WASHINGTON WATCH: What Must Republicans Do To Attract Minorities? (VIDEO)

Will Republicans be able to attract African Americans to the GOP and why don’t Black Republicans stand up to divisive figures within the Republican party.

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable feathers Charles Butler, conservative talk show host from Chicago; Sophia Nelson, political commentator for theGrio.com; Ken Blackwell, former Secretary of State of Ohio, also chairman of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign also in Ohio; and “The Black Eagle” for Sirius XM Radio, Joe Madison.


MR. MARTIN:  Welcome back.

Charles, you were making a point in terms of this whole notion of black folks voting for Republicans.  Here’s, I think, the big problem; and that is when you say – because it really came down to the whole Chris Christie deal.  Okay?  “Well, he’s not conservative,” but he’s a Republican.

But the fact of the matter is there are different layers of conservative.

MR. BUTLER:  ’S right.

MR. MARTIN:  There are people who are fiscal conservative[s] who are socially liberal.

MR. BUTLER:  ’S right.

MR. MARTIN:  There are people who are social conservatives – okay – who are fiscally –

MR. BUTLER:  Liberal.

MR. MARTIN:  — liberal, if you want to call it that.  And so part of the problem – and there’s no one thing that’s “conservative,” just like there’s no one thing that’s a progressive, or a liberal.  That, to me, is the mistake.

MR. BUTLER:  Um-hum.

MR. MARTIN:  And from the Republican Party’s standpoint, if they don’t embrace the idea that I might want to talk about more stuff when you’re talking to black folks –

MR. BUTLER:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — other than, “We’re the party of Lincoln.”

MR. BUTLER:  Right, right.

MR. MARTIN:  Then –

MS. NELSON:  [Crosstalk.]

MR. MARTIN:  — you might have a shot.

MR. BUTLER:  Other than social issues.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. BUTLER:  You know, let’s start talking about –

MS. NELSON:  Exactly.

MR. BUTLER:  — access to capital.  Let’s start talking –

MS. NELSON:  Right.

MR. BUTLER:  — about building the –

MS. NELSON:  There ya go.

MR. BUTLER:  — black entrepreneurial class.

MR. MARTIN:  But it rarely –

MR. BUTLER:  What that –

MR. MARTIN:  — happens, and I’m telling you –

MR. BUTLER:  — it – it needs to happen.

MR. MARTIN:  — I – I have – [chuckles] – sat down –

MR. BUTLER:  Exactly!

MR. MARTIN:  — with many a white Republican, and I[’ve] said, “This is very simple.  One, if you don’t talk to black folks, you don’t listen to black folks, you’re not going to get black votes.”

And there’s evidence!  Ask George Voinovich when he ran for United States Senate.  He also was governor, also was mayor.  Ask Mike Huckabee when he was governor of Arkansas.

MS. NELSON:  Ask George Allen.  Ask –

MR. MARTIN:  So, there’s –

MS. NELSON:  — Christie Whitman.

MR. MARTIN:  — evidence of Republicans who’re white –


MR. MARTIN:  — getting black votes.




MR. BLACKWELL:  — in Texas.

MR. MADISON:  — look, I’ve come – both of us are from Ohio.  I grew up in Ohio [at the] same time.


MR. MADISON:  I grew up in Michigan.  I remember William Milliken, who was a Republ- —

MR. BLACKWELL:  George –

MR. MADISON:  — well let me –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — Romney.

MR. MADISON:  — and – well, hold on.  Let me deal with my person.


MR. MADISON:  I remember William Milliken, who understood as Detroit goes, so goes the state of Michigan.  And he actually got the support of Coleman Young, who was on the Democratic National Committee, because people vote their interest.

Now –

MR. BLACKWELL:  [Crosstalk.]

MR. MADISON:  — let me say something else that Charles –

MR. MARTIN:  Joe, then Ken.

MR. MADISON:  — mentioned, and that is in reference to this whole issue of race.  What I’m very disappointed in is that the black Republicans don’t speak out against the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Becks, who have pimped the Republican Party, who are brand new, modern-day Jim Crows.  As we say, they’re not Jim Crows; they’re James Crow, Esquire.  And that’s what upsets –

MR. BUTLER:  [Stifles a laugh.]

MR. MADISON:  — a lo-o-ot of black folk – is you remain silent when most black people can hear that dog whistle.  And black Republicans?  You go, “Where are they?  How come you’re not speaking out?”  And then I think you get more black folk who say, “You know what?  I don’t mind being associated with” –


MR. MADISON:  — “people like that.”

MR. BLACKWELL:  Well, it’s interesting –

MS. NELSON:  [Crosstalk.]

MR. BLACKWELL:  — that we named all of the white Republicans that got strong black support, but you don’t name black Republicans who got strong – I was elected not only to city council, not only as mayor, not only as secretary of state and treasurer with a range from 25 to 52 percent of the African-American vote.  I was considered to be the most conservative Republican on the statewide ticket; but I, in fact, always placed the order in the African-American community.

MR. MARTIN:  Here’s why I didn’t name it:  because the reality is who’s running the party?  Who’re the folks in leadership positions?

So, what I’m talking about, Ken, is not simply –

MR. BLACKWELL:  No, no, no.

MR. MARTIN:  — individual[s] who ran.

MR. BLACKWELL:  But – but – but –

MR. MARTIN:  What I’m talking about, though – Ken, how many black –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — [crosstalk]- —

MR. MARTIN:  — Republicans hold statewide office?

MR. BLACKWELL:  — I can tell –

MS. NELSON:  How many hold –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — you ri- —

MR. MARTIN:  Handful.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — [crosstalk] –

MS. NELSON:  — [crosstalk]?

MR. MARTIN:  A handful.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — more than black Democrats.

MR. MARTIN:  No, no.  But I –

MR. BLACKWELL:  And Hispanics.

MR. MARTIN:  — no, it’s not – I’m not –

MR. BLACKWELL:  But hold – hold – [crosstalk]- —

MR. MARTIN:  — comparing Republicans and Democrats.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — [chuckles] –

MR. MARTIN:  I’m making a point, and what I’m trying to say is if you are a Republican, namely, white – let’s just be honest – and you’re trying to run –

MR. BLACKWELL:  [Crosstalk] –

MR. MARTIN:  — what I’m saying –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — picture, Roland.

MR. MARTIN:  — but, Ken, there is a way to –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — and that –

MR. MARTIN:  — attract black support, which is a point that Charles was making.  So, it’s not a question of “well, I’m a black guy who ran” versus a white guy.  I’m simply saying that you[’ve] got more white Republicans who’re running.  If you want more black support –


MR. MARTIN:  — talk –

MR. BLACKWELL:  A- — a- — all –

MR. MARTIN:  — to black folks.  Listen to ’em!

MR. BLACKWELL:  — all I’m saying to you, Roland, is that, whether it was with Jack Kemp when I was undersecretary at HUD, whether it was when I was mayor of Cincinnati and worked with George Voinovich when he was mayor of Cleveland – I’m just saying when we talk about Republican success stories, let’s not just talk about the white Republican –

MR. MARTIN:  I gotcha!

MR. BLACKWELL:  — success –

MS. NELSON:  Yeah, but how far –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — stories.

MR. MARTIN:  But the Jack Kemps –

MS. NELSON:  — back is that?

MR. MARTIN:  — of the world also get vilified –

MR. BUTLER:  Jack Kemp was –



MS. NELSON:  Exactly right!

MR. BLACKWELL:  Well – oh, he was!


MR. BLACKWELL:  He was invited to CPAC!


MR. MARTIN:  He said today.

MR. MADISON:  I said today.

MR. BLACKWELL:  Today.  Today, he would’ve been invited.


MS. NELSON:  But again –

MR. MADISON:  All right.  All right.


MR. BUTLER:  Yeah, he would.

MR. MADISON:  I’ll take y’all’s –

MR. BUTLER:  There’s no question.

MR. MADISON:  — word for it.

MR. BUTLER:  — again –

MR. MARTIN:  Well, first of all, if McDonnell and Christie couldn’t get invited, I don’t know how – [crosstalk] –


MR. MARTIN:  — but go ahead.


MS. NELSON:  But there’s an old –

MR. BLACKWELL:  [Crosstalk] – pro-life.

MS. NELSON:  — saying.

MR. BLACKWELL:  He was pro-traditional marriage –


MR. BLACKWELL:  — and he was pro-economic growth.

MS. NELSON:  And he got vilified by people –


MS. NELSON:  — in the –

MR. MARTIN:  One – one second.

MS. NELSON:  — party all –

MR. MARTIN:  Go ahead, Sophia.

MS. NELSON:  — the time.  The – the –

MR. BLACKWELL:  No, he’s always invited.

MS. NELSON:  — old – the old adage –

MR. BLACKWELL:  He was always invited.

MS. NELSON:  — is, “You[’ve]” –

MR. BLACKWELL:  He was always invited.

MS. NELSON:  — “got to face it to fix it.”  And I keep hearing the denial talk.

The reality is everything you’re saying and what Charles is saying is exactly right about the modern-day Republican Party.

You have been successful, Ken, but how far back do I gotta go to keep talking about Ken and talking about Mayor John Lindsey and talk about all these Republicans of days gone by?  Christie Whitman, my former boss – she doesn’t even exist in the party anymore.  She probably could’ve been the first female president, but she was pro-choice, and we –

MR. BLACKWELL:  But you[’ve] got Marco –

MS. NELSON:  — don’t like that.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — Rubio.  You[’ve] got – you have –

MS. NELSON:  You see, what –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — Rand Paul.

MS. NELSON:  — Marco Rubio –

MR. BLACKWELL:  I go- — go- — I can keep going.

MS. NELSON:  — didn’t get picked for the VP slot.

MR. MARTIN:  Yeah, I –


MS. NELSON:  I’m just sayin’.

MR. MARTIN:  — don’t think Rand –

MS. NELSON:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  — Paul would get many black votes.  So, I mean –

OFF CAMERA:  He wouldn’t get –

MR. MARTIN:  — go ahead, Charles.

OFF CAMERA:  my vote!


MR. MARTIN:  Go ahead, Cha- — hell!  He can’t even get Charles’ vote!

MR. BUTLER:  He can’t get my vote.


MR. MARTIN:  And we know – we know he ain’t liberal!

MR. BUTLER:  No, he couldn’t get my vote.


MR. MARTIN:  Charles, go ahead.

MR. BUTLER:  But look.  But seriously, though –

MR. BLACKWELL:  That’s diversity in the Demo- —

MS. NELSON:  [Laughs.]


MR. BLACKWELL:  — in the Republican Party.


MR. BUTLER:  Well, I – I think, seriously, we need – in the Republican Party, as far as I’m concerned, as Ken said, you know, we can attract black voters.  We can attract blacks to the Republican Party.  When we threw the first tea party on the South Side of Chicago, 4-15-2009, we didn’t advertise that Michael Steele was coming.  Michael Steele came, showed up in the VON Legacy Room.  Three hundred people were there.  They were there to see myself and Lee Walker.  Instead, Michael comes in.  The crowd went wild.  We would’ve had a thousand people there.

But the guy – but –

MR. MARTIN:  But, still[?], Michael Steele –

MR. BUTLER:  — no.

MR. MARTIN:  — couldn’t get credentials to the Republican National –

MR. BUTLER:  Yeah – no, no.

MR. MARTIN:  — Committee.

MR. BUTLER:  Listen.  Listen.

OFF CAMERA:  Exactly.

MR. MARTIN:  Convention.

MR. BUTLER:  I remember.

MR. MARTIN:  Go ahead.

MR. BUTLER:  I remember, but the gentleman who brought him there –

MS. NELSON:  [Chuckles.]

MR. BUTLER:  — became the Illinois chairman to the Republican Party.  He saw all those black people in the room with Michael and us.

MR. MARTIN:  But – but he – [crosstalk]- —

MR. BUTLER:  And he never tapped into it.

MR. MARTIN:  — but here’s what’s interesting, I think, to Sophia’s point –

MR. BUTLER:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  — and Joe’s point about “dog whistles.”

MR. BUTLER:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  A group of black Republicans in Illinois –

MR. BUTLER:  Right, right.

MR. MARTIN:  — put on this big – this is several years ago – put on this major presentation to the statewide party.  When it was time for questions, the first question was, “Now, look.  Y’all need to understand.  We’re not going to support welfare.”

And the brothers and sisters said, “Who the hell brought up welfare?  Didn’t nobody bring up welfare!”

All the stuff you’re talking about – that’s what they brought up.

MR. BUTLER:  Um-hum.

MR. MARTIN:  And so it points to – and, again, this is part of the problem, this mindset in terms of, “Well, if we want to appeal to African-Americans, what’s on the table?  Affirmative action?  Welfare?”

MS. NELSON:  What Ryan is saying!

MR. MARTIN:  And I keep saying –

MS. NELSON:  That’s why –

MR. MARTIN:  — black folks –

MS. NELSON:  — he lost!

MR. MARTIN:  — are concerned about –

MR. BUTLER:  First of all –

MR. MARTIN:  — a whole lot of stuff beyond –

MS. NELSON:  Look at what Mitt Romney –

MS. NELSON:  — did – [crosstalk].

MR. MARTIN:  — welfare.

MR. BUTLER:  Well –

MR. MARTIN:  Housing – [crosstalk] –

MR. BUTLER:  — when you –


MR. BUTLER:  — when you talk about – [crosstalk] – let’s talk about –

MS. NELSON:  Well, look what Romney said.

MR. BUTLER:  — let’s talk about Mitt Romney.  I tried to get in touch with the Romney campaign –

MS. NELSON:  See?  That’s what I’m talking about.

MR. BUTLER:  — and I couldn’t do it.  I – through Tara Wall.  She was running the black thing – right?  Bottom line was we had a group of ministers – 39,000 ministers – the Coalition of African-American Pastors, 39,000 strong:  “We support traditional marriage.  We want to talk to Romney.”

He couldn’t even get a return phone call.


MR. BUTLER:  The RNC wouldn’t even return this guy’s phone call.  Just a phone call, Roland!  We’re talking about 39,000 black ministers –

MS. NELSON:  But you know what –

MR. BUTLER:  — supporting –

MS. NELSON:  — Romney was saying, too, Charles –

MR. BUTLER:  — tra- — now –

MS. NELSON:  — during the campaign.  What did he say after?  The reason he lost was ’cause the people of color voted for Obama ’cause they wanted free stuff.  That’s the stupidity

MR. BUTLER:  — and – and then –

MS. NELSON: — of how –

MR. BUTLER:  — but – but this is the –

MS. NELSON:  — Republicans are!

MR. BUTLER:  — fallacy – this is the problem –


MR. BUTLER:  — I have with Romney.

MR. MARTIN:  Say that again, Ken?

MR. BLACKWELL:  We’re getting consensus[?] on it.


MR. BLACKWELL:  That was – that was a real foolish statement.

MR. BUTLER:  But the problem that – [crosstalk] –

MR. BLACKWELL:  And – and nobody –

MR. MARTIN:  One second.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — you know, at the same time as I will say that that’s a foolish statement, do not narrow the Republican and conservative message.  We are for economic growth and job creation.

MR. MARTIN:  Oh, Ken, I’m not –

MR. BLACKWELL:  And – and I know.  I –

MR. MARTIN:  — narrowing the message!

MR. BLACKWELL:  — know.  I know.

MR. MARTIN:  They are na- — the party is narrowing the message!


MR. MARTIN:  And what I’m saying is if –

MR. BLACKWELL:  No, you –

MR. MARTIN:  — you want to appeal to black – Ken –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — you – you take out some stupid statement about –

MS. NELSON:  But he was –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — and – and make –

MS. NELSON:  — the party’s nominee!

MR. BLACKWELL:  — and paint with a broad brush.  But if you begin to look at the platform, if you begin to look at where these things are working at the state level –

MR. MARTIN:  — okay, Ken, let me ask you –

MR. BLACKWELL:  — it is about –

MR. MARTIN:  — again[?].

MR. BLACKWELL:  — economic growth.

MR. MARTIN:  Okay.  No –

MR. BLACKWELL:  It’s about job –

MR. MARTIN:  — okay.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — creation.

MR. MARTIN:  I agree.

MR. BLACKWELL:  It’s about –

MR. MARTIN:  I agree.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — good schools –

MR. MARTIN:  I agree.

MR. BLACKWELL:  — right.

MR. MARTIN:  But, Ken, here’s the problem.  This is a show on a black

network –


MR. MARTIN:  — talking to black people.  And the hardest thing in the world is to get a non-black Republican on the show.  Now, we’ve ex- — I’m just letting you know.


MR. MARTIN:  We have provided an invitation – open invitation – to the entire Republican Conference – in the House and the Senate, and in four years, four have shown up:  Tom Price twice, Pete Olson – we talked about [the] XL pipeline.  It was also Allen West and Steve King of Iowa.  The press secretaries called a brother who used to work on the RNC communications staff, and they said, “We don’t know.  We[’re] scared to go on the show.”


MR. MARTIN:  And he said, “If y’all wanna talk to black people, you might want to talk to Roland and his show.”

But the fact is if they’re scared to even come on –

MS. NELSON:  Where’s Boehner?

MR. BUTLER:  — Roland, I will get –

MR. MARTIN:  — this kind of show –

MR. BUTLER:  — Roland –

MR. MARTIN:  — I’m telling you –

MR. BUTLER:  — Roland –

MR. MARTIN:  — right now you ain’t gon’ talk to –

MR. BUTLER:  — Roland –

MR. MARTIN:  — black folks –

MR. BUTLER:  — I will get –

MR. MARTIN:  — in the ’hood.

MR. BUTLER:  — I will get the chairman of the Republican Party on your show –

MR. MARTIN:  Actually – actually –

MR. BUTLER:  — in the next month.

MR. MARTIN:  — actually – well, first of all, we’ve been trying for 15 months.

MR. BUTLER:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  But –

MR. BUTLER:  I’ll get him there.

MR. MARTIN:  — he and I had lunch on Friday.

MR. BUTLER:  Yeah.  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  We’ll see –

MR. BUTLER:  I’ll get him there.

MR. MARTIN:  — what happens.


MR. MARTIN:  Joe, final comment.

MS. NELSON:  What about –

MR. MADISON:  I’m going to –

MS. NELSON:  — Boehner, though?

MR. MADISON:  — I’m going to have to –

MS. NELSON:  Where – [crosstalk]?

MR. MADISON:  — back Roland up on this.  The –

MS. NELSON:  They should be talking.

MR. MADISON:  — the entire ti- — first of all –

MS. NELSON:  We’ll help – [crosstalk].

MR. MADISON:  — we know that –

MS. NELSON:  [Chuckles.]

MR. MADISON:  — the President goes on Fox.  We know he talks to the people who totally disagree with him, who have vilified him; and he does that, and he obviously is very smart at doing it, ’cause he goes face to face –

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. MADISON:  — with his enemy.

Roland is absolutely right.  We never received one email from the Romney campaign.  Not one email from the Romney – and when I look at people like J.C. Watts, who are very bright people who I could vote for – I think I might’ve – I lived in Ohio.  [I] may have voted for you.  I don’t know, but I’ll have to go back and check.

But the reality is I just wish that black Republicans would step up, call a spade a spade, talk about – you know –


MR. MADISON:  — well, then –

MS. NELSON:  Some do.

MR. MADISON:  — then let me – let me –

MR. BUTLER:  Certainly, [he] and I.

MR. MADISON:  — let me put it this way.  Then here’s your problem.  I wish white Republicans would respect you.

MR. BUTLER:  No question.

Now, check this out.

MR. MARTIN:  I don’t – I[’ve] got to cut it off there.

MR. BUTLER:  Okay.

MR. MARTIN:  I went way over time.

I certainly appreciate it.  We’ll have a conversation again – and bring some white Republicans with y’all next time.


MR. MARTIN:  Charles, Sophia, Ken, Joe, we certainly appreciate it.  We’ll do it again.  Thanks a bunch.

MR. BUTLER:  Thank you, Roland.

  • The GOP/Tea/Republican party is like an abusive husband who beats his
    wife then does every thing he can to convince her to come home, so he
    can beat her again. Nothing’s changed