Despite predictions of a massive “black exodus” from the Democratic Party, the GOP establishment’s approach to attracting those leaving the left has fallen woefully short. In the 2018 midterm elections, black voters supported Democratic candidates at the same rate as they have in the past, and it does not appear that the GOP has managed to make any meaningful inroads since.
In part one of Liberty Nation’s discussion with Maj Toure, he explained how his organization, Black Guns Matter, is bringing a conservative approach to gun ownership to black communities across the country. In part two, he addresses some of the mistakes the conservative movement has made in reaching black voters and provides insight into how the Republican Party can change its approach in a way that could allow conservative candidates to earn votes from blacks and other minorities.
The Failure of the GOP’s “Safe” Approach
As most know, 90% of black voters support left-leaning candidates despite having many political stances in common with conservatives. There are several reasons for this, but according to Toure, one of the overriding contributors to the dearth of support for conservative politicians is the fact that the GOP has not made a genuine effort to speak to black voters.
Toure did not mince words when discussing the inability of the Republican Party to earn black votes. He explained that one of the major failures of the GOP has been in its messaging and its tendency to promote black conservatives seen as “safe.” “They always get the black people that say the false talking points,” he explained. “They get the corny black people. You know, just because you’re melanated don’t mean you’re urban. I’m openly saying most black conservatives are corny. I love ‘em. I like a lot of those people, but they’re corny.”
Toure’s words might seem harsh, but they represent what many conservative black Americans have observed. When he refers to being “corny,” he is addressing the fact that many prominent black conservatives are unable, or unwilling, to relate to aspects of black culture that are essential when it comes to understanding how to reach the community. He believes that conservative outlets and politicians tend to take the “safe” route when they choose which black conservatives to elevate. “I think what happens is they go for safety,” he said. “But nothing ventured, nothing gained. These safe people are corny, and they don’t identify with the demographic even though the demographic by and large is very conservative.”
One of the examples Toure uses when discussing mistakes that “corny” conservatives make when addressing black issues is their handling of police brutality. “They’ve got this thin blue line mentality,” he said when describing their approach to the relationship between blacks and the police. “It’s never the government. It’s never the police. No, sometimes it is. Sometimes it is the government. Sometimes it is the police. I’m saying yeah, that sh*t is corny and they miss the disconnect.”
Reasonable conservatives of any race can agree and disagree on individual cases of police brutality, but like many other issues facing the black community, the conservative movement seems to focus on blacks who echo one particular stance on these problems. These individuals have relied on a message of plantation politics that only further alienates the average black voter. In effect, by elevating individuals who talk down to black people, the conservative establishment seems to have created the misconception that there exists a monolithic thought pattern among black conservatives. Indeed, this is one of many misperceptions held by the right about black Americans.
How the Right Gets it Wrong
Americans on both the left and the right fail to adequately understand the black community. Much of the confusion can be attributed to both conservative and leftist media outlets, who perpetuate narratives about black America that are inaccurate – and sometimes intentionally deceptive.
When asked what the right gets wrong about black Americans, Toure indicated that many have been manipulated by the media. He points out that they realize that many reports about President Trump are fake news, but they don’t have this same level of distrust when media outlets report on the black community. “So they don’t see how they are a victim of that same media manipulation,” he said. “Media is very smart, M.E.D.IA., I call it: the Most Effective Devil in America.”
Toure pointed out that the reportage of most news outlets creates a false impression of blacks. “So that’s the biggest misconception,” he noted. “As soon as black dudes get guns, they’re gonna rob each other, in a vacuum, despite evidence to the contrary.”
Indeed, many on both the left and the right believe in the stereotype of the violent black male, and use statistics to bolster their points. However, it is rare that many individuals will acknowledge that the majority of black men do not commit crimes, either violent or nonviolent.
If the GOP wishes to make inroads with black voters, they must alter their approach and break through the misunderstandings that many have about inner-city communities. Toure asserts that the only way this can happen is if the Republican Party partners with individuals like himself and others to open a dialogue. “The left has better P.R.,” he said. “They (Republicans) have to have a liaison before they can have a conversation.’
The fact that the GOP has largely been absent from inner cities has allowed the left to paint conservatives as bigots without being challenged. This has grown a seed of distrust against the GOP in the inner city, whose residents have their own misconceptions about the right. Toure’s argument for cultivating relationships with black conservatives who are willing to go into the community and bring a conservative message is correct. People like Toure are far more likely to reach black Americans if they have the funding and resources necessary to pursue this endeavor. In the end, building trust and engaging with the black community face to face is the way to earn votes. The traditional approach has been failing for decades. Perhaps it is time for conservatives to try something different.
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