How to Win the White House in 2016: Making Inroads Among Black Voters

Editor's Note: Below are excerpts of a report produced by Americas Majority Foundation by Tom Donelson and JD Johannes. The report is being turned into a book.

The late Richard Nadler observed,

G.O.P. candidates and operatives must realize that their poor performance among minorities results not from Black or Hispanic liberalism, not from Black or Hispanic exceptionalism, but from the cultural isolation of African Americans and the linguistic isolation of many Hispanics.

Political isolation has separated Blacks, part of which is owing to Republicans’ failure to connect with Black voters in their media. National Draft Ben Carson's campaign director, Vernon Robinson, talked about the Nadler strategy that he instituted in North Carolina,

This strategy stands in stark contrast to the Reince Pribus Minority Engagement strategy spending $10 million on young black and Hispanic staffers to do retail politics and “tell old Pharoah to let my people go.” It will take these operatives until the 24th Century to reach 50% of black folk in a media market, something we did each week. That is why we call the Pribus strategy the “Star Trek” solution.

Our successful approach to win a 100 million dollar senate race with a mere $321K poses a grave threat to the Democrat party (not to mention many Republican political consultants). At least it would be if the GOP wasn’t the stupid party exclusively chasing the mythical marginal white voter. Our restore the GOP brand with radio approach has been successful in every media market in which it has been used since 2000 (except in Ohio 2008) by the late Richard Nadler, Tom Donelson, and now the Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. And yet it is far from clear that the GOP will end its refusal to engage black voters with a clear policy contrast through the media they know and trust.

For over a decade, the Nadler strategy used by Americas PAC has been successful. It played a role in Bush’s 2004 presidential victory as Richard Nadler discussed in a 2005 speech to Republican Leadership Coalition,

Where conservative 527 groups aired broadcast campaigns in minority venues, the Republican presidential ticket fared far better than where they did not. Improved presidential minority vote shares in 527 “program” states accounted for 287% of the Bush victory margin in New Mexico, 74% in Ohio, and 63% in Florida.

Americas PAC, along with the National Draft Ben Carson campaign has had continuing success, and yet Black voters are still an enigma for establishment Republicans.

Consider the recent Illinois election. Bruce Rauner garnered 38% of Hispanics voters and 7% of black voters, but in actual votes, Rauner received nearly 79,000 votes from Hispanics voters who made up 6% of the voter population this past election but only 39,000 votes from Black voters who made up 16% of the vote. If Rauner received 15% of the vote total, he would have matched what he gathered among Hispanic voters. Rauner expended efforts in both areas, but Americas PAC did ads on Hispanic markets. Unfortunately, no outside group aided Republican efforts in the Black community. This does show the efficacy of the Hispanic voter program, but it also shows that a similar effort would have added an additional 40,000 votes to Rauner total if he had simply gotten 15% of the Black vote.

As Robinson noted, a $320,000 program among Black and Hispanic voters had a role in Tillis' close victory. According to both exit polls and Americas Majority Foundation data, Walker not only performed well among Hispanic voters he also out performed Rauner in Illinois among Black voters. One reason for that is that Americas PAC had the funds to do both a Hispanic and Black ad campaign in Wisconsin. Just as Americas PAC did a year-long campaign in Illinois among Hispanics, they also did a year-long program among both groups in Wisconsin.

In 2016, Democrats will review the data from 2014 Midterms. The data saw small decreases from Black voters overall but Hispanic voter turnout dropped 20% and those who did show up, voted for Republicans in bigger numbers. In Illinois, New Mexico and Wisconsin, Hispanics gave Republicans bigger numbers than in 2010 and 2012. Black voters actually made up a higher percentage of Illinois voters than they did in 2012 when Obama was top of the ticket but Hispanics dropped 40% from 2012!

As Vernon Robinson noted, Democrats countered conservative efforts with their typical RPP (rape, plunder and pillage) ad campaigns as Tillis was even blamed for the murder of the Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin. The last ad that Robinson’s team did was a minority version of the prevailing economic argument as they pointed out how Kay Hagan’s family profited from the Obama stimulus plans, which Hagan voted for, while those in the minority community got the crumb off the table.

This ad showed that one way to move minority numbers is to use public rejection of Keynesian arguments. While Black voters do support the Keynesian economic assumption in relatively large numbers, at least 40% don’t buy into the idea that ever increasing government spending will solve their problems. If Republicans made a concerted effort to appeal to that group and even got half of their vote, it would be political Armageddon for the Democratic Party. We are talking a Republican stranglehold in the midwest and the south that would make it permanently red.

The purpose of our strategy is to break the left’s stranglehold over minorities. While it may seem contradicting for conservative groups who reject group identity politics to appeal to minority voters on minority media, our long term goal is to not just peel off enough votes to win elections but to add significant numbers of minorities to the conservative coalition while emphasizing individual rights over group identity. The short term agenda is to peel off those votes that can provide the difference in winning close elections. Richard Nadler’s vision was that if your candidate is at 48%, we will get him or her to 51%.

 

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