I have often said that black voters are the most disrespected of all voter groups — taken for granted by Democrats and ignored by Republicans.
Of course, no one is forcing blacks to put all of their political eggs into one Democrat basket.
Remember the highly touted 2013 “Growth and Opportunity Project Report” of the Republican National Committee (RNC), which did an “autopsy” of the Romney debacle with minorities in 2012?
Discussing the report, then RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who became Trump’s first Chief of Staff, told the media that the party did a “lousy job” of marketing itself and boldly stated, “…. I know everything isn’t going to change in one year. If we don’t start now we’re not going to have any more success in four years, eight years, or twelve years.”
Well, in the three years leading up to 2016, and today, the GOP establishment and most of its candidates are still doing a “lousy job” of marketing to black voters with meaningful messages — except for Trump.
Unlike the GOP “Establishment,” its donors, and most GOP candidates for national and statewide office, Trump actually touched on issues of deep concern to blacks:
- The scourge of urban violence in Chicago and other cities.
- How illegal immigration negatively impacts black employment.
- And, the need for school choice for parents of children trapped in poor inner-city schools.
And, unlike most Republican candidates, in primary and general elections, Trump actually asked for their votes. Remember when he asked: "What do you have to lose?"
It turned out that blacks had much to gain with Trump’s election. As my Newsmax Insider colleague Deroy Murdock recently wrote, blacks are “increasingly profiting" from Trump’s economic boom — an Aug. 7 NAACP poll found that 21 percent of black registered voters approve of Trump’s job performance; and, a Rasmussen tracking survey found that 36 percent of black voters “gave the president thumbs up, compared to 19 percent a year ago.”
Murdock went on to point out that:
"July’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for black Americans was 6.6 percent the lowest on record and significantly below the July 2016 Obama rate of 8.4 percent. Trump’s current black-teen jobless rate is 19.9 percent. Two Julys ago, Obama’s analogous figure was 25.7 percent."
He quoted White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying that, since Trump took office, he “has created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans” concluding that President Trump, in his first year and a half, has already tripled the 195,000 that President Obama did in eight years.
That’s quite a story!
But you don’t see many, if any, GOP candidates citing such statistics when seeking black support by saying they will support similar programs and policies. But then again, how many GOP candidates for federal and state offices even bother to reach out to black Republican voters, especially in Republican primaries?
Few, if any.
They ignore black Republicans in Primaries and forget that in the general election, there are thousands who are registered as NPA-No Party Affiliation — who might respond to the right message. Apparently, to them, a black is a black.
Florida as a good example.
In Florida, there are over 60,000 registered black Republicans and nearly 285,000 black NPA’s. One would think that in a state which historically has close elections, any statewide Republican candidate would go for every single vote.
For example, in the 2010 GOP primary, outsider and now Governor Rick Scott, in a major upset, defeated GOP establishment candidate and then Attorney General Bill McCollum by 38,000 votes. In the general election, Scott, who ran with former State Representative Jennifer Carroll, who is black, in another upset, defeated Democrat opponent Alex Sink 48.9 percent to 47.7 percent — by over 62,000 votes.
In both cases, every vote counted and Scott and Carroll’s estimated 6 percent of the black vote played a role in that victory — whether Republicans admitted it or not. Scott went on to double that margin in 2014 winning 12 percent of the black vote mainly because of his advocacy of choice in schools and advocacy of jobs. Every vote counted.
Today, when polls showing that the Republican Governor’s race is a virtual tie between Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — who had been the presumed winner — and Trump supported Congressman Ron Desantis (D-Fl), one would assume that an “every vote counts” philosophy would dictate outreach to every single Republican voter — including black Republicans.
Neither chose to invest in reaching out to black Republican voters. Obviously, 60,000 plus black votes were not deemed to be worth any such effort.
The same applies to the two Republican candidates for Florida’s Attorney General — Ashley Moody and Frank White — and the four candidates for Florida Secretary of Agriculture — Matt Caldwell, Denise Grimsley, Mike McAlister, and Baxter Troutman.
Like the GOP gubernatorial candidates listed above, to the best of my knowledge, not one of these GOP candidates felt outreach to black Republicans was worth the financial commitment.
On August 29, the day after the primary, let’s see how many of the losing candidates will have second thoughts especially if they lose by small margins. As to the winners, we will see what they do in the general.
They would do well to follow the president’s lead!
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. He is a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.
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