The first workshop I attended at this summer’s RightOnline Conference was about reaching out to minority communities. It was titled “Preaching Beyond the Choir: Growing the Ranks of the Free Market Movement,” which I wrote about in this article. The first featured speaker was Anita MonCrief. Here’s what Ms. MonCrief said that jumped out at me:
She said that the biggest mistake conservatives make is not fighting in every minority district. Part of that, she said, is understandable, acknowledging the fact that “people won’t trust us at first.” Ms. Moncrief said that it’s important to continue the efforts so that people find out that they’re since, not just out for their votes.
Another major point in Ms. Moncrief’s presentation was saying that “If we want to take America back, it has to be block-by-block. She said there’s no substitute for being there, staying committed and building relationships.”
Ms. Moncrief said that listening is essential. That means starting conversations rather than talking to people. Ms. Moncrief said that she enjoyed “talking to the people in their neighborhoods.” She said it doesn’t take a big budget to do that. It just takes effort.
That afternoon, I had the privilege of sitting down with Ms. MonCrief for a lengthy conversation about outreach programs. She’s a bright, articulate, quick-on-her-feet, no-nonsense lady. Most importantly, she knows what she’s talking about when she says that listening is essential to successful outreach efforts. She’s also right in saying “there’s no substitute for being there, staying committed and building relationships.”
The reason for highlighting those things now is because Kim Strassel’s article talks directly about what’s wrong with the GOP election model:
Even with higher GOP turnout in key states, even with Mr. Obama shedding voters, Democrats still won. Mr. Obama accomplished this by tapping new minority voters in numbers that beat even Mr. Romney’s better turnout.
In Florida, 238,000 more Hispanics voted than in 2008, and Mr. Obama got 60% of Hispanic voters. His total margin of victory in Florida was 78,000 votes, so that demographic alone won it for him. Or consider Ohio, where Mr. Romney won independents by 10 points. The lead mattered little, though, given that black turnout increased by 178,000 votes, and the president won 96% of the black vote. Mr. Obama’s margin of victory there was 103,000.
This is the demographic argument that is getting so much attention, and properly so. The Republican Party can hope that a future Democratic candidate won’t equal Mr. Obama’s magnetism for minority voters. But the GOP would do far better by fighting aggressively for a piece of the minority electorate.
There’s no question that capitalism will lift minority families out of poverty. Similarly, there’s no question that that message won’t resonate if conservatives don’t devote tons of hours reaching out to every demographic group. PS- Progressive trust fund babies and elitists aren’t demographic groups.
Mitch Berg, one of the conservatives who gets it, has written eloquently about how the GOP can fight on the topics of charter schools and vouchers to win minority votes. Dan Severson has spent tons of hours doing outreach to various minority communities.
The point is that it’s time for conservatives to put together a well-funded outreach program. If we don’t do that on a national scale, presidential elections will become a night of misery for Republicans.
Conservatives aren’t victims so they shouldn’t spend time whining about what should or shouldn’t have happened. Conservatives are, by nature, solution-oriented opportunists. That’s why we’re entrepreneurial by nature.
Conservatives would win overwhelmingly if we fought as hard for every vote in every demographic group as we fight against tax increases.
Hispanics are pro-life, hard-working people. They’re a natural fit with conservatives. Churchgoing, middle class black families are a better fit with conservatives than with the Obama coalition. Why didn’t we do better with them? Here’s why:
Republicans right now are fretting about Mr. Romney’s failures and the party’s immigration platform—that’s fair enough. But equally important has been the party’s mind-boggling failure to institute a competitive Hispanic ground game. The GOP doesn’t campaign in those communities, doesn’t register voters there, doesn’t knock on doors. So while pre-election polling showed that Hispanics were worried about Obama policies, in the end the only campaign that these voters heard from—by email, at their door, on the phone—was the president’s.
Two cliches fit this situation perfectly. They are: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care and You can’t beat something with nothing.
Right now, minority communities don’t know conservatives want them to live a life of prosperity because we aren’t there day after day telling them that. We aren’t there day after day earning their trust or building relationships.
That’s essential in building an appealing something that will defeat the Democrats’ unappealing pandering.
There’s an important message to the activists. The DC establishment hasn’t built this outreach program so it’s up to us. Let’s start building ASAP.
Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.