The Good Ole Party's new strategic effort is Heavy on rhetoric, Lite on principles
The recently released 'Growth and Opportunities Project' plan by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, aimed at targeting minorities to “woo them into the Republican brand”, sounds more like a Groupons Online Project that seeks to do exactly what they blamed President Obama of doing in last year's elections – 'giving away free stuff to the 47%'.
And that is exactly how it came across to the millions of Americans who are so turned off by the policies and personalities of the Good Ole Party, that even if they brought Jesus down to the hood with an unlimited amount of 'give-aways', it would still do no good? The 'Party of No' has just resorted to being the 'Party of Snow', a seasonal party more concerned about appearing on those cold rigid days, than of being present all year round.
Though the concept and intention of the plan was I'm sure sincere in its efforts of attracting a voter they haven't been able to convince to side with them since the Goldwater days, the mere fact that you would announce such a 'grand bargain' is proof enough to most minorities that you really don't have a clue?
As I have spoken to quite a few of my Republican friends over the past few months - since their Presidential shellacking in November of 2012 - I noticed a real problem with their line of thinking; while they understand that a problem exists with outreach to a segment of voters they have been unable to reach, they seem persistent on having their current brand of ineffective leadership trying to solve that problem, instead of hiring outside community leaders to help close the gap.
I have been consulted on various ideas, which I have consistently raised to them over the past few years, and only lately have they really took those suggestions to heart and sought insight into how to effectively implement such tools and strategies. However, instead of reaching out to a minority organizer and respected leader within the black or minority community, and supporting them to relay their message of lesser government, lower taxes and individual responsibility and success; they continue to think these uncle-tom type minorities already on their payroll is the answer to their problem?
Let's be clear, Armstrong Williams would get a size-12 timberland up his butt if he ever tried bringing that conservative rhetoric of his into the likes of a West Baltimore; and yet, while blacks remain conservative by nature, the party believes that individuals like Williams or Charles Loller in Maryland, can effectively change the mindset of a people they are so far out of touch with that they might as well be white their damn self in the eyes of those they are trying to reach?
And this is no indictment on these two great men, who I personally have a lot of respect for; however, understanding the culture of a group of people, is synonymous to gaining their attention, respect and ultimate trust. And if you have no real clue as to the day-to-day struggles and activities of a people - black, brown, red, yellow or white – you will never earn their respect, let alone their vote!
Throwing money ($10 million at that) at the problem only further exacerbates the problem, instead of helping to solve the lack of understanding on why that bloc of voters sees your party as the enemy. You can't give a speech about inclusion, consistently addressing things like vouchers and the same old, tired pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps spiel, and expect people to up and believe in you – especially when you have a long track record of oppressive behaviors. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is your relationship with groups who listen to national news and constantly hear the crazy racist rhetoric coming from Fox News and affiliates of the Republican Party.
In order to effectively communicate to a people that you have their best interests at heart and sincerely mean well is to show and prove with actions, not words or money, that seem less overtly condescending, and a little more sincere and genuine. For instance, when I was a freshman in college, I was given a 10-question survey by my professor, void of overtly partisan questions, that spoke to ones views and opinions on a variety of topics. Upon completing that questionaire, the professor graded the paper and it showed where you were on the political spectrum of conservative, liberal or moderate.
It was then, 12-years ago almost to the day, that I realized that I was way more conservative than I chose to admit at the time. And it brought me to a point of understanding, not only within myself as to where I actually stood on things, but also of the political ideological spectrum; and allowed me to embrace my beliefs and values, thus making me more willing to listen to both sides of the aisle – particularly the right.
Once you identify who you are, then you are able to make more independent decisions void of partisan rhetoric and understand the system a little better. However, as an organizer, to have someone realize that they are a bit more conservative then they thought, then you have an in-road into a conversation they are now more likely to have with you – based on their new found understanding of certain political issues. That's when you are able to effectively communicate with a person, despite age, race or economic background; and that's when the real work really begins.
Giving away 'free stuff' is, and always has been, an effective political tool to rope in potential supporters and voters; however, it's how you give it away that determines your ultimate success. For example, following the 1968 riots in urban cities like Baltimore, a then somewhat out-of-touch Democratic Italian Mayor wanted to “keep the blacks under control”, but also act as if they cared about the plight of African Americans; thus, they had a few key black community leaders implement things like Operation CHAMP and bought roughly 40-portable pools for the summer to be inserted at recreation centers and schools across the city, which helped achieve the intended goal of keeping minorities pleased - and busy.
The liberal art of seeking social programs and 'give-aways' to those under-served and less fortunate has become a way of life for a party that was once seen as the racist party – back when most blacks were Republicans. So, if you were once the Party that initially proposed things like Civil Rights legislation – that Democrats eventually reaped the benefit of thanks to Goldwater's 'southern strategy' – then you can certainly return to such prominence if you are serious about serving the interests of those that aren't white, rich and bourgeois!
However, when you have people like Sarah Palin saying at CPAC that we refuse to be the party of free give-aways, it flies in the face of what Chairman Priebus is trying to accomplish?
Which speaks to another problem the party may have when implementing such minority outreach...how many of the far-right and obviously racist members of the GOP will exit 'faster than a jackrabbit on moonshine'? Another issue with the Republican Party is that they don't have effective political clubs, who organize around a district or community with effective and consistent representation; instead, they tend to have polarizing individuals who have a following/base, who don't really do anything to support the group but rather themselves.
Instead of having an organized effort let's say in Baltimore City, having a political club that has district/precinct captains actively organizing on the ground level; they have personalities like a Dan Bongino, who is an effective speaker and beloved personality but only moves when its beneficial to him and his political aspirations.
Sending out e-blasts, press releases and issue papers on issues does absolutely nothing for the greater good of people or a community, which leaves the Grand Ole Party with zero-to-no-chance at touching the lives of real voters who have real issues beyond just that of what's currently happening in national, state or local politics.
Which is somewhat baffling, especially when the Republican Party use to be the dominate party when it comes to voter targeting, precinct data and Get-Out-The-Vote efforts nationally? However, instead of micro-targeting winnable precincts and districts, you have a party more concentrated on running on people's personalities, rather than on the principles of the people.
People may like certain members of the party, but targeting districts and candidates that can give you the best chance for victory has been severely lacking, especially within the State of Maryland. Instead, the GOP now intends on following our lame-duck democratic governor around the country on his Presidential Tour, touting his damaged record to the world, instead of focusing their resources on local districts and precincts they can win right here at home?
My question for the Chairman and the Party itself is, when is the last time you did a targeted, mass voter registration outreach in minority communities like Baltimore City and Prince George's County? When have you shown up and supported local events and charities like the NAACP Freedom Fund, GCOMM Media Co's Freedom Fighter Awards Breakfast or a community association cook-out or block party? How many conservative Independents or independent-minded candidates have you spoken with about carrying your message to the voters of these jurisdictions, either as a candidate or simply as an outreach coordinator?
If you want something you have never had (or haven't had in quite sometime), you're going to have to do something you've never done!
My suggestion would be to stop listening to the high priced and ineffective colored talking-toms currently in your party, who obviously haven't been effective to-date; and begin seeking real community leaders who can agree with at least most of your message, listen and incorporate their input and service into your plan for Growth by giving them an Opportunity. Otherwise, you'll be continuously spinning your wheels and wasting resources as you have in the past, and will be looked at as the Whig Party of old – useless and outdated!
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