LOS ANGELES, November 23, 2012 — The Republicans are old white men, red necks and racists. They’re in thrall to tea-baggers, who do not understand or give a darn about minorities.
If only other Republicans knew how often I had this hateful brew (hatred of white male conservatives is still socially acceptable on the left) shoved down my throat. But what’s been directed at me personally is worse: I have been called a sell-out, hater of a brother (meaning Obama), and numerous choice words I can’t share here (hatred of conservative black women from the left is trickier, but even more heart-felt).
Urban Republicans fight for justice, truth and the American way, we do it in the face of visceral hate, and we do it without much support from the rest of the GOP. Why do white Republicans not get it? Why do they not listen to the Black Republicans who are writing, blogging, tweeting and calling them out? We’re here! Why don’t you hear us?
Black urban Republican leadership across the country is pushing the GOP to spend money and support a plan of action to make inroads in areas that vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. The people of the inner cities aren’t an enemy to fight or ignore. We’re the future, a future that desperately needs what the GOP has to offer, a future that the GOP desperately needs if it’s going to stay relevant.
It is time to lay down the tracks of a new “underground railroad,” a movement to help a people who are in bondage to the Democratic Party find hope and encouragement in the GOP, a movement that will wake up complacent Democrats and Republicans alike, a movement that will stop the hemorrhaging of the GOP. We will not be televised - the mainstream media can’t imagine that we exist and we remain invisible to them - but we will be webvised, we will be heard online through bloggers, videos, e-mails and text messages, twitters, Facebook and more. We can no longer be shut out. We are the voice of the 21st century and we will be heard. If the RNC continues to think of blacks and Latinos as an afterthought, the GOP will continue its genteel decline and forfeit any chance of victory in 2016.
Are white Republicans oblivious to the fact the they are a declining breed? Blacks and Latinos have higher fertility rates; blacks, Latinos and Asians are growing as a share of the population. A decade ago we could be ignored by Republican politicians without much concern, but that’s changing. We weren’t game changers then. Today we account for most of the nation’s population growth, 85 percent of it over the last decade.
So why doesn’t the RNC do its homework? Why doesn’t it seem to understand where its growth will have to come from? The answer is they feel black and Latino voters are a lost cause, thus irrelevant to winning national races. So why even put time or money into urban communities? Blacks will vote Democratic no matter what, so why waste money trying to sway them? Why not simply use them to rally white voters against the Democrats? That was the GOP’s systematic approach to winning national races in the past, but that approach has become obsolete and will fail utterly as demographic patterns shift.
A significant point to note is that minority populations are younger than white populations, so are more likely to be having and raising children. Combine that with immigration, legal and not, and the Republicans’ demographic problem is stark. Their attempt to attack it by attacking immigration and immigrants was doomed to fail. Minority groups were already too large a part of the electorate for it to succeed.
Mitt Romney was doomed to fail when the Republican party failed to develop a clear and coherent agenda to appeal to blacks, Latinos, and other non-white people. Rather than seeing us as potential allies, they saw us as enemy combatants. When they thought of us in strategic terms, it was almost as an afterthought, not in terms of winning our votes, but in terms of encouraging us to sit this one out. This negative approach was another factor that helped Romney lose the presidential race.
And it represents a huge failure of imagination. Blacks and Latinos aren’t genetically Democratic. We aren’t stupid. We aren’t blind. We have values that resonate strongly with GOP values - love of family, the desire to succeed, hatred of cronyism and concentrated power, which are often used against us.
The GOP has consistently failed to see the opportunities we offer. It has not been “LinkedIn” to the rappid culture changes taking place in America. The RNC needs to develop strategies now to make inroads into the urban vote, and it needs to develop them hand-in-hand with members of those communities. It can’t come in like a great white father. It must come in as a partner.
We minority Republicans are eager to help lead our communities out of the bondage of Democratic, urban politics. We, more than anyone, understand the need. We see what people like Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson, Jr., have brought us in terms of jobs and development - nothing - we see that they’ve established themselves in hereditary fiefdoms (who’s on the short list to replace JJ, Jr.? Why, his siblings, of course) and enriched themselves, and we want that to change.
And what has been the response of the GOP? It’s ignored us. They’ve been conditioned by the racist, defeatist, self-destructive rhetoric that has come from the Democrats. Rather than go to black communities with open minds, Republican leadership surrounds itself with white advisors who interpret black communities they don’t understand, a culture that’s as alien to them as theirs would be to a Manchu emperor’s. It’s important to understand the issues and economic theory, but that understanding is impotent without an understanding of the culture of the people you want to help.
You can’t pull the strings until you know the ropes. Republican leadership has studied the theory of ropes, they have an abstract understanding of ropes, but until they get their hands dirty working with ropes, they don’t know ropes.
So how to learn the ropes? I’ve already talked about black urban conservatives, but there’s much more. They should go to black churches, hang out at block party events, court local black Republicans and help foster GOP clubs, then attend and help black Republicans address urban town hall meetings. They should reach out to and educate black small business owners and do everythig they can to kindle the flames of black entrepreneurial spirit, which distorted and suppressed as the are by the savage realities of our inner cities, run hot and powerful.
The GOP should be ready to spend money on black media, to have people call-in to black radio stations and do local talk-shows. If Republicans seriously wanted to talk to the black community, they’d find a polite and attentive audience, though a skeptical one that would take some convincing.
Republicans must stop being afraid of black people. The staid members of suburban Republican clubs might think we all think and sound like Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters, but we’re diverse, and we don’t all want to be led by what the left-wing thinks is “black leadership.” We love the Constitution and share core values of the Republican Party. But we aren’t going to come hat-in-hand to ask whether we can follow you. You have to do some courting.
Open your eyes, GOP. Your values have broad appeal, but the rest of America doesn’t want to join a club of angry old white people, and in the wake of this election, that’s what you sound like. The principles of economic liberty, constitutional government, and personal responsibility run much deeper and broader than white evangelicals and exurban professionals. Urban Game Changers have a common cause with conservative Republicans, Libertarians and Independents.
Stop ignoring us and start getting ready for 2016. Don’t believe for an instant you can win then by just shouting the conservative message louder. You have to state the message smarter, and you have to stop shouting it to the choir, but singing it to the world. The urban game is changing. If you can change with it, you will find black and Latino conservatives ready to build a better Republican Party, and one that can win. That’s what we mean by “Urban Game Changers.” We can change this game. Won’t you join us?
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