By Raynard Jackson
In the immortal words of former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, “to every man there comes a time when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a great and mighty work; unique to him and fitted to his talents; what a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the moment that could be his finest hour.”
The Republican Party is currently being tapped on the shoulder and being asked to do “a great and mighty work, unique to them and fitted to their talents.”
They are being tapped on the shoulder by the Black community who are begging the Republican Party to give them a reason to vote Republican in next year’s presidential election.
The Black community gave Obama 94% of its vote in 2008, not just because he was Black; but because he said he was “change we could believe in.”
Obama said he would get the U.S. out of all these “unnecessary” wars; indirectly giving Blacks the impression that he would then redirect the money spent on war to dealing with the high Black unemployment rate, the lack of access to capital for Black entrepreneurs, shoring up the failing schools within the Black community, both secondary and college.
Six and a half years after Obama was “tapped on the shoulder;” he has indeed been found “unqualified and unprepared for the moment that could have been his (and America’s) finest hour.”
By any and all objective measurements, the Obama presidency has been an abject failure for Blacks: double digit unemployment, declining home ownership, shrinking net worth, decreasing college enrollment, especially at Black colleges, and non-existent government contracting opportunities for Black businesses just to name a few.
Republicans still have time to show the Black community that the party is prepared for this moment that could be its finest hour, but time is running out.
They need to start with something very simple: tell the Black community in no uncertain terms, that they are wanted and welcomed in the Republican Party.
Then the Congressional leadership must convene a series of private meetings with “the right” Blacks in education, business, the clergy. This is not to be confused with them meeting with Blacks that they are “comfortable” with.
Republicans have a history of favoring Blacks who will tell them what they want to hear, versus Blacks who will tell them what they need to hear.
Obama has done more to destroy Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) than any other person in this country’s history with the policies coming out of his Department of Education. What are Congressional Republicans prepared to do by way of hearings and legislation to repair this damage?
Government contracting opportunities for Black entrepreneurs has all but dried up under Obama. Banks refuse to loan money to many small business owners. What are Republicans prepared to do by way of hearings and legislation to change this?
The Black church is furious with Obama over his aggressive push for homosexual entitlements and his refusal to protect their commitment to faith if they receive government funds for after school activities for their church member’s kids. What are Republicans prepared to do by way of hearings and legislation to protect a church’s right to freely practice their faith without government interference?
Obama has intentionally done everything in his power to drive a wedge between Blacks and his administration. There is no poll that can accurately measure the disappointment and frustration Blacks have with Obama.
They are literally begging the Republican Party to give them substantive reasons to vote for them. But they first must be made to feel welcomed in the party.
The party must build relationships with the more than 200 Black newspapers in the country and spend advertising dollars with them. The party must stop being afraid to challenge the NAACP and the National Urban League when they are advocating liberal policies that will continue to adversely affect the Black community.
They must establish a surrogate program of “credible Black Republicans” that can represent the party on various radio and TV shows. The party has shown an extreme amount of incompetence and a total lack of understanding when it comes to branding the party within the Black community.
During presidential elections, Republicans average about nine percent of the Black vote. That’s with doing nothing. Just imagine what can happen with a little effort. Realistically it is very doable to get between 15-20% of the Black vote next year; but only if the party starts now with constructive engagement with the Black community, Black media, and Black organizations.
What a tragedy if this moment also finds the Republican Party “unprepared or unqualified for the moment that could be its finest hour.”
Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC is an internationally recognized political consulting, government affairs, and PR firm based in Washington, DC. Jackson is an internationally recognized radio talk show host and TV commentator. He has coined the phrase “straticist.” As a straticist, he has merged strategic planning with public relations. Call RJA to discuss how they can get you to the next level of your career.
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