Are African-Americans Buying What Republicans Are Selling? GOP To Spend $11M On Outreach To Blacks (VIDEO)

Republicans are looking to spend $11 million in an attempt to reach African-American voters, but are they wiling to address the issues in the Black community?

This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features political analyst and Georgetown University professor, Dr. Chris Metzler; Angela Rye, co-founder and principal at IMPACT Strategies; Charles Lollar, Maryland State Director of Americans for Prosperity and George Curry, syndicated columnist for the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

MR. MARTIN:  Hey, folks, welcome back.  Back to our roundtable.

Chris, I want to go to the point you made.  I’m not going to pooh[-pooh] $11 million, because you have to start somewhere; but I do believe, though, that where Republicans have to start is not saying to black folk, “Here’s our platform.”  What they should be saying is, “I’m here to listen to you.  What are you concerned about, and what are the issues that you think should be addressed?”

DR. METZLER:  Well, yeah.  I still think the $11 million is a joke, given the amount of money that Republicans spend on a lot –

MR. MARTIN:  No, I –

DR. METZLER:  — of other things.

MR. MARTIN:  — I understand, but like anybody else, remember – and, look, this is not trying to protect them, but Republicans are saying, “Look, if I’m going to spend this money, and I’m not seeing the short-term return on investment, why am I doing it?”

DR. METZLER:  Well –

MR. MARTIN:  You[’ve] got to start somewhere, and so – so, fine.  Spend 11 million right now; but I still think, though, you could spend 100 million; but if you don’t go to black folks and say, “What are you concerned about?” versus, “Here’s my platform” —OFF CAMERA:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — you can’t get anywhere.

DR. METZLER:  — and that’s exactly right, because the issue is the fact that, as Republicans, what we don’t understand is we don’t understand what the issues are.  We want to carve up this platform and say, “Here is” – to your point – “what the platform is.  Now, get in line with the platform.”  That’s not going to work.

MR. MARTIN:  Right.

MR. LOLLAR: I want to go back to something Roland said.  It’s the difference between talking to and talking at, and that’s been the biggest problem that we, as conservatives, have had in black communities across the country.

MR. MARTIN:  And, for me, forget talking to or talking at.  I’m saying “work with.”

MR. LOLLAR:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.


MR. LOLLAR:  And because of the communication vacuum, it’s made it that much more difficult.  We tend to lead with insults and then turn around and say, “Okay.  Now join our party.”  It doesn’t work that way.  So, whether you spend – in that regard, whether you spend 11 million or 30 million, 300 million, it’s not going to make a difference.

But let me share what I saw yesterday.  I went to a reception where the RNC has just hired four, new African-Americans to literally take over their communications arm to specialize in communication in black communities.  They are making significant steps.  Something should be said about that – that they’re recognizing that there is power in diverse vote.  We have to go after it and change our communication strategy so we can appeal to, work with, and stop talking at.

MR. MARTIN:  Angela.

MS. RYE:  Meanwhile, yesterday, the Heritage Foundation talked about a report from this young man who’s on their team who talked about the lower I.Q. of immigrants.  So – as long as they’re not white immigrants.  So, I’m saying there’s a communication strategy that needs to go far beyond the actual RNC and start talking about your different arms that communicate a conservative message.

MR. MARTIN:  And I want to talk about that particular report, because in it not only did it talk about the lower IQ of black immigrants, but also Hispanic immigrants, and you’ve had conservatives latch on to this report.  And you’ve had minority conservatives say, “Okay.  Y’all are stupid.  What are you doing?”

MS. RYE:  That’s exactly right.

MR. MARTIN:  “This is a ridiculous report.  This is a person who should be discredited versus you trying to latch on to it.”

To me, again, George, it’s one of those things where all the red flags are there; but folks still [are] somehow thinking, “I don’t really see how it’s bad what the guy said.”

MS. RYE:  That’s exactly right.

MR. CURRY:  The problem is still the message.

OFF CAMERA:  Yes, sir.

MR. CURRY:  You can improve all the strategy you want.  You can quadruple the money.  If you’re still going from a position that black people consider not in their interests, you’re going to lose – and that’s exactly what it – and another thing I want to make a point [on] is it’s not that blacks don’t want a[n] alternative.  Blacks voted more than 30 percent of their votes against JFK in 1960.


MR. CURRY:  So, they’re willing to be there if they have a viable alternative –

OFF CAMERA:  That’s it.

MR. CURRY:  — and they don’t have one.


MR. MARTIN:  Now, I[’ve] got to ask this question here, because we saw the story out of Cleveland this week.  We had Charles Ramsey, and he made this interesting comment.  It’s gotten a lot of people’s attention, and I had to play it,

because –


MR. MARTIN:  — it was just too great.


MR. CHARLES RAMSEY:  I knew somethin’ was wrong when a little, pretty, white girl ran into a black man’s arms.  Somethin’ is wrong here!


MR. RAMSEY:  Dead giveaway.  De-e-ead giveaway.


MR. MARTIN:  He did get right to the point.

But I want to ask this question, though, because you’ve had this reporting come out talking about his past:  domestic violence/abuse – things along those lines.  And the question is how folks say, ”Well, because of his past, he’s not a hero.”

OFF CAMERA:  Oh, wow.

MR. MARTIN:  And so my question to you is, can you still have a past and still be a hero?

OFF CAMERA:  Absolutely.


DR. METZLER:  Absolutely.  [Crosstalk] –

MS. RYE:  [Crosstalk].  Yes!

DR. METZLER:  That’s just simply stupid!  I mean, you know, here this man is.  He is the hero in this particular case, but this over analyzing of his past – who gives a

MS. RYE:  Um-um.


DR. METZLER:  — stuff about that?

MS. RYE:  [Chuckles.]

MR. LOLLAR:  Heroism is defined as being in the right place at the right time to create a certain condition that’s viable and good for that person that you’re helping.  It doesn’t matter whether you just left and robbed a bank.  If you come down the street and see someone about to get hit by a car, and you move them out the way and take the hit for yourself, or get yourself out the way at the same time – that’s a hero.  It’s not defined by your past.

MR. CURRY:  Yeah.

MR. LOLLAR:  That’s just another feeblest attempt to try to discredit someone that went out of his way to help not one, not two, but three, young girls to safety.

MR. CURRY:  There’s no question what he did was honorable.  I think another reason that we need to address this thing is because I think this thing’s gone viral.  People are talking about it everywhere.  But I think part of it – and we need to say this.  Part of it is when you see stereotypes exaggerated –


MR. CURRY:  — there’s some kind of comfort level among particularly the white media in saying, “Let’s really play this more and more.”

I think this man is also being exploited, too.

MS. RYE:  He is –

OFF CAMERA:  Oh, absolutely.

MS. RYE:  — being exploited, but the one that we just played the clip of, and I think is so important to talk about, is what he said.  I mean we laugh about it as black people, but it really is very problematic.  When you think about all of the ways in which black men have been villainized [sic] and demonized – and you think about a Trayvon Martin, or a Jordan Davis, or all of the other young folks – because they have on a hoodie; or, because, you know, they’re drinking stereotypical drinks, or eating stereotypical food, they are branded in a way in which is very negative for our people, so that even the fact that he went out of his way to rescue someone, and he refuses to be – he’s not even calling himself a hero.

MR. LOLLAR:  He – that’s true.

MS. RYE:  But he just – all he’s doing is telling you, “This is the reality of my life.  This white woman ordinarily would not come” –


OFF CAMERA:  ’S right.

MS. RYE:  — “to me but for her being in trouble.”

MR. MARTIN:  I will say this.

MR. CURRY:  [Crosstalk.]

MR. MARTIN:  You talk about being taken advantage of.  The reality is –

MS. RYE:  [Crosstalk] – perception.

MR. MARTIN:  — these are the kind[s] of situations where people do benefit from.  So, what I would hope is that Charles Ramsey will surround himself with people who know what they’re doing, where he can capitalize on this.

MR. CURRY:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  The McDonald’s Corporation sent out a tweet saying they would be in contact with him.  And all I’m saying is, look, if other folks are going to get paid, if they’re going to make Auto-Tunes and everything else out of you, you[’d] better create a system and people around you who can do what’s good.

I talked to Russ Mitchell this week on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” – [their] anchor in Cleveland – and Charles has some folks around him who are trying to act like they’re agents –


MR. MARTIN:  — who’re not agents and who are screwing some stuff up.

I’m just saying, Charles, you did a good thing, but you could also get paid out of this.”

DR. METZLER:  That’s right.

MR. MARTIN:  Surround yourself with some quality people.  Take advantage of the situation.

Chris, Angela, Charles, George, we appreciate it, man.  Thanks a bunch.

MS. RYE:  Thank you –

MR. LOLLAR:  Thank you.

MR. CURRY:  [Crosstalk.]

DR. METZLER:  Thank you.

MS. RYE:  — Roland.