By Raynard Jackson
As one who makes a living in the world of public relations (PR) and strategic planning, I am paid to see things others are blind to. Anyone can do PR. Anyone can do strategic planning. But very few can do both simultaneously, thus I created the term “straticist.”
A straticist not only see things others cannot see, but they also have the innate ability to connect seemingly unconnected dots into a meaningful mosaic.
This is why I don’t believe in polls when it comes to politics. I don’t need a poll to tell me what the electorate is thinking, but 99.9% of political operatives live and die by polls. This explains why Republicans are having such a difficult time trying to explain away the Trump phenomenon.
The party is surrounded by the same old white consultants and advisors from top to bottom, thus you keep getting the same results—losses.
Sometimes in life you can win and yet lose at the same time. For example, because of the Congressional Black Caucus’ complicity in the redistricting after the 1990 census; they gained more majority minority districts in the U.S. House of Representatives, thus increasing the number of Blacks elected to the House. But, as a direct result of this, Republicans took control of the House for the first time in over 40 years back in 1995; thus leading to the political polarization you see today. Personal politics won, America lost.
In June I wrote a column titled, “Republican Presidential Candidates Lack Diversity.” It created quite a stir based on all the phone calls and emails I received. I even received a couple of calls from a few of the presidential campaigns explaining to me that they want to hire Blacks, but they have been having difficulty finding people to hire. Of course everyone knows this is total B.S.
Where do they find white staffers and consultants to hire? So, obviously, these campaigns have no relationships with any Blacks. If this is the case, they don’t deserve to be president of the U.S.
So, this led me to do an experiment. There are 17 Republican candidates for president. I went to all of their websites and to my non surprise; very few even have a photo of a Black person on their sites. Now this might not mean much in the big scheme of things; but these little nuances can make or break a campaign or the image of a brand.
If these campaigns were aware of their lack of diversity in their campaigns and websites and just didn’t give a damn, then I could accept that because at that point they made a conscious decision. But I can’t and will not accept the fact that most of these campaigns are not even cognizant of their lack of diversity.
Persuasion may change the mind of the person who doesn’t care; but persuasion can’t change the mind of the person who is not aware.
The Republican Party continues to look like a Norman Rockwell painting. How is that possible in a country where we are nearly a majority minority country?
I have repeatedly told all those in the party who will listen that Blacks are looking for a reason to vote Republican; but they can’t vote for that which they can’t see.
One of the basic tenets of advertising is that the consumer “must” be able to realistically see themselves using the product or service.
If we are not part of the campaign team, not on the website, or not in their advertisement, then the message gets overridden by the visual.
How can Blacks vote for a party that they are not represented in? In PR, optics is just as important as message. All of the most successful media campaigns in business or politics have had both great optics and great messaging simultaneously.
So is it any wonder that JEB Bush was found totally unprepared last week when he was accosted by Black Lives Matter members at one of his campaign events in Nevada? I have been warning for months that race was going to be a top issue during this presidential election cycle.
How in the hell can these campaigns navigate issues of race with an all-white staff and advisors? I am mortified that Republicans have white staffers writing speeches that candidates have to give before a Black audience. I can’t remember the last time I have heard a Republican give a speech to a Black audience that made any sense. I am not aware of one Black speechwriter in the Republican Party.
Republicans can’t afford to wait until our nominee is chosen to begin to deal with the issues of race. Race is going to force some of these Republicans to drop out during the primary. It’s just a matter of time before one of these Republican candidates say something stupid or inappropriate relative to race and will be forced to exit the race.
I can guarantee you that none of these candidates have been briefed by any Black Republicans who can help them navigate these tricky waters of race.
Republicans have ceded various media platforms to Black liberal Democrats. You have absolutely no Black Republican surrogates in the media pushing back on the foolishness perpetuated by the other side.
When it comes to Blacks in the Republican Party, Republicans are truly colorblind or just blind to people of color.
Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC is an internationally recognized political consulting, government affairs, and PR firm based in Washington, DC. Jackson is an internationally recognized radio talk show host and TV commentator. He has coined the phrase “straticist.” As a straticist, he has merged strategic planning with public relations. Visit is website at: www.raynardjackson.com.