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At CPAC, Republicans Grapple With Low Support Among Minorities

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At CPAC, Republicans Grapple With Low Support Among Minorities

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How should conservatives reach out to “non-traditional” (read: non-white) Republican voters? Just tell them that because they have a lower life expectancy than whites, they should care less about Social Security and vote with the party that cares more about protecting personal wealth than earned benefits.

That’s the advice that Elroy Sailor — CEO of J.C. Watts Companies, a lobbying firm — gave at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the country’s largest gathering of conservative voters, businesses, and leaders in America. Sailor, who’s African-American, did not explore why blacks have a lower life expectancy, and he notably ignored how that’s connected with gun violence (nearly 50 percent of homicide victims are black). Instead, he touted his family’s history of gun ownership, proudly claiming that when he was 13 years old, his father told him to protect his family when he had night shifts. In the ghetto, he said, guns are a necessary part of life.

Sporting cowboy boots and a southern twang, Sailor was one of four speakers addressing the issue of low minority support for Republicans at a panel entitled “Reaching Out: The Rest of the Story.” He was joined by one other African-American panelist: Robert Woodson, president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, a Washington, D.C.-based organization built to “help residents of low-income neighborhoods address the problems of their community.” They were two of only a handful of black faces among thousands of overwhelmingly vanilla CPAC attendees.

Republicans are clearly worried about low support among minorities, and they have every reason to be. Speaking on the panel, Senate hopeful Ed Gillespie of Virginia said that in the last election, only 11 percent of black voters supported Republican candidates (up from 9 percent in 2008). Furthermore, the last election had a higher turnout among black voters than white voters.

“We are on an unsustainable path if we don’t correct things,” warned panel moderator Jason Roe, a political consultant.

The question the party is grappling with is whether to change its tactics to court minority voters, or instead try to show these voters that its tactics work for them. Gillespie prefers the latter approach.

“It’s about sticking to our conservative values and showing people that they work for them,” he said. “Everything that [Democrats] do results in lost income, lower take-home pay, higher health care costs. We’ve got to provide a positive alternative.”

Woodson stressed the importance of building a grassroots movement among black voters. “We’ve got to demonstrate that we care, not just tell them that we care or that we share their values… we have got to reach out to them.” He suggested that conservatives should offer financial support for community initiatives, as liberal donors have done through programs like President Obama’s new “My Brother’s Keeper.” 

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18 Comments

  1. Sand_Cat March 6, 2014

    Wow, I can’t imagine why the “conservatives” of today could have any trouble at all bringing in oodles of minorities. Can some one help me out here?

    No doubt their constant harping about how Dems “buy” minority votes is to provide cover for when they resort to the obvious and use some of all that Koch money to pay some tokens to show up and smile for the photographers, if they haven’t already.

    Reply
  2. John Kenner March 7, 2014

    Despite collectivism’s repeated failures, collectivists stubbornly maintain that centralized government planning must be used to control people in the name of improving “society”.

    Reply
    1. Paul Bass March 7, 2014

      Idiot! This has nothing to do with low support of minorities for the GOP.
      As a previous poster noted, families are collectivists, so you think families should be broken up for the good of a non-centralized government? Go take all your guns and hide in a hole you jerk…

    2. ThomasBonsell March 7, 2014

      And there is no group in the United States so devoted to collectivism than the conservative movement.

      Chris Buckley was fired from the magazine his father founded for saying he might vote for Barack Obama after years of total failure by George W. Bush. David Frum was fired from his “think” tank job for saying the GOP used the wrong tactic to oppose Obamacare. Bruce Bartlet was fired from his “think” tank job for writing a book about Bush’s crimes. The lesson; do not deviate from right-wing groupthink.

      This is exactly the same as the Communist Party of the Soviet Union using what it called “democratic centralism”; a tactic in which the party leaders would decide what actions to take or oppose and dictate to all party members what to do and think. Any one who questioned or opposed party doctrine would be expelled from the party and lose all his/her privileges. American conservatives practice “democratic centralism” all by themselves. Emphasis on “centralism”; downplay on “democratic.”

    3. Independent1 March 9, 2014

      Say! Where do you house that brain of yours? In a thimble??

  3. elw March 7, 2014

    What can you say? They do not even understand what racism is, how can you expect them to approach it in a logical way. Bottom line is it does not matter if they get it or not; clearly the overwhelming number of people belonging to multiple minority groups the GOP is trying to seduce sees the GOP for what it is – a small and shrinking Party full of people with small mind and little tiny hearts. You cannot disrespect people by approaching them as if they had a low IQ and every single one of them thinks and acts the same and expect them to fall on their knees for you. No wonder they keep losing elections.

    Reply
    1. plc97477 March 7, 2014

      Let’s hope it continues for quite a while.

      1. elw March 8, 2014

        Not too worry, it will – they even ignore their own studies.

  4. tdm3624 March 7, 2014

    It’s not just attracting minority voters that the GOP has a problem with. It’s keeping their moderates from voting Democrat.

    Reply
    1. Sand_Cat March 8, 2014

      I think a better term than “moderates” in this case would be their “sane people who are still members.” 😉

  5. Faraday_Cat March 7, 2014

    I love this gem…”We’ve allowed the left to somehow to define diversity as their thing.”…um, no, the left didn’t dfine diversity as thier thing, it just happens that thier policies empower and embrace diversity whereas yours don’t. Should tell you something that they don’t even acknowledge that it is what they do, not what anyone says, that drives (smart) minorities away.

    Reply
  6. Dominick Vila March 7, 2014

    Are these people so arrogant or dumb that they don’t understand the effect of asking our first minority President for proof of citizenship, and when he complied asking for a long version of his birth certificate; and now supporting the candidacy of a man born in Canada, whose Dad was born in Cuba to run? I wonder if they remember an elected official calling the POTUS a liar during a State of the Union Address being broadcast worldwide? Do they recall the black listing of minorities in red states, and making it as difficult as possible for them to vote? There are so many examples of overt ethnic and cultural hatred towards minority groups that what is truly amazing is the fact that a few minorities are members of the Republican party.
    The same goes for women, who happen to be the majority. They have been insulted, threatened, ridiculed and abused for having the audacity of wishing to make decisions that are pertinent only to them.
    Pretending their tiny tent welcomes everyone after years of insults and threats is naive. They are harvesting the fruits they planted, and they are learning the hard way that you don’t mistreat people for years and then turn around and ask for their help, or in this case their vote, when you need them.

    Reply
  7. HITproservices March 7, 2014

    I have a great idea of someone that the GOP could hold up as a symbol, as Woodson suggested, Barack Obama!

    Reply
  8. 4sanity4all March 8, 2014

    The Party of Redemption? Oh, good, then all of the adulterers that condemned Bill Clinton can be redeemed, right? And Sailor saying that guns are necessary in the ghetto- what a load of manure. I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood, and the only people who had guns were hunters and policemen. There were robberies and muggings, but they usually resulted in injuries, not deaths, because the bad guys were using switchblades, not guns. Those days seem pretty bucolic now, by comparison. And when the Republicans recruit all of these former heroin users and women who have had abortions, what are they going to offer them? Are they going to bully them into going straight, and voting Republican? Now, there’s an incentive.

    Reply
  9. midway54 March 9, 2014

    The grappling of rightwing stooges concerning the situation with minorities has much more to do with how to keep them from voting.

    Reply
  10. Independent1 March 9, 2014

    “We are on an unsustainable path if we don’t correct things,” warned panel moderator Jason Roe, a political consultant.

    “It’s about sticking to our conservative values and showing people that they work for them,” he said. “Everything that [Democrats] do results in lost income, lower take-home pay, higher health care costs. We’ve got to provide a positive alternative.”

    What’s obviously not helping is that even consultants to the GOP are either as delusional as the average Republican seems to be or they’re every bit as big of pathological liars as almost all GOP politicians.

    The American economy, including worker income, has done much better over the past 6-7 decades under Democrats than it has under Republicans. Just look at the contrast in how the economy soared along with incomes under the 8 years of Clinton vs mediocre economies that America suffered under during Bushes 12 years in office. And, it was actually under Reagan that eveything for at least 95% pf Americans started to fall apart.

    Roe may be right if he’s talking about the upper 5%, but GOP governance has been a disaster for at least 95% of Americans.
    What’s especially disappointing to me is that a large percentage of seniors seem to be oblivious to the detriment to their retirements that the GOP poses for them; and it’s not just the GOP’s efforts in trying to dismantle Social Security and Medicare. Look at the enormous amount of wealth that was lost in millions of seniors’ retirement accounts during the Reagan and Bush years.

    And for retirement accounts that are impacted by the stock market, even Fox News reports that since 1900, performance of the stock market under Republicans has returned a mediocre 5%; whereas under Democrats that market has returned over 12% – that’s really quite a striking difference; enough of a difference to turn a retirement fund that will force seniors to eke out an existence instead of allowing them the true freedom needed to enjoy their later years.

    When are America’s seniors going to start waking up to the fact that voting Republicans into political office is more than detrimental to their futures????

    Reply
  11. Independent1 March 9, 2014

    Woodson stressed the importance of building a grassroots movement among black voters. “We’ve got to demonstrate that we care, not just tell them that we care or that we share their values… we have got to reach out to them.” He suggested that conservatives should offer financial support for community initiatives, as liberal donors have done through programs like President Obama’s new “My Brother’s Keeper.”

    Wow! does Woodson realize that embracing programs like Obama’s “My Bother’s Keeper”, is a total contradiction to virtually everything Rush Limbaugh and many other very vocal Republican extremists have been espousing for years?? Rush may have to ignore those comments and pretend they weren’t expressed at CPAC – for Rush and many other Republcans, Americans are supposed to fend for themselves – extending a hand of help to someone else is tantamount to heresy.

    Reply
  12. Lynda Groom March 9, 2014

    BS. If they were really grappling with the problem of low support among minorities they would censure that dumb blond from making anti-brown America comments. Their problem is that what they believe, not a misunderstanding with folks of color, women, gays and on and on and on.

    Reply

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