Do you think that the Republican Party is racist? That perception, says K. Carl Smith, who is African-American and Republican, is one of the biggest obstacles preventing conservatives like him attracting others to the party. But the Trussville, Alabama, resident and Danny Hubbard, chairman of the Talladega County Republican Party, are on a mission to encourage Blacks in Alabama to vote Republican.
It won’t be easy and as The Anniston Star reports, politics in the state are divided along racial lines. In the last presidential election, about 9 of 10 whites voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and 9 of 10 Blacks voted for President Obama.
“They’re working against decades of mistrust, and to put it mildly, some public relations problems,” David Lanoue, a Columbus State University political scientist, told the publication.
He said that if the GOP wants to make gains with African-Americans, it must find ways to make them feel welcome, speak about common issues, such as faith and social conservatism, and address issues that plague Black communities, such as poverty and unemployment.
Smith, who is retired, says that he became a conservative activist after reading the works of Frederick Douglass. Now he wants to encourage other African-Americans to “vote their values.” Smith and Hubbard will begin outreach to the Black community in Talladega on June 22 at a public workshop they’re hosting at a local theater.
“Our hope is to meet people and get a conversation going. Maybe we can learn to communicate better than we have been,” Hubbard said.