The first black members of the House and Senate were Republicans, and they won their positions in the aftermath of the Civil War. In fact, the GOP would go on to appoint more black legislators in the 19th century. Back then, a palpable synergy existed between the black community and the Party of Lincoln after it ended slavery in the United States.
Times have certainly changed. Next year, the Republican Party will have only one black member in the legislative branch: Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). There are several reasons behind black Americans walking away from the GOP, but the outreach efforts of Sen. Scott, along with the members of the Empower America Project, seek to ensure that blacks and other minorities are once again elevated in the conservative movement.
The Empower America Project works with a diverse array of conservatives who wish to enter the world of politics. The organization is headed by Jimmy Kemp, son of former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp. Sen. Scott serves as Honorary Chairman of the group.
While the organization focuses on would-be candidates for office at the local, state, and federal levels, it does not limit itself only to electoral contenders. It also works with those who desire other positions in the political realm, including people who want to work for campaigns or become members of a politician’s staff.
Liberty Nation spoke with Bradford Traywick, the group’s Strategic Communications Director, to learn more about its activities. “The broad vision of the Empower America Project is one America united, not divided, where all Americans are empowered to succeed,” he said. “The Project will identify leaders who believe in civility and the power of ideas and who share our core policy objectives of an effective government, economic freedom, American values, and opportunity for all.”
In the group’s promotional video, members make a case for a “free-market conservative construct,” with a specific focus on improving education. The message of the American Dream being alive and well comes through strongly, and is likely to attract traditional conservatives to their cause.
The organization claims to differ from other groups focusing on minority outreach in that its goal is to promote conservative policies such as school choice and programs to foster economic growth. “We are fighting to advance access to quality education for all, economic freedom rooted in capitalism and free markets, and American leadership to maintain and extend freedom to all people,” said Traywick.
The director explained how the organization trains future candidates and helps them learn how to connect with voters:
“Our dual-track program will help our servant leaders refine and sharpen their message and improve their ability to clearly and compellingly communicate it. Our efforts focus on answering the question ‘Why are you doing what you do?’ in a way that focuses on shared problems instead of on one’s personal ambition. By establishing a clear ‘why,’ our leaders will engage audiences in their communities effectively, create rapport, and gain a more receptive ear for the [project] leader’s unique message.”
Traywick also pointed out that, despite being only six months old, the group has already achieved some of its aims. The group has helped two candidates win their elections. Daniel Cameron recently became Kentucky’s Attorney General, and Roxy Ndebumadu was elected to the city council of Bowie, MD. Empower America says that it intends to ramp up its efforts in the new year in preparation for the 2020 elections.
A Positive First Step
The GOP has been visibly lacking when it comes to promoting diverse candidates. Empower America says it can help the party better reflect the makeup of the nation by working with minority and women candidates who wish to bring conservative solutions to their communities.
Perhaps groups like this and others have the best chance of promoting conservative policies in areas that have long been dominated by the progressive left. By focusing on effective ideas that enable Americans of all backgrounds to succeed, they are going beyond simple rhetoric. Is this a step towards affecting real change for minority communities?
Read more from Jeff Charles.