Whether the conservative establishment likes it or not, race is a determinant of electoral victories. Many Republicans like myself prefer to talk about issues that affect us personally — such as jobs.
But this is part of the reason why we lost in 2008.
I am not saying that President Obama was elected because of the color of his skin. This undoubtedly drove some people to the polls (in the effort to “make history”), but it was really the manner in which he appealed to the black demographic that won over their precious votes.
This pattern will likely continue in the 2012 presidential election. But is it really so shocking for blacks to vote Republican?
For Joseph Phillips, a conservative black commentator and former star of “The Cosby Show,” the answer is no. Even as a product of Hollywood, he continues to vote “conservative” time and time again.
Yet as a conservative, he believes Republicans still need to change their strategy, especially during the upcoming election campaign. With their promises to restore fiscal responsibility to government and get America back on the path to prosperity, they often neglect the issue of race.
Phillips said “as a result, the GOP will not be successful at attracting black voters back to the party of Lincoln, and we will have ceded the discussion of race to the left” who are “more than happy to run with the ball.”
Phillips flatly denies that “racism has the social power that it once it had,” noting that this doesn’t mean that it has suddenly disappeared from our society.
Republicans will continue to lose the trust of blacks when they evade discussions of race or choose not to directly address this important demographic head on. It is one thing to be opposed to liberal-supported policy measures such as affirmative action. But it seems that nowadays, many conservatives haven’t shown the slightest interest in this issue.
As a result, Bill Clinton became the “first black President” in 1992, and conservatives had nothing to fall back on after George W. Bush packed his bags.
The black identity is strong. Black voters don’t think the same way or have the same views, but they do know when they are ignored and they know when they are given an open ear.
Democrats (and liberals in general) seem to have a monopoly on the term “diversity” as if they invented it. Also, they seem to be most effective at the “conquer by division” strategy; they win over different minority groups through their mushy, meaningless promises of change.
Contrary to the liberal myths, conservatives are not racist by nature, nor do their policies purposely try to suppress opportunity for blacks. Our problem is that we haven’t attempted to connect with this important demographic on a personal level.
Phillips will be speaking at Cal Poly tonight from 7 to 8 p.m. in Science North, room 215. The event is free and open to the public.