TAMPA, April 22, 2013 - “Color-blind” is a cringe worthy word. It is nonsense when uttered by white conservatives. This whole idea that somehow identity politics is beneath them.
That somehow the mindset that people groups don’t exist.
All one has to do is look back at the results of the 2012 national elections. People groups exist divided by the natural division of income. The family that earns $30,000 or less has different concerns than the family that earns $250,000 or more.
These families may agree on issues from a fundamental standpoint however, the manifestation on a daily basis inside those people groups will be different.
The natural division of people by where they live is an important factor in addressing political issues. The continued struggle of urban, suburban, and rural voters complicate messaging inside the most cohesive camps. With this being true why do some conservatives continue to pretend that race should not be considered in delivering the conservative message?
When I have conversation with conservatives and mention anything about the development of a Black conservative strategy the response is always the same, race shouldn’t matter! Well, it most certainly seems to matter if you look at the numbers.
First are the people group based on income. President Obama wins 63% to 35% of those families making $30,000 or less. Governor Romney won the people group making more than $250,000 55% to 42%. It seems that there are differences in those “people” groups that should be explored.
The winning of elections requires understanding what you have done well, and what you continue to do poorly.
In the people group based on location, President Obama won in areas of 500,000 or more 69% to 29%. The president’s campaign did well in the messaging to those that live in large population areas. He did not do nearly as well in rural communities.
Rural communities identified with Governor Romney’s messaging to the tune of 61 % to 37%. Clearly Republicans understand how to connect to the rural voting bloc.
In the equally natural people group of Whites, it was not a contest, with Whites totaling 72% of the electorate Governor Romney cruises to an easy victory - 59% to President Obama’s 39%.
As one of my dear friends explained to me, “It’s a white thing, you wouldn’t understand.” But indeed I do understand. The people group of Whites have a common experience. It makes sense to draw on that common experience to deliver your message.
The people group, Blacks in the 2012 election sent a message to Governor Romney and the Republican Party, “We are not buying anything you’re selling!” The numbers speak loudly as President Obama won the Black vote 93% to a paltry 6% for Republicans. This should be the final wake up call to the Republican Party that the “Party of Lincoln” has strayed very far from its original intent and constituency.
So now is it possible to see that there is no way to avoid identity politics? Recognizing these people groups is not pandering, just opportunities to reach people with your message within their given circumstances.
The concept of conservative/Republican “color-blindness” is not only a fallacy but bad strategy. To ignore the differences in the experiences of people groups is a major mistake in putting together strategies to win elections.
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