On the night of the second Republican presidential debate, entrepreneur and candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wrote one post to a nation based on these ideals.”
But Ramaswamy faced backlash from black Americans on both sides of the political spectrum who did not appreciate his rhetoric regarding the black community. His supporters have defended his approach, saying he only holds up a mirror to black America when he talks about the challenges facing our community. But they miss the central theme.
Our problem with Ramaswamy is not so much his message but his approach to communication. In particular, there is something missing from his rhetoric about this demographic: actual solutions and a willingness to engage with Black Americans.
One of the main problems that Ramaswamy has behaved Is the problem of too many black children growing up without a father. This is certainly not a problem all Black communities, but in some it’s – in fact, it’s something we discuss among ourselves, on both sides of the political aisle.
But it’s worth asking: Is there anything a president can do to address this problem?
Fatherlessness is a social problem that only society can solve. There is no real government solution to this problem other than repealing existing policies contributed to fatherlessness.
Why does a presidential candidate make this a central plank of his campaign?
What other measures has Ramaswamy suggested eliminating to encourage more black families to stay together?
So far, the only real black-related policy he has made a key part of his campaign is pushing it Elimination of affirmative actionwhich has absolutely nothing to do with keeping black fathers at home.
Meanwhile, Ramaswamy appears to be denying the impact of historically racist policies specifically put in place to create barriers for African Americans. And with the exception of gun control, the candidate hasn’t even bothered to have detailed discussions about policies that have a disproportionately negative impact on Black Americans.
Others on the right have insisted that black people are criticizing Ramaswamy because he is a Republican who “tells the truth” about the black community. That’s not even remotely true. The objections have more to do with the fact that he is simply peddling the same tired arguments that too many Conservative Inc. commentators and politicians have used for decades – and not to uplift black Americans.
Going around speaking to a predominantly white audience about issues in the black community will not seem like someone is trying to court our votes. At best it will read as an attack and a nod to racial stereotypes other at worst, the voices of the people.
Essentially, Ramaswamy does not seem to address the real causes that have led to the conditions in which too many black Americans live. He simply recites the same mindless script that conservatives have used for decades, parroting phrases about African Americans that endear him to the conservative base, rather than speaking to black Americans about the real issues facing their communities.
To his credit, Ramaswamy visited Chicago after intense criticism of his rhetoric from black conservatives and liberals. Ramaswamy also made a few appearances in black media. He got involved a lively debate on “The Breakfast Club” with Tezlyn Figaro, Charlamagne tha God and other hosts. The candidate also took part in an interview with the Cartier family. But as far as contact with local black Americans goes, the visit to Chicago seems to be the only case so far. Since then, he doesn’t seem to have bothered to appear in other predominantly black communities to commiserate with the people whose problems he likes to talk about on the campaign trail and on social media.
The Republican Party’s inability to reach a significant portion of the black population has caused consternation in conservative circles for years. Ramaswamy’s rhetoric and talking points clearly illustrate why this was so. Those who criticize black people for voting Democratic at a rate of 90 percent ignore a reality that many on the right refuse to admit: The Republican Party doesn’t seem to want black voters – at least judging by their actions and their behavior judges rhetoric.
The party didn’t make it serious public relations work for black voters since the Barry Goldwater years. GOP candidates seeking office at all levels of government rarely venture into black neighborhoods to court and win over voters. If you were to ask the average black man living in Chicago or other cities when the last time he saw a Republican candidate in his community, he would be hard-pressed to say.
The simple truth is that black people cannot elect a Republican mayor or city council if there is no one running in their city.
Lincoln’s former party has essentially failed black voters for decades, and winning them back will take a concerted effort over the long term. But like Ramaswamy, the GOP is content to just talk around Black Americans – and don’t like to talk To Black Americans.
If Republicans want this to change, they need to evolve their overall outreach strategy. The question is: are they ready for this?
Jeff Charles is host of the A Fresh Perspective podcast and a contributor to RedState and Liberty Nation.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.