An overwhelming majority of blacks vote for Democrats. What can the GOP do to convince more black Americans to vote for their candidates?
Bold interviewed the Republican National Committee’s new black outreach director, Telly Lovelace, who shared some ideas. In the short term, he wants the GOP presidential nominee to receive double the number of black votes Mitt Romney managed to get three years ago.
Longer term, Lovelace said his goal is to build on the work of his predecessor Kristal Quarker Hartsfield, to work with urban media outlets, “really get our message out to African-American radio, TV, print and build relationships with key stakeholders in the African-American community and urban communities across the country and let them know at the end of the day that the Republican Party is not this evil, racist party that people perceive that is,” he said.
How does Lovelace feel about GOP frontrunner Donald Trump? He believes the problem voters might have with Trump is “more of tone rather than overt racial bias.”
“Some of them were kind of, well initially, ‘He is a businessman, he’s created jobs, the celebrity status of him, The Apprentice [TV show],’” Lovelace said. “I thought there was the problems of the rhetoric, not disavowing the KKK. I don’t know if he had a moment or what.”
Lovelace, who’s met Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, said he doesn’t believe either man is “racist,” but was concerned that the senator hosted an event at the Redneck Country Club.
I think a lot of it just comes to their tone and the way they just say things. Is it going to be an easy road, regardless of who the nominee is? No. I look at this as kind of a crisis communication, and it’s something that’s my passion, and it’s something that I thrive on. If I thought the Republican Party was racist, I would not have been there for 20 years.”
What does GOP outreach to blacks look like?
“We have the ideas that can turn urban communities around,” Lovelace said, pointing to charter schools, tax cuts for small businesses and family promotion as key conservative themes that resonate with African-Americans. Lovelace saw this firsthand while working for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who assumed office last year after winning significant support within the African-American community.