Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley meekly apologized for saying “All Lives Matter” at a left-wing Netroot convention; members of the Black Lives Matter movement took over the microphones at a Bernie Sanders rally; and, supporters of the same group interrupted a Jeb Bush town hall meeting in Las Vegas.
Sanders and O’Malley wimped out and, as Donald Trump said about Sanders, showed weakness. While they cowered, Bush gave the Black Lives Matter group the courtesy of meeting prior to his speech and discussed issues such as criminal justice reform.
Even then, they disrespectfully interrupted him with their favorite Black Lives Matter clenched fist chant. Forget Bush’s excellent record on parental choice and charter schools so poor children could attend decent schools, or even Sander’s proposal for free education at public universities. These agitators did not and do not care.
For decades, black Republicans have been telling the GOP and its candidates not to trust and deal with the national NAACP, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons — and now the leftist Black Lives Matters movement. Experience has shown that although they say they want dialogue, they and their supporters are not friends of the GOP or its message as Jeb Bush found out. They do not want to talk about issues. Their real goal is to intimidate, bully, and disrupt.
It should be clear now, given the past year, that race, urban problems and — as both Trump and Carly Fiorina have said — how Obama has failed black America are going to be major issues in the campaign.
As Theodore R. Johnson writes this month in Politico magazine, GOP candidates are “stumbling over how to talk to, and about, voters of color” and makes reference to comments about Mexican immigrants, the Charleston shooting, and the Confederate flag. He went on to say that it is “clear that they could each use some messaging advice . . . on how to approach and appeal to black . . . American voters.”
That said, GOP candidates should be seeking advice from and listening to loyal black Republicans, for those who know any, on issues important to the vast silent majority in the black community.
The next time these groups try to interrupt other GOP candidates; they need to confront them and not back down. Just as Bill Clinton stood up to black hip-hopper Sister Souljah during the 1992 campaign for her anti-white comments, GOP candidates should not hesitate to challenge protesters on the sincerity of their commitment to real black concerns — they need their own Sister Souljah moment.
They should respond forcefully, clearly and loudly, like this for example:
Are you going to work with me to stop the slaughter of young black males in our cities taken mostly by other young black males? Or, do their lives only matter when taken by whites?
Are you going to work with me for criminal justice and penal reform, revitalizing inner cities and modernizing failing urban schools with modern technology?
Are you going to work with me to reduce the over 300,000 black lives taken annually by abortions?
Don’t all of these lives matter too?
You can bet that the Black Lives Matter movement and much of the civil rights and Democratic party establishment don’t want hear or answer those questions.
The problem is that all too often Republicans and their advisers usually don’t ask for black advice and rely on whites to tell them how to relate to blacks (and often Hispanics and Asians as well). Their staffs most often do not reflect the demographics of the voter pool. They do not expect, and give mostly lip service to seeking black votes and avoid confrontations for fear they will called unsympathetic, insensitive, or God forbid racist.
The question is which candidates will do it? They might be surprised at the positive response from not only white primary voters but also from the black silent majority.