Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Curious and Missing

In the last two nights of observing the Republican Convention from St. Paul's Excel Center the visuals are a stark contrast to the DNC. Is it me or is their an absence of color and youth?

The cameramen must be falling all over themselves to find the handful of Black Republicans. In past years at the GOP party, the total number of Blacks has hovered at 10 percent. I'm guessing it hasn't gone up but may be going down. The Joint Center for Political and Economic studies bears this out. "Of the Republicans' 2,380 delegates, only 36 are black, a 78 percent drop from the GOP's 2004 convention and the lowest number in 40 years."

The reason for this drop can be attributed to several prominent Black Republicans vocally talking about voting for Barrack Obama. Some in this group have done so out of racial solidarity, and others have "heard the message of change."

For the uninitiated those famous Black Republicans you will see include Ken Blackwell of Ohio, Lynn Swann of Pennsylvania, Michael Steele of Maryland, Joe Rogers of Colorado, and Ward Connerly of California. These are the old stalwarts of the GOP who have put in time doing party building.

Get ready however for the new breed, Hip-Hop Republicans. According to their website, "They describe A “Hip Hop Republican” as not an individual that has lost her or his identity as a result of self-hatred, lack of exposure, or economic success. Because of the current political climate and common understanding, Hip Hop Republicans (and Black Republicans in total) often stand alone."

I witnessed their emergence first hand in Maryland with Lieutenant Governor Steele as their champion. He unexpectedly brought in Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons in for a fundraiser. During his remarks the Lieutenant Governor told the gathering (numbering 300) "it's not enough to get a seat at the lunch counter but we should strive to own the lunch counter."

This movement is about creating legacy wealth. It's not necessarily a shared idea in the Democratic Party which pushes shared sacrifice and collective cooperation. It is a tantalizing proposition for this generation who believe in Black entrepreneurship. The downside is being ridiculed for the social and moral causes which they neither understand or are prepared to grasp.

It's this group the GOP needs to understand if they hope to sustain itself in the future. It can teach it about guerrilla marketing; nuancing without being rigid; and believing in a society where color is less of issue than ideas.


The National Black Republican Association founded in 2005 is the most visible of the GOP franchises. According to President Frances Rice, "the group is dedicated to promoting the traditional values of the black community which are in concert with the core Republican Party philosophy of strong families, personal responsibility, quality education and equal opportunities for all."

The NBRA is infamous for its ads (Radio, Print, and Online) suggesting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. Several prominent Civil Rights Leaders have discounted this advertisement. The King family went as far as to issue a cease and decease order for the radio spots which used King's voice. It has not stopped the billboard and online activities. As I said in an earlier post some were strategically placed in Denver.

There appears to be a coarseness in this groups attempts to dissuade African-Americans from siding with the Democrat Party, which is their right. They are also effective in bring a number of Black conservative commentators to the attention of media.

I note, the current cause is to use religious undertones in dissuading Blacks from backing and staying loyal to the Democratic Party over the issue of abortion, gay marriage and traditional Black family values. This line of advocacy paid dividends in 2004 especially in Ohio and Florida where several exit poll workers discovered these issues persuade a large number of church going "Black Folk" to vote Republican.

My analysis this time shows there will be fewer of those who will succumb to this logic. It is fear which brings this group its numbers. I'm reminded starting a movement is not done by creating a website, but rather by mobilizing real people to stand by you on the ideas you put forward. It may not be large but you literally must begin proselytizing in order to make it work. Lastly, the age group which links itself with the group is greying (just like many other groups). Learn a thing a or two from the HIP HOP Caucus. There message is positive rather than a negative.

Palin Speech

You know I'm going to watch this tonight. Are you like me, "scratching your head wondering what were they thinking? FYI, they have brought the boyfriend in for show. This is tacky. Does anyone know if he has a voter registration card? Correct me, but didn't they say they wanted this to remain private? Bob Parks,writing for the Booker Rising Blog says, "If Sarah Palin has learned anything from her less-than-a-week in the international spotlight, she's learned what it's like to be black."

Welcome to my world.




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