integrity. There are racists and hypocrites in both political parties.
Nadler: Republicans do fight back. They say clever things on O'Reilly. They write condemnatory editorials in the Wall Street Journal, and their Congressmen deplore such practises on C-Span II. But aside from the groups my consultancy represents, I've never seen any Republican candidate or group vigorously counter-attack race-baiting in Black venues.
Organizations I represent have aired ads that refute Democrat accusations on racial profiling, hate crimes, and vote suppression, counter-attacking with passion and humor. I think that if Republicans really understood how maligned we are in the Black community - not on Donahue, but daily, on large Urban Contemporary stations - they'd take this problem more seriously. But to react effectively, you've got to react in the proper venue. And most Republicans just don't know where that is. Seriously, it is political suicide to leave racially charged accusations unanswered in minority venues. It is like a confession of guilt, or worse, of cowardice, which is disrespected in Black America far more than racism.
(6) Why don't Republicans focus more efforts on the Democrat-controlled inner cities and public schools? Why don't they blame Democrats for what's wrong in the inner cities that policy can affect?
Innis: This is indeed a quandary for the GOP. They do want to radically change things in the inner city schools. It blends nicely with their affirmative action stand. Change K-12 education, so there will be less of a need for affirmative action later. I believe the Pres. moved a historic education plan through Congress and it will help. But some are afraid of Vouchers. I believe so because they don't tend to be very popular with the much desired "SOCCER MOMS" of the suburbs. I think the GOP and conservatives have to make the connection, I just made, of ending affirmative action, by strengthening inner city options K-12. This may soften vouchers with suburban whites.
Hill: We have and are with school vouchers and other such choice initiatives. I was not aware that Republicans were deficient in finding fault with Democratic policy failures. Thanks for the insight: I'll work on that.
Swain: Because the national Republican Party has shown so little evidence of compassionate conservatism, it has little credibility when it attempts to address issues affecting the inner-cities. Its welfare reform bill, for example, with its emphasis on making mothers of small children work additional hours is more evidence of a party that does not practice what it preaches.
Nadler: Now you're singing my tune, or at least one of them. In 2002, we found that Republicans can make immediate progress by aggressively attacking Democrat leadership on schools, on taxes, on urban development policy, if it is done persistently and passionately on the great Urban Contemporary radio stations that command huge drive-time audience shares in all of our major cities.
A lot of good conservative candidates are attracted to this approach, but they are dissuaded from pursuing it by their campaign consultants, who believe that courting African American votes is not cost effective. They are wrong. What Access Communications Group found in its recent Meta-Study of 19 precinct-level Republcan issue broadcast campaigns is that the cost of a one-vote pro-GOP shift in the Democrat-minus-Republican margin within a given media area is roughly $16.
This is dirt cheap for marginal votes. But the real cost effectiveness of campaigning for Black votes has been masked by an historic misunderstanding: that aggressive Republican advertising increases minority turnout, swamping any top-line advantage in Republican vote share beneath "new" Democrat hordes. As one who placed more than 11,000 spots on Black media in the last cycle, and who has analyzed turnout in the affected areas precinct by precinct let me simply say: This is the OPPOSITE of the truth.
A vigorous Republican effort reduces Black turnout, not by suppression, but by discrediting Democrats, and by humanizing Republicans. These effects are large, they are ubiquitous, and they are easy to achieve. Once turnout effects are factored together with margin effects, an accurate cost-per-vote becomes calculable - and it is pretty cheap. The surprise ... is that this is a surprise. If we were discussing Martians rather than Blacks, and if we knew that their party-political allegiance diverged from their opinions by 20, 40 and 60 percent, we would conclude that campaigning among the Martians could be cost-effective. Or, if you don't believe in Martians, consider Catholics circa 1980...
(7) What kind of policy modifications should, or can, Republicans make in pursuing African American votes? If they make those, does the GOP have any real chance of winning over Blacks?
Innis: I think I answered this one, but simply. Bush and Frist are going the right way. Finding, promoting and creating new black leadership. Dealing with race head on! But not for a minute compromising conservative Republican principals while doing so. A recent poll taken by the Joint Center (a Black liberal think tank based in DC) showed that a majority of younger blacks consider themselves Republicans or independents. NOT DEMOCRATS. To reach that group, the GOP has to make attempts, but "KEEP IT REAL". In other words, stay true to the conservative agenda.
Hill: As I said, choice in regard to education and other governmental services, where it makes sense, is a good option. I do not seek, however, to strip public education or other services of resources. Yet, monopoly there (in combination with self-referential public employee unions) has resulted in genuine inattentiveness to public need. I endorse the Reinventing Government approaches of the last administration but would more consistently apply them. The unions make the Democratic Party a weak vessel for true reform in this area. (Just as the Republicans have a corporation problem: Yet, there are more corporations that are Democratic than there are public education interests willing to support Republicans.)
Swain: Whether the Republican Party can attract African-American voters depends on its sincerity and what it does to change its image of being racially insensitive and culturally elitist. Outreach to black churches and black conservatives will do little to improve its standing among ordinary African
The Republican Party can reach African Americans by supporting policies and programs that benefit all middle class and working-class Americans. It can show compassionate conservatism by either dropping its opposition to an increase in the federal minimum wage or by supporting a direct subsidy to the working poor that goes beyond the earned income credit. It can push for a cut in the Social Security payroll tax that disproportionately burdens the lowest wage workers. It can endorse an increase in federal financial assistance to educational programs and grants such as the Pell. It can offer more financial support to community colleges.
In short, the Republican Party can win over African Americans by demonstrating a genuine commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunity for all Americans. Winning over black voters will take time and it will take more than empty rhetoric and symbolism.
Nadler: Republicans don't have to alter their platform in any way whatever. The platform can potentially attract 20 to 30 percent more Black voters as is. What they have to do is stand and fight. They must assert their positions repeatedly in the proper venues. They must attack their foes with confidence and vigor. They must not let their fear of white liberals or weak-kneed Republicans, or bilious conservatives deter them.
Two years ago Ramesh Ponnuru and I contended in National Review that such a program would give Republicans a "real chance" to improve the G.O.P.'s minority performance. Today, this is not speculative: our program has worked 19 times in a row in Black communities, and 10 times in a row in Hispanic communities. The main obstacle to our success in minority communities is not their liberalism, not their exceptionalism, but their isolation - the cultural isolation of many Blacks, and the linguistic isolation of many Hispanics. But this is a free country, and the tools the Democrats have employed to foster this isolation can be deployed to collapse it.
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No need to campaign in Missouri, everybody hates Widow Carnahan. Daschle is an idiot, and South Dakota is a conservative state; John Thune is in like flint, so no need to advertise. Roy Barnes is too powerful as Georgia Governor, no need to waste effort trying to unseat him.
Let's use your logic. How, then, do you explain the middle and upper class blacks who continue to side with the Democratic party historically, and who are only now beginning to cross party lines in small numbers? They certainly have not received (as you put it) "a handful of foodstamps, a welfare check, and a few gallons of free home heating oil."
Are you saying that those thousands upon thousands are also selling out for patronizing lagniappe?
And while on the subject, are you also saying the hell with them, unless they make the first step? Isn't that akin to saying that you don't want them here on the right in the first place?
Are we here to amuse you?
This is an attempt at a serious discussion regarding expansion of our power, and the reduction of the power of the liberals who hold a stranglehold over much of the more reasoned blacks in this country. Blacks who, if they were to get out from under the thumb of the collective left, would see that there is a better way.
That is, unless you have no desire to see blacks participate in a bicameral political system.
What does that make me, chopped liver?
This is just plain not true. The baseline assumption is that we're all Klan even if proven otherwise.
Bush appoints blacks to positions of real power in his administration and is reviled by by the average black.
There is exactly what the GOP needs to do in regards to black outreach.
There are some here who feel that the party needs do nothing, and that blacks will automatically come to the right. But if you are trying to market a product, then you address whatever advertising or promotion of that product toward the audience that you are trying to attract or reach.
If the GOP wants to reach more blacks, then they have to gear that message in that fashion. And contrary to the less-enlightened here, we're not talking about pandering messages laced with pseudo-black ghetto speak. Well reasoned, logical arguments that address concerns that black Americans have, presented in a logical, intelligent fashion. And, no, I'm not referring to any sort of capitulation or modification of any of our core values.
This is not a matter of "the Dems get blacks 'cause they've offered something for nothing." The Democratic party has historically played on the fears of blacks. The average black voter truly belives that conservatives desire a return to Jim Crow era laws, and to subjugate blacks. This is the message that the liberals constantly promote and emphasize. And we let them put those lies out there!
We don't say 'Wait a minute! That is an outright lie! Let me show you the truth about the GOP...' We should. We must do that, in order to prevent the lies to continue to be told. The old saying is true: A lie told enough times becomes the truth.
I don't consider it so much as "Reaching Out to the Black Community" as "Reaching Out to Those Who Share our Values."
It only makes sense that we can reach out to Those Who Share Our Values by targeting buys and otherwise sharing our message in new media that we have yet to explore.
I don't see anything at all wrong with taking our message to radio stations popular with black Americans, advertising in predominantly Spanish newspapers, or granting interviews to predominantly white religious publications.
The point is to get our message out to like-minded people. Not to have those people have to come and find us.
BTW, I have very much enjoyed your insights for some time.
It sounds like these people are suggesting, and I haven't read the whole thing at this point, that we make our points on uban black radio. We need to tell them not only what we stand for but how that will effect them on a personal level and contrast it with the Demos policy which does nothing for Blacks.
This is a key point. People create a "world view" based on their perceptions and conceptions. Their conceptions are based on their perceptions. So if people hear on a daily basis lies about the Republicans, from radio and from slanted "news" coverage from liberal papers, this is what they are exposed to. They will tend to believe that all media, not just the media they listen to and read, has the same viewpoint. Or that what they listen to and read is normal (since after all, they're normal), and so any other views are "right-wing", or cracker, or whatever.
This is reality. FReepers are subject to this also. Someone who comes to this forum every day, and uses it as a primary news source, will end up with a particular viewpoint which they will believe to be true, and valid. Maybe it is. But be aware that other people have different views based on their media exposure.
If we really want to get the black vote to swing around, the Republican party is going to have to engage in a long term (4 to 8 year) campaign of placing ads on black radio and in black papers (as paid advertising.) Start simple and go from there. Remember, the population targeted has in general been "educated" in public schools and "churches" in poor districts with all kinds of liberal and foolish stuff in the past (ebonics, egyptions were black people, only white people were slave traders, God is black and white people are evil "ice people", etc.)
I don't know much about advertising, but I could visualize something simple like:
"You have heard much bad about Republicans being Klan, keeping black people down, hating black people. Here are some facts...
It was Republicans who voted for the 1964 civil rights amendment, and Democrats who voted against it. (Give some details.)
Ad paid for by "Republicans for Truth" (or something like that.)
Each ad should have the same intro and conclusion, and a different "factoid" in it. Each ad should run for 30 seconds. The ads should not be targeted for election cycles but should instead be run all the time, every week.
Newspaper ads in black papers should be longer with more detail. Start simple and get more detailed over time.
This approach would provoke discussion in the black community. In the beginning it would be laughed at. But over time it would get the point across. It would provoke more and more discussion. And as long as it was rigorously true then it would work.
Believe me, otherwise nothing will change. People believe what their conceptions tell them. Their conceptions are based on their perceptions. If there is no positive information about Republicans entering their perceptions, then they will never change their viewpoints.
School vouchers are the first of those two initiatives. School vouchers are such a compelling idea that over time they will be implemented. How can they not be implemented?! Inner city schools are failing and inner city tax bases are declining, so parents are going to have to look outside the inner city for solutions. Eventually that search for a solution will land on the vouchers idea, thus drawing in many inner city parents to the Republicans who are backing said vouchers.
The other major initiative is faith-based charity. Over time this initiative will win over a portion of Black churches, especially those churches who do real work for the homeless and hungry in the inner cities.
Frankly, I expect that the demonization of the Republican party will continue to accelerate in the meantime, however, as the Democrats realize that they must hold onto the Black vote at all costs.
Nonetheless, over time such demonizations will inevitably backfire. Portraying Bush as a racist Klan freak intent on lynching Blacks is simply not going to "play well" over time. Likewise, demonizing the very Party that is offering the school vouchers that are needed to get Black kids into good private schools can hardly be continued ad infinitum.
Further, there is likely to be some "point" in time in which the demonizations of the past become noticeably counter-productive. When we reach that point, then we'll see Blacks willing to re-evaluate their traditional loyalties. En masse, they will (at that point) begin to see that their pro-life views align more with Republicans than with Democrats. They will begin to see that their pro-gun views do similarly, and the same goes for their strong national defense views.
Moreover, once that "point" in time is reached, Blacks will begin, en masse, to question the Democratic Party's eugenic, environment-over-jobs, anti-housing (ie urban sprawl) views, in my opinion.
But getting to that "point" will require that Republicans be visible (even outside the political world) in Black communities (e.g. building houses, fighting crime, helping charities). It's much harder to demonize the people who you know, after all.
But even with great pro-Black ideas such as vouchers, Republicans aren't going to reach that "point" anytime soon, and they certainly aren't going to get there if all the Republicans isolate themselves in their suburban and rural paradises (leaving inner-cities to rot).
So we've got a long way to go, granted.
With that said, however, at least we do have a positive plan for getting there that doesn't require lying or demonizing our opposition. Vouchers WILL fix the inner-city school problem. Faith-based charities WILL solve many of our charitable dilemas in the inner-cities. Pro-Life judges and laws WILL ease the war on Black children, etc.
2008 to 2012 will probably see an end to the current 90% Democratic Party vote from the Black community, such that each political contest is decided on the person more than the Party even in the most urban of districts (but don't kid yourself, there are powerful players who won't like an end to "bloc voting" habits at all, so expect their rhetoric and actions to heat up in the meantime).
I'm VERY thankful, however, for the 10% of Blacks who are already ahead of that forthcoming trend. I hope that they are rewarded with positions of power and influence far in advance of their own percentages in our Party, as they are the ones who have been with us through our bleakest hour when it would have been far easier (and more popular for them) to have "gone with the flow" rather than stand up for principle.
"You have heard much bad about Republicans being Klan, keeping black people down, hating black people. Here are some facts... It was Republicans who voted for the 1964 civil rights amendment, and Democrats who voted against it. (Give some details.) Ad paid for by "Republicans for Truth" (or something like that.)
I agree with your approach. Jim Crow, the KKK, segregation, were all rooted in the Democratic Party, and this needs to be stated explicitly, again and again. It was the Republican Party that fought these battles, on the side of the angels, for a hundred years. Not for partisan advantage, for at the time there was none, but because that is who we are.
The point needs to be made that, while a couple of well-known segregationists left the Dems for the Repubs, all of the rest remained within the Dem party. That while one well known KKK'er ran as a Repub, and was universally rejected by party members, all of the rest of the KKK remained in the Dems.
I am tired of seeing Repubs running like little girls everytime the race issue comes up. They seem to have lost their ability to defend a philosophical position.
I seldom hear, for example, an articulate explanation of our devotion to "limited government" from any candidate. Instead, you get simple calls for "tax cuts", which is really just short-hand, which explains nothing to anyone who doesn't already understand the underlying philosophical position. It sounds as if Repubs only know how to talk about money, and that plays to all the prejudices about us.
Similarly, when race comes up, Repub candidates almost to a man seem to suddenly need to study their shoes, change the subject, leave the room, when on the contrary, we are the party who believes in liberty, and color-blind citizenship. And have the track record to prove it.
Believe it or not, I don't talk all the time...
T-minus 40 days until the birth of Tha SYNDICATE, the philosophical heir to William Lloyd Garrison.
101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that Internet Explorer cannot.