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How Should the GOP Appeal to African American Voters?

Stephen Henderson speaks with John Hudak, a fellow at the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings Institution, to talk about the growing number of Republican candidates running in the 2016 Presidential Election and how race and inequality will play an important role. They main points of their discussion:

  • Casting a larger net: Henderson begins the show by playing a clip of a Rick Perry speech about the need to appeal to black voters. Hudak says Perry is recognizing that there are groups the Republican Party has “written off” like African Americans because they assume they will not win their vote. He says the GOP needs to get back to its roots of conservatism and not turn a blind eye to voters who don’t look like the stereotypical Republican voter.
  • Empty words: Hudak says rhetoric about race and racial inequality should be used by all mainstream Republican candidates. He says, however, that voters are looking for more than just pretty words in campaign speeches; they want to see candidates support policies that reflect these views. He says a disconnect between what GOP candidates say and what they plan to do if elected to office will hurt them in the polls.
  • Self-empowerment: Henderson and Hudak discuss the importance of the message of self-empowerment to African American communities and beyond. Hudak says, “no one wants to exist on the government doing for them, they want the government to facilitate a situation in which they can do for themselves.” He stresses the importance of going into communities to actually spread the message of self-empowerment. Otherwise, he says, republicans do themselves a disservice because black and other minority voters will see this “subtle avoidance” and vote accordingly.
  • The size of the field: Hudak talks about problems that the Republican party is facing in this election. He says the large number of GOP candidates has led national news media to focus on the latest faux pas or racist comment made by candidates instead of the policies they support. He says the media has incentivized the field to be more outrageous in order to receive more coverage and attention.

To listen to the full conversation click the audio link above.

Image credit: DonkeyHotey

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