Commentary: The Republican Party and the hidden figures on Capitol Hill
Photo by Jonathan Fulcher
As we celebrate Black History Month, the Republican Party continues to show its ineptness in cultivating “real” relationships with the Black community. It continues to hire and highlight Black Democrats at the expense of Black Republicans.
There is not one Black Republican working for the Trump administration in the White House; you have one Black Democrat working for Trump who seems to never miss an opportunity to speak ill of Black Republicans in private meetings, based on phone calls I have received.
To commemorate Black History Month, Republicans on Capitol Hill and in The White House will probably issue a perfunctory press statement written by a White aide that communicates absolutely nothing.
It wasn’t until I created the “Black Republican Trailblazer Awards” five years ago that anything meaningful was ever done under the Republican label to acknowledge Black History Month. Now the party is even trying to steal that from Black folks by way of a lawsuit; which most of you are aware of. (Find details at http://www.frostillustrated.com/2016/the-rnc-is-suing-me-a-black-republican-but-ill-never-leave-my-party/)
Feb. 11-12, we will continue our tradition of honoring those who have made a significant contribution to America, the Black community and the Republican Party. You can visit our website to see who our honorees are and other plans we have to honor them (www.bafbf.org).
The Republican Party and the Trump administration both have compelling stories to tell relative to the Black community; but neither have any Blacks around them who have the institutional knowledge or the communication skills to effectively tell that story.
It’s not enough to have Blacks on your staff; but just as important, you must have the “right” Blacks on your staff. This is where the party has been found woefully inadequate.
Republicans tend to want to hire and showcase Blacks that make them feel “comfortable” versus Blacks who have credibility within the Black community and who also know what the hell they are doing.
Republicans constantly allow liberals to brand them as a party of racists and yet they refuse to put a strategy in place to refute these same old tired liberal diatribes. A lie that is oft repeated becomes the truth. If they spent the same amount of vigor and money fighting liberal lies as they are in their attempts to sue me over initiatives that I have created to benefit the party, we would be getting north of 25 percent of the Black vote in presidential elections.
We all know the Democratic play book; but the party is not serious enough about the Black vote to devote the time or money to challenge these liberal lies.
As I always say, when all is said and done; there is more said than done.
Republicans need only talk about what they have done lately with the hiring of very talented Black staffers; and then to effectively communicate that message directly to the public.
We all know things like Republican President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, yada, yada, yada, but in the immortal words of Janet Jackson, “what have you done for me lately?”
Well, I am so glad she asked that question.
Last month, I wrote a column excoriating the Democratic Party for their lack of diversity when it came to hiring congressional staffers.
When taking a look what at the congressional Republicans have done just in this month alone relative to staff hiring, there are high level Blacks who work for Republicans in Congress. One such example is Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) just hired Courtney Temple as his legislative director.
On the House side, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan just promoted his budget committee staffer, Jonathan Burke to be his chief of staff. No Black person has ever served in this positon for either party in the history of the U.S.
I know most of these staffers and find them not only to be well respected within Congress, but they also have great standing within the Black community. They don’t view their Blackness as a burden to be borne; but rather as an asset to be cherished.
If the Republican Party is supposed to be so racist, can someone please explain to me why they have more Blacks in decision-making positions on their congressional Senate staffs than Democrats?
Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party.