The Republican National Committee is serious about Black voter engagement and that is not just rhetoric, it is backed up by a multi-million dollar nationwide voter engagement effort. Under the leadership of RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, the RNC is setting out to change the game when it comes to connecting with Black voters.
During the 2020 Presidential cycle, the RNC funded over a dozen Black Voices for Trump Community Centers in target states across the country, including North Carolina. This year, we have already opened two RNC Black Community Centers in Cleveland OH, and now College Park, GA.
Last week, the RNC’s grand opening event in Georgia was attended by nearly 150 grassroots leaders, Black Republican elected officials, and candidates for Governor, Congress, and even County Commissioner.
As the emcee for the event, I looked out in the crowd and saw some familiar faces. I saw the leadership from the North Carolina Black Conservative Voices Coalition who traveled to Georgia to support the effort. That meant so much to all of us and the local team in Georgia to see that level of commitment to expanding our party.
As we move into the midterm elections, we owe it to ourselves to take note of early investments, early action, and early engagement to earn the vote from the Black community. In Virginia, Terry McAuliffe is running as the Democrat nominee for Governor and his campaign has made a desperate, last-ditch — and arguably illegal — campaign push using Vice President Harris in a video to Black churches for his campaign.
They are nervous because McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, has been making a lot of news with some important endorsements from Black organizations like the Hampton Roads Black Caucus. The HRBC president, Ron Taylor said, “I know Mr. Youngkin, every opportunity that we afforded him, he took advantage of it… he was trying to leave no stone unturned,” he added. “By contrast, McAuliffe declined to respond to the group’s questions and did not even deign to send a surrogate to their events. His campaign has not responded to a request for comment on its lack of engagement with the HRBC.”
Doug Wilder, the first Black Governor of Virginia is so fed up with the lack of support he sees coming from Democrats for the Black community, especially on the issue of HBCU funding in Virginia. In a scathing open letter, he wrote that “When I watched Glenn Youngkin last evening commit to provide funding for all five of our HBCUs in any budget he submitted to the legislature if he were Governor, it was historical. This is the 1st time any candidate for Governor has made this public commitment.”
Here’s what’s happening: meaningful engagement and GOP victories. At the event in College Park, GA, RNC Chairwoman McDaniel talked about the value in having both parties compete for the Black vote and how much the Black community will gain by not putting all our political eggs in one basket.
Ronna McDaniel is right. Giving Democrats so much of our loyalty and support for decades has not proven to be a successful political strategy. Just look at the conditions of those cities in America that have been run by Democrats, even Black Democrats for decades. High crime, poor schools, and a lack of economic development should not be commonplace but sadly it is.
I am proud to see the RNC and candidates across the country step up and say we are going to have a long-term strategy to earn more minority voters. I believe there is shift happening and know more free-thinking, independent-minded Black Americans are going to give the GOP a serious look because they see that Democrat leadership isn’t working.
Paris Dennard is the National Spokesperson and Director of Black Media Affairs for the Republican National Committee (RNC). Follow him on Twitter: @PARISDENNARD.