Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How The GOP Can Win Black Votes: Actually Talk to Black People

 

How should Republicans go about winning over black voters? Most of the articles I’ve seen with similar titles tend to offer a high overarching view of how Republicans should go about winning over more black voters than an actual plan on how to go about it.

What would an actual plan for this look like? How do you put into action? Where do you need to go? Who do you need to see and talk to? What arguments should you push? What pitfalls should you look out for?

The following – imagining myself advising Brad Parscale – is my attempt to answer these questions.

1. Talk to black people.

For establishment Republican campaign “experts” like Steve Schmidt, Stuart Stevens, John Weaver, etc. this means meeting with the NAACP, having a summit with the Congressional Black Caucus, etc. I, on the other hand, literally mean, talk to black people.

Note that Schmidt and his fellow high society “experts” will be among the most vociferous critics of any serious attempt by the GOP to engage with black voters.

A neutral observer of Republican campaigns for the Presidency and statewide offices in the last four decades could be forgiven for believing that there’s some sort of gentleman’s agreement between the GOP’s most elite cadre of campaign runners and advisers and the Democrat Party’s own operatives that has top Republican campaign planners, as a matter of deliberate policy, actively sabotage and shut down any meaningful attempts by their principals to challenge Democrats for the votes of blacks, Hispanics, etc.

According to reports, Rick Scott had to fight tooth and nail throughout his campaign against his own campaign staff who were unhappy at his decision to fight for the Hispanic vote during his ultimately successful Senate campaign to unseat Bill Nelson in 2018.

In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s tweets on the undeniably deplorable living conditions in Elijah Cummings’ district, Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson retraced the amazing Kim Klacik’s footsteps and took a walking tour of West Baltimore, speaking to dozens of Cummings’ ignored constituents.

The Trump Campaign should do something similar, but push it a step further and invite selected residents from West Baltimore and similar blighted minority-majority neighborhoods across the country to a series of townhall “conversations,” including, I suggest, a few at the White House. Two to three times a month. I’d advise that they are catered events and transportation should be offered to a select number of invitees who wouldn’t be able to make it otherwise.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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There are 33 comments.

  1. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    One argument that, IMHO, doesn’t work is downsizing government. A large share of the black middle class is made up of government workers. 

    I would think crime and gun ownership would be better. The issue of prison population is one I don’t get. The black male prison share has a lot of bad actors. Maybe plea bargaining, which is a scandal, would work better. Also, abuse of small violations like littering and code violations is what primed the black population of Ferguson MO to support riots. That, I understand, is common in the St Louis area where property values and taxes are down. Again, an argument for talking to the population, not the poverty pimps like The Black Caucus or NAACP.

    • #1
    • September 2, 2019, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s tweets on the undeniably deplorable living conditions in Elijah Cummings’ district, Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson retraced the amazing Kim Klacik’s footsteps and took a walking tour of West Baltimore, speaking to dozens of Cummings’ ignored constituents.

    ?? Tell us more!

    • #2
    • September 2, 2019, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Oh… new member. Welcome! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

     

    • #3
    • September 2, 2019, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    If we’re going to talk, we have to acknowledge that this is a negotiation, not just an explanation of how we think. The talk will go nowhere unless we spell out our bottom lines and accept that they’re going to do the same. What are we willing to change or give up? If the answer is “nothing”, then don’t waste their time or our own. Mike Kennedy raises a key point: there are cases where our interests actually do diverge and that can’t be papered over, like the size of government. 

    I don’t see any advantage for us with guns. I worked in Black areas of New York and sometimes in Los Angeles. The slogan “An armed society is a polite society” sounds great, but it’s as ludicrous as “You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms”. Glib, slick, and false. They already live in an armed society and it’s not polite. If “less guns” is a fake answer, so is “more guns”. Better to leave it alone. 

    Completely drop “You’re just on the Democrats’ plantation” as an argument. It makes some conservatives feel good to say that, but it’s poison if you actually want to talk. Don’t ask me, ask John McWhorter and others who should know. Like us being called “bitter clingers” or “deplorables”, it insults and irritates the hell out of Blacks without winning any of them over. Drop the “P” word. 

    Blacks are more likely to live in cities than most conservatives. Focus on solving city problems. 

    • #4
    • September 2, 2019, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. philo Member

    Welcome to Ricochet, Mr. Knight. I have followed (and enjoyed) your commentary in a similar (but now more rundown) neighborhood for quite a while now.

    • #5
    • September 2, 2019, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    If “less guns” is a fake answer, so is “more guns”. Better to leave it alone. 

    Could be. I just don’t know but I recall Frederick Douglass.

     “A man’s rights rest in three boxes,” he said. “The ballot box, jury box, and the cartridge box. Let no man be kept from the ballot box because of his color. Let no woman be kept from the ballot box because of her sex.”

    Frederick Douglass.

    Another topic best dealt with by asking opinion.

    • #6
    • September 2, 2019, at 12:34 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. MartinKnight Inactive
    MartinKnight

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump’s tweets on the undeniably deplorable living conditions in Elijah Cummings’ district, Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson retraced the amazing Kim Klacik’s footsteps and took a walking tour of West Baltimore, speaking to dozens of Cummings’ ignored constituents.

    ?? Tell us more!

    I can show you; https://mobile.twitter.com/bennyjohnson/status/1155933972754395137

    • #7
    • September 2, 2019, at 12:36 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. MartinKnight Inactive
    MartinKnight

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    If we’re going to talk, we have to acknowledge that this is a negotiation, not just an explanation of how we think. The talk will go nowhere unless we spell out our bottom lines and accept that they’re going to do the same. What are we willing to change or give up? If the answer is “nothing”, then don’t waste their time or our own. Mike Kennedy raises a key point: there are cases where our interests actually do diverge and that can’t be papered over, like the size of government.

    I don’t see any advantage for us with guns. I worked in Black areas of New York and sometimes in Los Angeles. The slogan “An armed society is a polite society” sounds great, but it’s as ludicrous as “You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms”. Glib, slick, and false. They already live in an armed society and it’s not polite. If “less guns” is a fake answer, so is “more guns”. Better to leave it alone.

    Completely drop “You’re just on the Democrats’ plantation” as an argument. It makes some conservatives feel good to say that, but it’s poison if you actually want to talk. Don’t ask me, ask John McWhorter and others who should know. Like us being called “bitter clingers” or “deplorables”, it insults and irritates the hell out of Blacks without winning any of them over. Drop the “P” word.

    Blacks are more likely to live in cities than most conservatives. Focus on solving city problems.

    I have to agree with you on the “plantation” point. I cringe whenever I hear/read it. 

    • #8
    • September 2, 2019, at 12:41 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Henry Castaigne Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    MichaelKennedy CoolidgeMichaelKennedy

    One argument that, IMHO, doesn’t work is downsizing government. A large share of the black middle class is made up of government workers. 

    Government workers won’t vote for the GOP. We shouldn’t focus on them. But I’m thinking of working people who have to deal with sub-par government services. We need to go hard on school choice. That’s the biggest point of disagreement between black-Americans and the Democratic Party. It also lets conservatives describe how corrupt and incompetent the government can be and how competition is good.

    • #9
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. thelonious Member

    A big problem is a high percentage of blacks live in overwhelmingly Democrat districts. Many gerrymandered to ensure a black representative. It doesn’t make much sense financially for the Republicans to try to go after most of the black vote because it doesn’t really matter if a Republican gets a higher percentage of the black vote if the Democrat is going to win a landslide. Put more blacks in more mixed districts where their vote can make or break a winner or loser you’ll see more resources going for black outreach. 

    • #10
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  11. thelonious Member

    I’d be interested to know how many black people live in Republican districts. I’d bet it’s a pretty low percentage.

    • #11
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:34 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There are always tradeoffs in life, and in certain areas of life Blacks draw the tradeoff line differently than we do. They’re willing to take less freedom in exchange for more security.

    That’s no different than sub-groups of whites. The Catholics I grew up with were big on joining the civil service–cops and firemen, sure, but any branch of city government. We were, most of us, in unions. The Catholic church has generally been socially conservative but economically liberal. The AFL-CIO wasn’t loved, but it was perceived as protecting our interests. Making some abstract argument about Adam Smith or Galt’s Gulch would have fallen on deaf ears in our neighborhood. 

    • #12
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:38 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  13. Goldgeller Member

    Interesting thread. 

    • #13
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Stad Thatcher

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Blacks are more likely to live in cities than most conservatives. Focus on solving city problems.

    I agree. The biggest problem is most major cities are run by Democrats, largely elected by the black vote. And it’s this primary problem (Dems in charge) that causes all the rest . . .

    Oh, and more guns in the hands of honest, determined citizens is always better.

    • #14
    • September 2, 2019, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. E. Kent Golding Member

    To win more Black votes, I would do two things.

    1.  Run candidates in hopeless democrat districts and have them actually campaign there. The candidates will lose, but the the people in the districts will be exposed to republican ideas, and will be asked to vote for republican candidates. Asking people for their votes shows respect, and showing respect is a first step towards being accepted. There are reasons Black people think we don’t respect them, and one of those reasons is that we don’t ask them for their votes. This is a long term investment that will show little short term results.
    2. Throw lots of money and organizational support behind Black republican candidates. The democrats want to maintain the idea that Blacks are monolithically liberal democrats, so they throw lots of money and organizational support behind destroying Black ( and female, and other ethnic ) republican candidates. The republicans love to run Black candidates, but then give them insufficient financial and organizational support — we hang them out to dry, and the democrats exert extreme energy to destroy them. More successful Black republican office holders will get the attention of Black America and give them the idea that they have an alternative to the democrat party.
    • #15
    • September 2, 2019, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. DaleGustafson Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Blacks are more likely to live in cities than most conservatives. Focus on solving city problems.

    I agree. The biggest problem is most major cities are run by Democrats, largely elected by the black vote. And it’s this primary problem (Dems in charge) that causes all the rest . . .

    Oh, and more guns in the hands of honest, determined citizens is always better.

    Pretty sure the bold faced comment doesn’t fit Seattle or Portland.

    • #16
    • September 2, 2019, at 2:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    Two words: School Choice! That’s how we get our foot in the door. From there we could expand on freedom, the benefits of federalism/limited government/competition, etc.; all while pointing out the glaring, multi-generational failure of Democrat policies.

    • #17
    • September 2, 2019, at 2:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DaleGustafson (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Blacks are more likely to live in cities than most conservatives. Focus on solving city problems.

    I agree. The biggest problem is most major cities are run by Democrats, largely elected by the black vote. And it’s this primary problem (Dems in charge) that causes all the rest . . .

    Oh, and more guns in the hands of honest, determined citizens is always better.

    Pretty sure the bold faced comment doesn’t fit Seattle or Portland.

    It doesn’t fit NYC or L.A. either. 

    • #18
    • September 2, 2019, at 2:58 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. MartinKnight Inactive
    MartinKnight

    thelonious (View Comment):

    A big problem is a high percentage of blacks live in overwhelmingly Democrat districts. Many gerrymandered to ensure a black representative. It doesn’t make much sense financially for the Republicans to try to go after most of the black vote because it doesn’t really matter if a Republican gets a higher percentage of the black vote if the Democrat is going to win a landslide. Put more blacks in more mixed districts where their vote can make or break a winner or loser you’ll see more resources going for black outreach.

    This is somewhat myopic, IMHO. 

    • #19
    • September 2, 2019, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Zafar Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    If we’re going to talk, we have to acknowledge that this is a negotiation, not just an explanation of how we think. The talk will go nowhere unless we spell out our bottom lines and accept that they’re going to do the same. What are we willing to change or give up? If the answer is “nothing”, then don’t waste their time or our own. Mike Kennedy raises a key point: there are cases where our interests actually do diverge and that can’t be papered over, like the size of government.

    Iow listen, don’t just lecture. 

    (Novel idea.)

    • #20
    • September 2, 2019, at 5:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    common ground is great place to start: small businesses, families, school choice, religion. 

    • #21
    • September 2, 2019, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. thelonious Member

    MartinKnight (View Comment):

    thelonious (View Comment):

    A big problem is a high percentage of blacks live in overwhelmingly Democrat districts. Many gerrymandered to ensure a black representative. It doesn’t make much sense financially for the Republicans to try to go after most of the black vote because it doesn’t really matter if a Republican gets a higher percentage of the black vote if the Democrat is going to win a landslide. Put more blacks in more mixed districts where their vote can make or break a winner or loser you’ll see more resources going for black outreach.

    This is somewhat myopic, IMHO.

    Care to elaborate. I agree the Republicans need to get a larger share of the minority vote. The problem is with resources. Party leaders are always going to put their money into districts they know they can win. The reality with limited resources the ones holding the purse strings aren’t going to prioritize a group that wont help them in the short run.

    • #22
    • September 2, 2019, at 11:18 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. MartinKnight Inactive
    MartinKnight

    @thelonious

    I think you kinda touched on it i.e. “short run”, and to be clear, you’re not being unreasonable. 

    Given the finite resources involved, it is only natural that candidates would want to spend their time and money in areas where they’re most likely to get a return on their investment. 

    That said, a Party, as a whole, cannot afford short run thinking. The GOP’s decision in the ’70s to abandon the black community as being hopelessly lost to the Democrats has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

    And in the long run, it’s going to be the death of the GOP because it’s not just affecting the GOP’ s relationship with black voters, but also with other minorities and white suburbanites who are repelled by the “racist” label.

    As @ekentgolding points out above, we’re not even asking for the black community’s votes. 

    I actually deal with this further on.

    And finally, even in the short run, there are advantages. First of all, even narrowing the Democrats’ margin to 80/20 can win statewide races – this happened in FL. Second, it provides some inoculation against the Democrats’ constant charges of “racism!” and third, it builds a foundation for the next campaign (just 2 years later) to narrow it further. 

    • #23
    • September 3, 2019, at 12:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Columbo Member

    Indeed. Let’s talk to Big Joe ….

    • #24
    • September 3, 2019, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. rgbact Member

    Hmm…second post this week on “lost cause” electoral strategies, yet nothing on the impending loss in white suburban NC-9. Heck, I’d be happy if we could be competitive with the Asian vote again. But, the black vote? Ultimate lost cause. Trumpers have been claiming that Trump would finally be the Republican to crack this nut…..and he’s instead set us back decades. At this point, just pray the Democrats nominate Warren or Booty or some other very white liberal that annoys both minorities and suburbanites.

    • #25
    • September 3, 2019, at 10:26 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Columbo Member

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Hmm…second post this week on “lost cause” electoral strategies, yet nothing on the impending loss in white suburban NC-9. Heck, I’d be happy if we could be competitive with the Asian vote again. But, the black vote? Ultimate lost cause. Trumpers have been claiming that Trump would finally be the Republican to crack this nut…..and he’s instead set us back decades. At this point, just pray the Democrats nominate Warren or Booty or some other very white liberal that annoys both minorities and suburbanites.

    Ken Blackwell … former Mayor of Cincinnati and Sec’y of State and Treasurer of Ohio … disagrees, with facts:

    Not only is our national unemployment rate at historic lows, but in May 2018, African American unemployment hit a record low, and continues to hold strong. President Trump has helped create jobs and opportunities for the African American community, getting the economy working for us.

    On top of keeping his promises for our economy, President Trump was successful in passing historic bipartisan criminal justice reform known as the First Step Act. This involved easing sentences for nonviolent crimes and allowing those sentenced under racially motivated mandatory minimums – something once supported by Joe Biden – to have their sentences re-evaluated and potentially overturned. Thanks to this reform, we have already seen people reunited with their families with the hope of starting a new life.

    • #26
    • September 3, 2019, at 10:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    thelonious (View Comment):
    I agree the Republicans need to get a larger share of the minority vote. The problem is with resources.

    I think the problem is that the GOP doesn’t know what it is. It has been trying to figure it out since Bush put things into a ditch. A political party should provide a well-known brand and organizational resources. The GOP is doing neither.

    • #27
    • September 3, 2019, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    We need to go hard on school choice. That’s the biggest point of disagreement between black-Americans and the Democratic Party

    Absolutely. Black mothers are lined up for lotteries to get their kids in better schools. The Democrats have given up on inner city education.

    “When children pay union dies, I will care about children” Albert Shanker, AFT president

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/de-blasio-gives-up-on-educating-poor-kids-11566947350

    To say that many liberal elites have all but given up on educating low-income minorities might seem like an overstatement. But when you consider the state of public education in our inner cities, and the priorities of those in charge, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion.

    • #28
    • September 3, 2019, at 12:13 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    The Democrats have given up on inner city education.

    Nine incredibly powerful words right there, man.

    • #29
    • September 3, 2019, at 12:36 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Columbo Member

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    The Democrats have given up on inner city education.

    Nine incredibly powerful words right there, man.

    Yep. BLACK AND HISPANIC charter school advocates are punching back against the cadre of 2020 Democatic candidates who have criticized the charter sector …

    • #30
    • September 3, 2019, at 12:52 PM PDT
    • 2 likes