One of the most daunting challenges for the Republican Party is gaining the support of minority voters. This is especially true of the black community, which votes 90% for Democratic politicians. While President Donald Trump has enjoyed more support among blacks than previous GOP presidents, the results of the 2018 midterms show that much work still needs to be done on a national level.
Liberty Nation spoke with entrepreneur and activist Felecia Killings, a conservative black woman who founded an organization that helps conservatives and right-leaning organizations craft the type of messages that appeal to black voters. In the first of a two-part article, Killings discusses some of the missteps the GOP has made over the years that impede its progress in shoring up the support of black voters. Be forewarned: This is not the typical black conservative viewpoint one might be used to, but it is important to hear it if Republicans wish to make inroads in the black community.
Who Is Felecia Killings?
Felecia Killings is the founder and CEO of FKMinistries, an organization and online church whose mission is to “help God’s people engage in this end-time revival and national reformation using the written and spoken word.” She is also a mother, an author, a writing coach, and a speaker who combines her work with political activism.
Killings states that she has held conservative beliefs since childhood due to her upbringing. “I have always been conservative,” she explained. “My father raised me this way. In our home, we knew very little about Democrats and liberalism.”
From an early age, she was taught to dismiss victimhood. “My father was adamant about rejecting the victim’s mentality or dependence on government to solve our social and moral problems,” she said.
Through her organization, Killings has started a conservative movement she calls The Fifteen 20 Rise Movement. “Our mission within this sub-ministry is to help more conservatives reach black voters with their God-focused message,” she said. “When the conservative base learns to do things a different way, we will begin seeing 15-20% of black Americans voting for conservative candidates in 2020 and beyond.”
She’s not the only right-leaning black American to suggest that the conservative movement needs to change its outreach to get more black support. Others in the black conservative movement have pointed out the need for a better strategy for winning black votes.
Where the GOP Is Falling Short
Over the years, Killings has observed the GOP’s attempts — or lack thereof — to reach out to black voters, and while she believes that the conservative message can resonate with minorities, she has identified several areas in which the party is falling short. When asked about the most damaging mistakes the conservative movement makes in courting black support, she didn’t hold back.
“When it comes to the GOP nationwide, the strategy must be more aggressive,” she began. “As more minority leaders win the hearts of black voters, for example, the GOP needs to shift its tactics by promoting these leaders and not the talking-point prophets of the current base.”
The entrepreneur then discussed the reality that the conservative movement promotes only right-leaning blacks who parrot a hackneyed — and inaccurate — narrative about black Americans. Again, she didn’t mince words:
“The current conservative movement elevates uneducated black leaders posing as conservatives, suggesting all black people should think as these mainstream voices. I’m talking about the likes of Candace Owens, Brandon Tatum, David Harris, Jr., Terrence Williams, Diamond and Silk, and others. To the base, these are the acceptable black folks. Not black intellectuals. Not black scholars. Black people who, just a few years ago, were die-hard Democrats.”
Killings argued that these individuals might not be the best messengers for black conservatism. “Now, when you listen to any of the aforementioned speak, and when you realize they have very little grasp of true black history, you have to wonder if the conservative movement feels the best black person is the most ignorant black person,” she remarked.
Killings surmised that individuals still use this messaging style because they believe it appeals to their conservative audience. “It’s popular to belittle black people, to call them lazy, to say they are slaves on the Democratic plantation. These are talking points that generate ratings and revenue,” she said.
Part of the problem, according to Killings, is that many conservatives have adopted a view of blacks that is not accurate. “The worst misconception I’ve observed is that conservatives think conscious black Americans are uneducated and liberal,” she explained. “They assume all black people who vote Democrat are stupid and have no idea about that party’s racist past. Conservatives have this misconception that if any black conservative addresses black history, then she is actually a ‘closet liberal.’”
A Better Way?
Killings’ critique of the Republican Party’s approach to black voters might seem tough; it is not the standard message many conservatives have come to expect from blacks who share their political beliefs. Many on the right have focused on the Democrats’ misdeeds while ignoring the GOP’s failure to address the black community genuinely. Indeed, President Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan to directly address black voters during the 2016 campaign, and his out-of-the-box approach earned him greater black support than previous conservative presidents.
Nevertheless, it is important that conservatives hear alternative arguments to the typical ones to which they have become accustomed over the past few decades. The traditional conservative talking points, which focus on slavery metaphors and quoting homicide statistics, have been used for decades, and they mostly have been dismally ineffective. A drastic reimagining of the conservative approach to blacks and other minorities is essential if the GOP wishes to survive.
Fortunately, all is not lost. Killings believes that the GOP can make deeper inroads in the black community if it adopts a more conciliatory approach:
“When the GOP begins throwing its support to people who know black history, who speak to black people, who LISTEN to black people, and who know how to develop solutions with black people based on conservative values, then the GOP will be practically invincible. We’re talking about being as radical as the radical Republicans of the 1860s. And as I shared in a recent article, if the party doesn’t get ahold of this revelation right now, especially before the 2020 elections, it will practically die.”
The data support Killings’ prediction. America’s demographics are changing, and minorities are expected to outnumber whites by 2040. Given the current trajectory of the country’s population, the Republican Party needs to broaden its focus if it wishes to remain relevant.
In the conclusion of this article, Killings provides her innovative ideas on how the conservative movement can finally break through to entice and solidify the support of the black community.