(I originally wrote this back in 2005 as a young political appointee with the Bush Commerce Dept. Many have challenged us black conservatives to come up with a game plan for outreach and these were my thoughts.)
Hopefully, the reasons for a Republican outreach effort have been established, so what remains is the how.
A few suggestions:
1) We must establish a set of policies, conservative policies, geared toward the African American community. A set of proposals modeled on the “Contract for America,” that includes:
Jack Kemp Style Free Enterprise Zones: eliminate corporate taxes in urban, economically depressed areas while offering additional incentives for businesses to move in and provide jobs for residents.
Faith-Based Initiatives: compile a list of the nation’s most successful faith based groups and tout their achievements in African American communities.
Free Education Zones: an expanded school choice program that would allow public funding for private schools and charter schools and close public schools that don’t perform well.
2) Emphasize the shared values of our Party and the African American community. Not only do we share a history, we share values with a deep connection to churches. Our Party fights against government intervention while standing up for traditional family values. The gains the Party has made in the African American community has been directly connected to our Party’s opposition to gay marriage, abortion and high taxes. I can’t tell you how many people I have spoken with at church or at my barbershop who talk the talk of a Republican but because of forty years of misinformation still vote as a Democrat.
3) And lastly, the Republican Party must keep the faith in its outreach efforts. The Party must be willing to spend the effort and time needed to compete among African American voters. We must be willing to defend our history and correct common misconceptions, in forceful language.
The Republican Party has a history it should be proud of and should never be afraid to defend its legacy. Much has been made of our southern strategy but that strategy allowed us to effectively integrate the south, electing President Nixon who swiftly enforced federal judicial rulings. Much has been made of “our” Confederate flag, but we were the ones who fought it when it was flown against union troops and we were the ones who fought it when Democrats hoisted it back atop their statehouse in the 1960’s. Both African Americans and the Republican Party have a historic opportunity and we both should take advantage of it.