Tags: 2016 Elections | Confederate Flag | GOP 2016 | Jeb Bush

GOP Needs Urban Agenda

Monday, 20 July 2015 09:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

After a thorough ethnic trouncing in 2012 when 71 percent of Hispanics and 73 percent of Asians joined 93 percent of blacks in voting against Mitt Romney, Republicans suffered a severe case of diversity shock.

In response, the Republican National Committee issued its “Growth and Opportunity Project Report," which said, in part, that the Republican Party “must compete on every playing field.”

Project co-chair Sally Bradshaw, now a key adviser to Jeb Bush, astutely observed that “many minorities think Republicans don't like them or don't want them in our country. When someone rolls their eyes at us they aren't likely to open their ears to us."

Republicans are usually on the defensive on the issue of race. It has been the GOP’s third rail, and in recent years it is usually put on the back burner until it cannot be ignored —   usually after the nominating conventions. This election cycle is different.

After events in Ferguson and Baltimore, and South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s leadership in having the Confederate flag removed from the state Capitol grounds, the issue has been thrust to the front burner of political debate months before the primaries and a year before the conventions.

The question is, How many of the GOP’s diversified group of candidates will rise to the RNC and Bradshaw challenge?

Obama will not be on the ticket in 2016. All the GOP needs to do is take between 10 to 12 percent of the black vote from the Democrats, get 35 to 45 percent of the Hispanic vote, and regain the 40 plus percentages of the Asian vote as they did with George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Although some GOP consultants and donors may advise that courting blacks is a waste of time, as noted above only a relatively small percentage is needed to hurt the Democratic nominee.

Bush, Carson, Christie, Huckabee, and Rand Paul and have gotten the message and have been reaching out to black voters and Bush, Christie, Huckabee, and Perry have shown their ability to attract black and Hispanic voters in the past.

GOP candidates should send these voters a very strong message stressing educational and economic opportunity.

As Ronald Reagan’s 1980 GOP Platform stated, “Democrats have deliberately perpetuated a status of federally subsidized poverty and manipulated dependency . . . especially so for blacks and Hispanics, many of whom remain pawns of the bureaucracy, trapped outside the social and economic mainstream of American life.”

Also, and just as valid today as then, “Democrats have presided over — and must take the blame for — the most monstrous expansion and abuse of the food stamp program to date.”

Republican candidates should make it crystal clear, as did the platform, that they “will not make idle promises to blacks and other minorities” because “we are beyond the day when any American can live off rhetoric or political platitudes." Furthermore, they must be firm in stating that they are not prepared to “accept the practice of turning the poor into permanent wards of the state, trading their political support for continued financial assistance.”

GOP candidates need to tell the disproportionate numbers of black and brown poor, incarcerated, under and unemployed and parents of children who are victims of underperforming inner city schools that they are on their side.

In August of 1980, shortly after Ronald Reagan received the nomination, I had the pleasure of being on his advance team when he gave a major address to the National Urban League in New York City. He unveiled an urban agenda including “enterprise zones,” economic development, and “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Just as Reagan did then, GOP candidates must unveil their own urban agendas focusing on educational and economic opportunity — something that Obama has not done in six years.

Such an agenda should include parental choice and vouchers, teacher accountability, job creation, support for small and minority-owned businesses, neighborhood revitalization, and safe streets; condemnation of and combating the epidemic of urban violence in our cities, and prison reform including a review of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses.

In advocating such an agenda, GOP candidates must go over the heads of the established civil rights leadership which is mostly tied to the hip of the Democratic Party. They must go into black and Hispanic communities and meet face to face with clergy, church groups, small business owners and neighborhood and community leaders who will be receptive to that message.

It is up to blacks to determine whether they want to listen, or continue accepting the same old, same old from Democrats — from whom they get nothing. Regardless of how blacks respond, Republicans must make an effort.

A GOP nominee who can’t attract meaningful numbers of Asian, black and Hispanic voters will lose — again.

Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.

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Republicans must make an effort. A GOP nominee who can’t attract meaningful numbers of Asian, black and Hispanic voters will lose — again.
2016 Elections, Confederate Flag, GOP 2016, Jeb Bush
Monday, 20 July 2015 09:05 AM
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