Winning the Black Vote

There’s a scene from the television show Blackish in which the character Andre Johnson, a black advertising executive, is approached by a white colleague seeking advice on a new ad campaign. After fumbling through a pathetic white-wimp-speaks-jive schtick, he finally tells Andre, “We wanted to know how you think a black guy would say ‘good morning,’”

After a moment of mock reflection, Andre replies, “Probably just like that.”

This vignette illustrates the dilemma Republicans face. Looking for ways to talk with African Americans, the GOP has turned to the opposition, in which we see Democrats like Hilary Clinton speaking with a fake black accent and telling an African American radio host she carries hot sauce in her purse. This is the false reality that many Republicans have bought into; that there’s some kind of secret code involved when talking with blacks. Remember the Ebonics craze?

I have news for my conservative friends; talk with blacks the way you would talk to anyone else. This may come as a shock but blacks vote their interests just like anyone else would. History confirms this. John Kennedy won only 68% of the “non-white” vote in 1960. Four years later, Lyndon Johnson won 94% of that same voter group.

What happened in the intervening years was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislative work on the Voting Rights Act, and LBJ’s commitment to his Great Society. These were substantive actions that improved the lives of black Americans so it should surprise no one that Johnson was rewarded with a nearly 50% increase in the black vote.

Current Democrat policies of pandering and peddling government trinkets are an absolute failure, meaning Republicans now have a reason to talk to blacks. The question is, do they have a way to talk with Black America? They do if they’re willing to explain policy and temporarily forsake the adulation to which they’re accustomed at campaign rallies.

Republicans can address black unemployment by explaining the racists roots of the minimum wage, and how a $15 minimum wage and provisions of Obamacare are strangling job growth in black communities. The GOP can lay out policies that promote and celebrate family as opposed those that encourage disfunction and heartache in African American households. Republicans should also push school choice – give every urban poor kid the same choice that rich white kids have.