Obama rode to office on very high turnout by the African-American electorate and Hillary Clinton will need turnout somewhere approximating those totals to ensure victory. The overall black vote is now irrevocably lost to the Democratic Party. The GOP can never, ever expect to capture a majority of the black vote even if they nominated a liberal black to be their presidential candidate; it just isn’t going to happen. But, that is the beauty of electoral politics- the Republican Party does not have to win the black vote, just steal a few percentage points of their votes. Additionally, it does not have to be nationwide but only in certain states like Ohio and Florida. That is because there are only a few swing states left and only Florida and Ohio have a relatively high black population that could make a difference. If the GOP can move the needle 4-5 percentage points in these two states, the path to the White House becomes much easier and leaves Clinton no room for error elsewhere.
The strategy should involve winning over that small percentage of the black vote which will make a difference in particular states. You achieve this through policies that address the concerns of the African-American community.
And what are those concerns? Unlike the Left which assumes the Latino voter makes up their mind based solely on someone’s position on immigration or which assumes that women make up their minds based solely on a candidate’s position on abortion, the GOP needs to treat African-Americans like any other demographic group and more correctly assume that their concerns mirror those of other demographic groups. Naturally, there are issues of greater concern relatively speaking. For example, alleged police violence may be more of an issue to blacks than immigration is to Latinos. However, there are issues that cut across demographic lines- education, poverty, economic opportunity, and national security.
First, address these broader issues by creating bright lines between GOP and Democratic solutions. Ask the black community whether 50 years of the war on poverty and trillions of dollars whether they are any better off now than they were before. If they are truthful, they will answer in the negative. Then offer them the conservative solutions that will increase economic activity in their neighborhoods and create jobs and opportunity. Inform them that despite liberal policies in place, that is not the reality as evidenced by the high unemployment rate in these areas, especially among the young. Ask them whether being beholden to failing public schools has made their chances of success in life any better. Then tell them that the GOP supports school choice and the opportunity to free themselves of the educational plantation.
Then address their specific issues: criminal justice reform and police violence. Inform them that the GOP endorses the prosecution of police officers who clearly violate their oath to serve and protect the citizenry. Acknowledge that are some bad eggs in most departments and that they need to be rooted out. And should they obviously violate their trust, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But, also it must be stressed that the high profile cases of police brutality are not the norm as the Left suggests. Endorse ideas that strengthen the bonds of trust between the police and the communities they serve. These are ideas like community policing which works very well where implemented. Endorse ideas that open the lines of communication between the police and the community.
With criminal justice reform, acknowledge the fact that more blacks than whites are sent to jail and that their disproportionate representation in prisons is a problem. If a person served their time and debt to society, provided they do not revert to a life of crime, then they should be granted the right to vote. If the penalty for selling crack is 3 years, but powdered cocaine is one year, that needs to be addressed. Ensure the black community that sentencing guidelines are on the table for reform since they tend to adversely affect that community to a greater degree.
After the policy proposals are made clear, they must be communicated to the African-American community. That means running commercials on black radio stations and going into the lion’s den by campaigning in places like the Bronx, or Oakland, or Detroit and Philadelphia. And not just the white sections of these areas. It means addressing the annual Urban League or NAACP convention. It does not mean you have to listen to blacklivesmatter or any other such movement since they are a vocal minority within a minority population.
It does not involve pandering, or an altering of ideals. It does involve empathy and recognition. Conceding the black vote to the Democratic Party is no better than the Democratic Party taking the black vote for granted. In fact, stressing that tendency on the part of the Democratic Party may win you some votes. In the end, the question is: what has the Democratic Party really done for you? This writer can almost guarantee you will find at least 4-5% of African-American voters who will answer that question honestly.