As I boarded my return flight to D.C. from last week’s Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio, I began to reflect on what I saw and I began to ponder how I could put to paper my experiences in this column.
Out of nowhere, the words of Charles Dickens from his novel “A Tale of Two Cities,” popped into my head:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Once again the Republican Party should be thoroughly ashamed at having only about 18 and 50 Black and Hispanic delegates, respectively (less than five percent), at the convention; though the party has not released any official numbers.
This was by far the “Whitest” convention I have ever attended; but the party seems to care very little about this fact.
I attended several Latino sponsored breakfasts and luncheons with members of Congress or top aides from the Trump campaign as speakers. There were zero Black Republican hosted breakfasts or luncheons, but there was an evening party hosted by Black Republicans.
This again shows the weakness of Black Republicans within the party. This can’t be blamed on White folks in the party. This is an indictment of how little juice and foresight Blacks have within the party.
Under the current party leadership, I would prefer to have no Blacks on staff because the few they have are totally incapable of producing any results. So why waste the money to hire people who are totally incompetent?
But, then again, this is exactly the result the party wants. So they hire Blacks who have no connection to the Black community, or any interest in the Black community, or any understanding of strategic communications. Thus, they get the results they wanted all along—nothing. But since they hired a few Blacks, in the party’s mind, they can’t be called racist. I call this buying “race insurance.”
I had several well-known Blacks from sports, entertainment, Hollywood, and business interested in attending the convention,; but I decided not to bring them because the party had no interest in receiving them properly.
The last time I checked, I was not an employee of the RNC, but yet I had tons of media outlets calling me because they couldn’t get Black staffers to return their calls or help them resolve logistical issues they encountered at the convention, but yet they had time to hang out at several parties until the wee hours of the morning.
I arranged for many of the Black delegates to be interviewed by major media outlets, because the RNC staff proved yet again to be non-responsive to media inquiries. Black surrogates during the convention were almost non-existent and Republican party leaders continue to wonder why they get no traction in the Black community.
I challenge the RNC to produce clippings of all interviews of Black surrogates from last week. There was absolutely no media strategy leading into the convention, during the convention or post-convention. This is media relations 101 and the party failed the course miserably.
The Black staffers at the RNC are so incompetent that last month they sent out an e-mail to reporters bragging about the diversity of the delegates at this year’s convention, highlighting the whopping 18 total Black delegates out of a total of 2,472. I am not joking. This actually happened.
Do Black Republicans have no pride at all? I would be ashamed to be paid for a job and deliver nothing of any substance.
If there is to be a shift in Black loyalties within the body politic, it won’t be because of the RNC. The RNC has no interest and to be honest, no capacity to substantively engage with the Black community.
Any meaningful change in the participation rate of Blacks within the party will be forced upon the RNC from the outside.
If the RNC were run like a business, the whole staff would be summarily fired for total incompetence. The astonishing thing is that none of our party leadership even publically acknowledged the “Whiteness” of our convention.
Out of an arena capacity of approximately 20,000 people, you probably had fewer than 200 Blacks and Latinos, that includes delegates and spectators.
Trump has a window of about 30 days to address the issue of the Black voter. If he doesn’t, he will definitely have a more difficult path to victory come November.
It is truly the best of times and the worst of times for Black Republicans.
Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit www.bafbf.org. You can follow Raynard on Twitter @Raynard1223.