Once again, Republican presidential candidates are proving that they are either truly colorblind or just blind to people of color.
What is it that all these declared Republican presidential candidates all have in common: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Donald Trump?
The answer is none of them have any paid Black staffers or consultants. Let me be perfectly clear when I say staffers or consultants; I am referring to people who can get meetings on the calendar with the candidate, call the candidate on his private cell phone, or get the candidate to show up somewhere.
In other words, staffers or consultants who have power and influence to make things happen.
How can you run for president of the United States in the 21st century and have absolutely no diversity on your staff?
Lawdy, lawdy, I can hear their responses now. We are focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire; and then if we become the nominee we will look to hire Blacks they will say. So, in their minds, a Black staffer or consultant can only operate in states that have Blacks? Oh really?
To be a Black Republican, we must be able to operate in a White environment as well as a Black environment simultaneously.
Republicans have absolutely no understanding of this dynamic. So, if you are dealing with limited funds and you have to hire staffers or consultants; you are better off hiring a Black simply because you get a twofer.
You can’t take a White staffer and put him in the Black community and expect success because this staffer does not have an understanding of the various nuances within the Black community. Conversely, you can send a Black to deal with the White community if they have the right skill set.
For example, as a graduate of Oral Roberts University, I have deep relationships within the White Evangelical community second to none; but I also have deep personal ties with the heads of almost every major Black professional organization in the country (journalists, accountants, lawyers, physicians, M.B.A.s, etc.).
So, just on the fiscal issue alone, there is an immediate return on investment for having a policy of diversity at the highest levels of a presidential campaign since you get a twofer by hiring the “right” type of Black.
The other issue is that of optics. You have yet to see a Black person get off a plane or out of a car with any of these candidates. The sad part is the candidate nor his staff is even cognizant of this situation.
The candidate is ultimately to blame for this; but it is also the fault of their pollsters. I know most of the Republican pollsters very well, and with the exception of one, they all tell Republicans to ignore the Black vote.
On several occasions I have nearly come to blows with these pollsters over this issue. They are propagating this myth of the Hispanic voter and Republicans are buying into it. Blacks far outnumber Hispanics in voting age population (VAP); Blacks vote in far higher numbers than Hispanics; and Blacks have a far higher turnout percentage than Hispanics.
Isn’t it amazing that some of these candidates are courting Hispanics in Spanish; but refuse to speak to Blacks in a language that they understand?
Blacks understand the language of entrepreneurship. Under Obama, Black businesses have been decimated. Blacks have gone from receiving 8% of S.B.A. loans under Bush to 1.8% under Obama (their own numbers).
Blacks understand the language of education. Under Obama, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been decimated because of the policies coming out of the Department of Education.
These are two issues that play to the Republican’s strength; but yet they refuse to go into the Black community with this message. Instead, they foolishly go into the Black community talking about prison reform issues. H-E-L-L-O! These are not major issues within the Black community.
This is a typical case of Republicans trying to do the right thing; but doing it the wrong way. Too many Republicans think they and their White staffers know more about the Black community than a Black person from the community.
Message to Republicans: you can’t run on a platform to represent all of America when America is not represented on your campaign staff.
As the old folks used to say, “Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a damn thing you are saying.”