Commentary: Yet Another GOP Campaign Tries to Court Black Voters

Tea Party group FreedomWorks is preaching the gospel of Romney to African-Americans. Good luck with that!

Posted: 09/27/2012 05:23 PM EDT

You can call conservatives a lot of things this election season: divisive, mendacious and unaware of their audience are a few that come to mind. But what you must also call them is tenacious, at least when it comes to trying to recruit Black voters.

FreedomWorks, a conservative group that is linked with the Tea Party movement, is launching a Black and White Tour, “An explicit, unapologetic effort to lobby African-Americans on economic policy issues at the core of the agenda of many fiscal conservatives involved in Tea Party activism,” writes CNN’s PoliticalTicker.  

The tour kicks off Oct. 5 in the battleground state of Ohio and will travel to 10 more states, including Florida, Illinois, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe and outreach director Deneen Borelli, author of Blacklash, will be in attendance to rally the party faithful.

Despite the fact that Mitt Romney has literally been told to “get out” of Black neighborhoods, despite the fact that he was loudly booed when he spoke to the NAACP convention in July, despite the fact that polls predict Romney getting less than 1 percent of the Black vote, despite all that, there are some Republicans who think that courting Black voters is not a lost cause. You’ve got to respect their persistence.

Kibbe and Borelli, who is Black, told CNN that they’re well aware the road of them is hard — "We've stepped in the line of fire, I suppose,” said Kibbe — but they really do believe that their message of fiscal conservatism and “freedom” are things that can resonate with African-Americans. “We're thinking about the future. We don't consider this a one-time political event. It's really a social movement based on a set of values,” said Kibbe.

Of course, as we’ve said before, what people like Kibbe and Borelli say in quick sound bites and what the GOP actually does are often two different things. Ultimately, you can try to say to Black voters that your policies are really great for them, but when those same Black voters see Republicans attacking stuff like Medicaid and unemployment benefits and Obamacare — programs that really can and will help them get some stability — the cognitive distance is just too great. Kibbe and Borelli can try all they want, but unless the GOP were to almost totally revamp itself, getting a significant amount of Blacks to vote Republican is just not going to happen.


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