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The GOP and Identity Politics in the Black Community

The Republican Party continues to miss the mark when it comes to engaging the Black community.

For those Republicans, who fastidiously claim they don’t believe in “identity politics (IP),” let me give you a piece of advice: Stop It!

Politically speaking, IP is a campaign that is based on the particular needs of a specific group of people that will give them the rationale or incentive to vote for your candidate.

For example, a Republican candidate would campaign in the Black community on issues like entrepreneurship, civil rights, voting rights, etc.; whereas the same candidate might campaign in the Hispanic community on issues like entrepreneurship, immigration, and cultural assimilation.

Far too many Republicans assert that “we are all Americans and all want the same things: jobs, education, safe neighborhoods, etc.” This is all true, but a ridiculously bland message when it comes to outreach in the Black community.

While core messaging should be a constant for all candidates, the way you communicate that message has to be crafted based on the audience you are addressing.

In business, we call this market segmentation. This is most often done with the S-T-P approach; which is segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Once you segment the voters, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc., you then create a targeted campaign to speak directly to each individual group; finally, you position your messaging in a way that will resonate with that group.

McDonald’s is a classic example.

Their objective is to sell their Big Macs to the American people, so their TV commercials are all trying to convince the country to buy their product, but they also are smart enough to use IP or market segmentation to achieve their stated objective—selling more hamburgers.

So, it makes all the sense in the world for McDonald’s to use Black actors when advertising on BET and Hispanic actors when advertising on Univision. This is the commercial application of identity politics.
When have you ever seen men selling women undergarments in Victoria Secrets commercials? That’s right, you haven’t.

Republicans have become so data driven that they no longer have any vision.

It’s not enough for Republicans to reflexively spout out buzz words and phrases like: “We are the big tent party”; “the party of Abraham Lincoln”; “We believe in lower taxes, smaller government, more individual freedom,” yada, yada, yada.

Republicans must first and foremost persuade Blacks that conservatism is not incompatible with civil rights, voting rights, and equal opportunity, but rather these issues are a fundamental part of conservatism.

Republicans must, by their actions, demonstrate that Black businesses tend to flourish when Republicans control the levers of government compared to when Democrats are in power.

I wrote about this, in 2012, in a piece I did for Black Enterprise. Democrats and the Obama Administration have done very little for Black-owned businesses over the last eight years.

Republicans have a huge opportunity to engage directly with the Black community on the specific issue of entrepreneurship. Not only are these Black businessmen fervent supporters of abolishing the capital gains tax, accelerated depreciation (writing off all capital purchases in year one), and lowering the corporate tax rate, but they also want to be relieved of all the onerous regulations imposed on them by Obama’s reign of terror on small and minority businesses.

According to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, “Black buying power is $ 1.2 trillion; which would make Black America the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).” That is equivalent to the size of Mexico.

Two years ago, the Aspen Institute and “The Atlantic” released a poll that was stunning. According to their poll, Blacks represent the largest group in the country that “believes that the American Dream is attainable with hard work.”

So, to those Republicans, who think that Blacks are just waiting for more government programs and more handouts, I say, you’re wrong.

The Black community is open for business and willing to engage with the Republican Party, but when will the party address the issues we are interested in, not the issues that they think we’re interested in?

We need access to capital, our fair share of government contracts, which is mandated by law, a seat at the decision-making table and input in to policies that affect the economy.

And what will the party get in return for doing business with the Black community? The party will see Blacks voting for Republicans in double digits. The party will see a growth in financial contributions from leading businessmen, who currently see absolutely no value in contributing to Republican campaigns or entities. The party will also get fresh perspectives and new ideas from the top thinkers in the Black community; who are also the “real” leaders within our community.

But most importantly, the party find that the Black community is already in sync with its business agenda; the GOP simply needs to extend a sincere invitation.

Come on Republicans. What in the hell do you have to lose?

Republicans must first and foremost persuade Blacks that conservatism is not incompatible with civil rights, voting rights, and equal opportunity.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA.

This is Why ESPN Is the Republican Party of Sports Television

I am quite fond of saying about Republicans when it comes to Blacks, “Even when they try to do the right thing, they do it the wrong way.”

In a similar manner, ESPN has become the Republican Party of TV and sports.

Last week they had their annual ESPYs awards show. This is their annual celebration of achievement in the world of sports.

They opened the show trying to do the right thing, but definitely did it the wrong way.

The event opened with four of the top NBA players speaking out against police brutality and gun violence. This was very moving to the extent that you had four of the biggest names in sports taking a public stance on a relevant, social issue, which is very rare for today’s athletes. The players were LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

If this was such a good thing, you might be asking, then why am I criticizing the event?

All four of the above players are Black. This issue of police brutality and gun violence is not a “Black” issue, it is an American issue. Whites are subjected to these issues as well. Good and bad cuts across race and class.

In 2015, the NBA was 74.4 percent Black, 23.3 percent White, 1.8 percent Latino, and .2 percent Asian, this was based on a survey by Richard Lapchick.

It would have made more sense for the ESPN to have players from each of these groups on stage talking about these issues, sending the unmistakable message that this is not just a Black issue, but rather a societal issue.

The optics of the display were odd and quite offensive to me.

ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company, one of the top pro-homosexual companies in the world. When they were aggressively promoting former player Jason Collins for coming out of the closet, they used the full panoply of races in their promotion of their homosexual agenda.

But when it came to police brutality and gun violence, they made it into a “Black” issue, not a societal issue like homosexuality.

A few days before the event, LeBron James reached out to the ESPY’s producer, Maura Mandt, with the idea, thus the plan was agreed to by all the suits at ESPN’s corporate office.

From my research, ESPN and the ESPYs seem to have no diversity in leadership in terms of decision-makers, the decision-makers all seem to be White liberals.

Maybe, just maybe, if they had people from diverse backgrounds in the decision-making loop someone would have pointed out the optics of LeBron’s idea and encouraged him to have a diverse group of players on stage with him.
Diversity is not just about race or gender, it’s also about worldview.

To their credit, ESPN has a very diverse workforce as far as race goes, but it is without question that an overwhelming amount of that diversity is racial, not ideological.

Most of their decision-makers and on-air talent are extremely liberal, which is totally in line with their corporate view. My friends who work for ESPN never dispute my conservative views in my private conversations with them, but they would never admit that they hold such views in public.

For some, expressing those views would be career suicide at worst or at best lead to a very public excoriation from peers and fair-weather friends alike.

Exhibit “A” in my argument is Chris Broussard. He is an analyst for ESPN who focuses on the NBA. He has been profiled in many media outlets about his Christian faith and his positive family life. He is another version of Steph Curry.

When Jason Collins came out as homosexual, Broussard responded, “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, (but) adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals…I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ,” Broussard said. “I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

His simple expression of his faith caused a backlash like I have never seen before. So, as long as you are for homosexuality, your thoughts are welcomed on ESPN, but if you don’t agree with it, you are silenced.

I applaud these athletes for trying to take a principled stand at the ESPYs, but I fault ESPN for not having the foresight to fully understand and appreciate the optics of having all Black athletes on stage.

Now, mind you, ESPN is supposed to be experts in optics, after all, they are the world leader in sports and entertainment. But, because they are surrounded by people who all look and think like each other, there was no one to point out the obvious racial connotation of these optics.

Like the Republican Party, they tried to do the right thing, but did it the wrong way.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA.

American Jewish friends: Are we talking about you or someone you know?

Netanyahu obama israel

Bibi tête-à-tête Obama.

We were prompted to post an earlier version of this on my Facebook page in response to a Jewish Press op-ed by Varda Meyers Epstein, “How Could we Have Known: Jews who voted for Obama.” A native of Pittsburgh who made aliyah to Israel; she ably cataloged a number of warning signals about President Obama who has proven to be a cunning transformationalist.  Here are Ms. Epstein’s opening and closing tropes.

Beginning in 2007, those of us who saw the writing on the wall began campaigning against Obama. We knew he was bad for Israel from the things he said in interviews and from the people he hung out with, past and present. We posted articles that slammed him on social media and we lost friends for our insistent and incessant need to make our case: the one that would save Israel and Israeli Jews.

[…]

You want to tell me you really didn’t know about Obama’s hatred for the Jews and for Israel? Sorry, but I’m having trouble buying that story. But at the very least, you need to come out from under that rock and get a little, um, daylight. You’ve been looking a little pale since Tuesday.

We added to Ms. Epstein’s dossier with those of our own  thereby expanding on her theme.  After posting it on my Facebook page we received a welter of  “likes” and positive comments  from Australia, Canada, Israel and the U.S.  My chaver, ZoA stalwart in Philadelphia, Steve Feldman, who runs the Israel Activism Facebook page, thought it was “stupendous”.  A bit of hyperbole that, but thanks for the compliment, Steve.  However, I was brought up short by another chaver in Calgary, Bill Narvey, who, while he agreed with what I said, could we please “paragraph “it.  So here is a suitable presentation for Narvey and others.  The title for this piece was borrowed from a headline on Feldman’s Facebook post of what we originally wrote:

[H]ow could normally sensible Jewish Democrats have believed all that hokum about “Hope and Change” back in 2007 from an untried US Senator from Illinois who never completed a full term in office after leveraging a speech at the 2004 Democratic convention and two ghost written New York Times biographies allegedly by Bill Ayres . Who as a State Senator from Chicago voted present 100 times in the Illinois state legislature?

Or allied himself to the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian crowd at annual dinners of the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee with Michelle and him seated at a table back in 1998 with one of his alleged mentors, the late Columbia Professor Edward Said.  Or when he told his Chicago Pal Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada blog, during his run for US Senate backed by the gullible Chicago Jewish billionaires from the Pritzker and Crown Families of the Standard Club, that he wouldn’t forget both Abunimah and the Palestinian cause when he got to Washington.

Tell them how Obama lied about he had Israel’s back or that there was no diplomatic daylight between the US under his helm with Israel the only democratic ally in the Middle East. Tell them how he undertook secret negotiations with Iran back in the fall of his 2012 re-election using his Chicago mentor Valarie Jarrett to discuss a possible Iran nuke deal with Ali Akbar Salehi in Dubai, her childhood friend from living in Iran with her Chicago doctor father and mother after her birth in Shiraz.

Or ask them to explain how the July 14th announcement of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to cut off Iran from a bomb was followed by a UN Security Council unanimous endorsement a week later. That was less than a day after the Iran nuke pact was submitted to Congress for a review and vote by Rosh Ha Shanah in 2015.

Ask them why Iran’s nuclear infrastructure remains in place and the EU-3 will commit to hardening it preventing Israel from sabotaging it. Ask them if they ever thought a sitting President would use his executive powers to transform this country into just another member of the multilateral Euro-trash socialist club. Ask them why he cozyied up to the Muslim Brotherhood both in the Middle East and here in the US, only to dump them for apocalyptic End times Shiite Iran giving them a free pass to arm Hamas and Hezbollah and boost the Islamic State ranging on Israel’s borders.

Yes, tell your talented chaverim v mispochim who funded and voted for Obama, not once, but twice, that he is laughing at them behind their backs now that he honored his commitment to his Chicago radical and Palestinian fellow travelers. Tell them to watch out for the Palestinian State UN Resolution that may be introduced for a vote soon now that his Iran nuke pact legacy has been endorsed by the Security Council even before the General Assembly UN meetings in September in Manhattan. Tell them to watch him manipulate gullible Jewish Democratic Members of Congress securing a yes vote for the Iran nuke deal enabling him to veto any negative majority GOP and minority Democrat vote by Rosh Ha Shanah.

Tell them all that and ask them finally, why they voted for this destroyer of their children and grand children’s futures here in America and in Israel. Go ahead, ask them that.

Then tell them to watch this NER You Tube video interview with contributing NER editor, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein in June 2010.  Tell them to note his prescient bottom line assessment of Obama, as “the the most radical President, ever:”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Geert Wilders’ Anti-Islamization Immigration Stand Resonates Across Europe

Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands is being investigated for the second time in five years by Dutch prosecutors for  alleged hate speech during  his March 2014 local election campaign rally statement of “fewer Moroccans”.  This comes while his ratings in Dutch polls has rocketed him to the top with fully 30 seats in the Hague parliament, if snap elections were held.  That is more than the combined seats currently held by the ruling Rutte coalition of the PvdA and VVD parties.  Note  this remark: “The short message of PVV-leader Geert Wilders to the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte: ‘The revolution in The Netherlands has started now, Mark.”

Poll 21-12-2014

Dutch polls 12-21-14. For a larger view click on the image.

Wilders drew attention to that irony in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) op-ed, “Talking About the Moroccan Issue is not A Crime”.  Wilders is exercising free speech, something that Americans take for granted as a right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.  Wilders’ message about “fewer Moroccans” reflects the social consequences of permissive mass Muslim immigration undermining the social fabric of foundational  Western values of, liberty, freedom and tolerance. In Holland’s case it is exemplified by the rejection of those values by the Dutch Moroccan émigré community that even Dutch liberal parties have begrudgingly come to recognize.

What Wilders’ PVV and other parties in EU countries deemed ‘far right” have drawn attention to is the seeds of destruction of national values from compliance with UN humanitarian refugee programs straining resources and social welfare budgets caused by Jihadist warfare in the Middle East.  That is reflected in the rallies in Dresden and throughout major cities in Germany this Christmas season by the Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West).

As Al Jazeera reported Pegida rallies for “the right to preserve and protect our Christian-Jewish dominated West culture”, and against parallelgesellschaft – a German term used to describe immigrant communities that maintain their cultural norms and don’t integrate in local society.”  The third mass Pegida rally of more than 17,500 occurred Monday night before the Semper Opera House in Dresden where the Pegida movement arose in October. The trigger for Pegida was the more than 200,000 Syrian refugees granted asylum by Germany. Recently, the short lived Swedish Social Democrat liberal government fell on a no confidence vote allegedly provoked by the anti-immigration Swedish Democrat party. It had forged an alliance with center right parties in Sweden’s parliament over the issue of a ballooning social welfare budget to accommodate 80,000 Syrian war asylumees.

Participants hold German national flags during a demonstration organised by anti-immigration group PEGIDA in Dresden

Pegida Rally  Semper Opera House Dresden, Germany 12-22-14. Source: Reuters.

Wilders’ WSJ op-ed reflects the Dutch unease with the policies of the ruling coalition government in the Hague  Parliament. Those concerns have  that has now cross the EU and even here in America to comply with UN humanitarian refugee standards.  The subsequent generations of Muslim émigrés in host EU countries have led to spikes in Antisemitism, Synagogue fire bombings, allegations of sexual assault and grooming of non-Muslim women, tolerance of Shariah law in so-called Muslim dominated “no go areas”, murders perpetrated in the name of Jihad against Jews and others.  The specter stalking across the EU landscape of 28 members is the threat of homegrown Jihadists as returning veterans from the barbaric Salafist Islamic State.  That threat was crystallized by the murders of Israeli tourists and workers at the Brussels Municipal Jewish Museum by returning Syrian war French jihadist Mehdi Nemmouchet.

The large Muslim émigré communities in the EU were the results of granting host country citizenship coupled with the deficit in manpower to rebuild Europe following World War II. It was also a reflection  of the Eurabia paradigm articulated by the scholar Bat Ye’or  driven by OPEC control  over the  World’s and EU’s energy needs that arose during the October War of 1973. That led to the EC and the EU ‘accommodation’ of  Organization of Islamic Cooperation demands for tolerance of Sharia Blasphemy codes  demanded  by burgeoning Muslim émigré communities under the guise of host country hate laws.

That is the wind behind Wilders’ WSJ op–ed and the sudden emergence of groups like Pegida in Germany, and anti-Mass immigration parties in Denmark, Austria and Sweden.

Geert Wilders

Hon. Geert Wilders, PVV.

Note these excerpts from Wilders’ WSJ op-ed:

In the Netherlands, as in many other Western European countries right now, problems arise when Muslim immigrants refuse to assimilate and integrate into the wider community. In our case I referred specifically to the Moroccans not because I have anything against them generally but because they are one of the largest immigrant groups here and are over represented in our crime and welfare statistics.

Moroccans are suspects in violent robberies 22 times as often as indigenous Dutch. Between 1996 and 2010, more than 60% of the Moroccan male youths born in 1984 had at least once been suspected of a crime, a rate three times as high as their indigenous counterparts. … According to Dick Schoof, the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism and security, Moroccans also account for three-quarters of all Dutch Muslims who leave for Syria to wage jihad.

[…]

For almost a decade, my party has proposed three measures to address this issue. First, we want an end to immigration from Muslim countries. Second, we want to expel all criminals of foreign nationality and, for those offenders who have dual nationality, deprive them of their Dutch citizenship, sending them back to the country of their other nationality. Third, we want to encourage the voluntary repatriation of non-Western immigrants.

The prosecutor’s decision can’t be seen as being anything but politically motivated, especially when he has refused to prosecute two leading politicians of the governing Labor Party, Diederik Samsom and Hans Spekman, for similar statements on Moroccans. Mr. Samsom said that Moroccans have an “ethnic monopoly” on street crime, while Mr. Spekman said that Moroccans who don’t abide by the law have to be “humiliated in front of their own people.”

Polls have indicated that more than 43% of Netherlanders agree with me…. I was thus expressing the feelings of millions in my country. In a democracy, a public debate about important political issues, such as “the Moroccan issue,” shouldn’t be restricted by criminalizing the expression of certain problems and policy proposals.

 […]

Prosecuting me as an elected politician for expressing the opinions of my constituents is absurd. Excluding certain problems from the political debate by making it a crime to discuss them won’t lead to the disappearance of these concerns, let alone contribute to a solution. This prosecution, moreover, is also dangerous. People will begin to lose their trust in the democratic process. Festering political problems do not go away simply because they are kept in a dark corner. I wish the Dutch public prosecutor had been wise enough to see that.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of a protest sign which reads “No Hatred, No Violence, No Koran” at the Pegida rally in Germany. Source: Al Jazeera Yermi Brenner