By Raynard Jackson
Since the Republicans takeover of Congress on Nov. 4, I have received numerous emails and phone calls from many of my friends who are Democrats indicating that they are ready to join the Republican Party. My dilemma is that I am not quite sure the Republican Party is ready to receive them.
I began to call these friends one at a time to discuss what made them come to the conclusion that they are ready to join the Republican Party. The common theme sounded was that they were never so much in love with the Democrats. Rather, Republicans made it clear that there was no room in the party for them.
This goes to what I have written about in the past: It doesn’t matter how much a person agrees with you if they feel like you don’t care about them or that you don’t want them to join your group.
When you see Republicans or Republican events on TV, you see a crowd of nothing but White faces in the audience. Because of these optics, many Blacks feel that the party has absolutely no interest in Blacks being involved in their events on any level.
Republicans and Blacks agree on the need to address the high unemployment within our community. Republicans and Blacks agree on the need to promote more opportunities for Black entrepreneurs, noting that under Obama, SBA loans are almost nonexistent and federal procurement opportunities have all but dried up. Republicans and Blacks agree on the need to promote school choice and vouchers for those who are stuck in nonperforming schools. Republicans and Blacks are united in their opposition to Obama’s pro-homosexual agenda and amnesty for illegals.
But Republicans have not taken advantage of what they have in common with African Amerians. Instead they have given the spotlight to Blacks who run away from their race and serve as nothing but official mouthpieces for the party. These characters have no ties to the Black community. They use incendiary rhetoric that alienate Blacks rather than win them over.
The party must also stop hiring Democrats as their consultants for their campaigns. I often say that the best way to for a Black Republican to get attention in the Republican Party is to be a Black Democrat. Just look at what happened in the Mississippi senate and Illinois governor’s races. Each campaign spent more money with Black Democrats than they did with Black Republicans. I challenge you to name me one instance where a Democrat ever hired a Black Republican to work on or to be a consultant for one of their campaigns. It doesn’t happen.
If you don’t take care of known Republicans, why would anyone in their right minds stick their neck out and publically associate themselves with the Republican Party? Republicans have no appreciation for the pitfalls of Blacks being publically aligned with them. Businessmen lose contracts, preachers lose members, and students are ridiculed.
So, if the party wants Blacks to publically associate with them, what are they prepared to do to protect them from their liberal detractors? By publically promoting Blacks who are ashamed of their Blackness, over time the public will see that it is OK to be Republican.
In other words, treat Blacks like you treat your White Republican friends. When you need consultants, you pick up the phone and call your White friends and direct business opportunities to them. Why is it that this doesn’t happen to Black Republicans?
When you are looking for staffers, you call your friends from the country club to get recommendations. When was the last time you called a Black for recommendations for a job opening?
When you are looking for someone to create your website, you call one of your lobbyist friends. Have you every aggressively sought a Black vendor to provide any type of professional services to your campaign?
I find it fascinating that with all the Republicans organizing their campaign for their 2016 presidential runs, I am not aware of one Black that’s part of the inner circle of any of the campaigns. I am fed up with speeches about diversity that is not reflected in reality.
I am not convinced the party is ready to shift its thinking. What a shame if the Republican Party, once again, blows a great opportunity to grow the party into a true governing majority.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @raynard1223.