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RNC MINORITY OUTREACH:

SAY ONE THING, DO ANOTHER


Chairmen of the Republican National Committee have pledged to address the needs of minority
communities throughout the country. RNC chairmen from Bill Brock in the late 1970s to current chair
Ken Mehlman claimed to want to reach out to minorities and bring them into their party through
various strategies. Their rhetoric does not match the reality. The African American and the Hispanic
communities have remained loyal to the Democratic Party message and have continued to support
Democratic candidates in large numbers.

“When it comes to dealing with Black folks, it’s the unbelievably, incredibly stupid party.” –
Faye Anderson, former head of the New Majority Council, the GOP’s minority outreach program. [Ethnic
NewsWatch,6/30/99]

RHETORIC VS. REALITY – GOP MINORITY OUTREACH EFFORTS

1980 ELECTION CYCLE: GOP RHETORIC & REALITY:

RHETORIC:
In 1978, Brock Used Jesse Jackson As A Tool To Lure African American Support. According to
the United Press International, “the last intensive effort to sign up blacks in the GOP was in 1978 under
RNC Chairman Bill Brock, when the Rev. Jesse Jackson was invited to address the RNC and black
consultants were hired to develop a program to appeal to minorities. That program was largely
unsuccessful.” [RNC Press Release, 3/25/88; United Press International, 6/28/86; Newsweek, 9/25/78; National Journal,
9/25/78]

REALITY:
In 1980, Jimmy Carter Received Nearly 90% of Black Vote. According to the Joint Center for
Political Studies, a post-election review of African American turnout showed that Carter “won about 89
percent of the black vote, compared to just under 9 percent for Reagan. Independent John Anderson and
minor candidates shared about 2 percent of the black vote.” [United Press International, 12/11/80]

1988 ELECTION CYCLE: GOP RHETORIC & REALITY:


RHETORIC:
In 1986, Farhenkopf Formed Coalition Outreach Committee to Reach Minorities. In 1986, under
the leadership of Frank J. Farhenkopf, Jr., the RNC created the Coalition Outreach Committee. The
Committee was created to ensure that the Committee on Minority and Ethnic Participation’s
recommendations for broader outreach efforts were implemented. According to and RNC Press release,
the Committee was instructed to develop a long-term coalition outreach plan for minorities, to create a
minority and ethnic GOP Speaker’s Bureau, to serve as advisors to the RNC chairman and to serve as a
task force to help the party and other organizations develop relationships with minority communities.
“No subject is more critical to the future of our party than minority participation,” Fahrenkopf said.
[RNC Press Release, 3/25/88; United Press International, 6/28/86; Newsweek, 9/25/78; National Journal, 9/25/78]

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REALITY:
In 1988, Dukakis Won More Than 80% of African American Votes. In 1988, according to an ABC
News exit poll, Dukakis won 88% of African American votes, while 10% voted for Bush. CBS reported
that 86% of the African American vote went to Dukakis while 12% went to Bush. [Ch icago Tribune,
11/12/88]

1992 ELECTION CYCLE: GOP RHETORIC & REALITY:


RHETORIC:
In 1989, Atwater Called for “Big Tent” Strategy. In 1989, when Lee Atwater took over as chairman
of the RNC, he called on the GOP to use a “big tent” strategy when dealing with party membership.
Atwater recognized the importance of including women and minorities into the party. According to the
Dayton Daily News, despite Atwater’s attempts at inclusion, “in ensuing years, the party has done more
to alienate women and ethnic minorities than to welcome them into the GOP tent.” [Dayton Daily News,
11/5/98]

REALITY:
In 1992, Clinton Received More Than 80 Percent of African-American Votes. According to the
Associated Press, Jesse Jackson “said that Clinton won about 82 percent of the vote among blacks,
which he said translated to about 15 percent of the total vote for the Clinton-Gore ticket.” [Associated
Press, 11/7/92]

In 1992, Clinton Received Almost Two Thirds of the Hispanic Votes. According to Newsday, Bill
Clinton received 60 percent of the Hispanic vote in the 1992 Presidential elections. The Nation reported
Clinton receiving 62 percent of the Hispanic vote in 1992. [Newsday, 12/14/92; The Nation, 12/23/92]

1996 ELECTION CYCLE: GOP RHETORIC & REALITY:


RHETORIC:
In 1996, Dole Chose Ambassador of Minority Outreach as Running Mate. In 1996, Bob Dole chose
Jack Kemp, the GOP’s then-ambassador of minority outreach, as his running mate. Kemp, a long-time
advocate of Republican outreach to minorities, geared his message to African Americans and Latinos
even when addressing almost all white audiences. During the campaign, Kemp compared a vote for the
Dole-Kemp ticket to the 1995 “Million-Man March.” “Metaphorically march on Washington. Elect
Bob Dole and Jack Kemp, and we will create the opportunity for you and your families in which your
standard of living can rise,” Kemp said. [Commercial Appeal, 11/4/96; Copley News Service, 11/1/96]

In 1996, the GOP Formed Another Minority Outreach Group. On June 5, 1996, then-Speaker Newt
Gingrich unveiled the formation of a Minority Outreach Task Force, headed by Congressman J.C.
Watts. [LA Weekly, 11/1/96]

REALITY:
In 1996, Clinton Received 84% of African-American and 70% of Hispanic Votes. According to the
Houston Chronicle, in the 1996 presidential election, exit polls showed that “84 percent of blacks and 70
percent of Hispanics” voted for Clinton. [Houston Chronicle, 9/17/97]

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2000 ELECTION CYCLE: GOP RHETORIC & REALITY:
RHETORIC:
In 2000 Election, GOP Planned to Target Hispanic Community. Then RNC chairman Jim
Nicholson said that in the 2000 election, the GOP would be targeting the Hispanic community whose
population could swing the election for either candidate. “Hispanics will be the battleground segment of
the 2000 elections. The Latino community is in play in this election like never before,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson made this observation while unveiling an advertising campaign to improve the image of
Republicans among Latinos in approximately 10 states. [The Record, 1/21/00]

GOP Leaders Said the Convention was a Step Toward the GOP’s “Long-term Commitment” to
Minorities. In 2000, Republican leaders said the convention, coupled with the party’s platform, is a
step towards the GOP’s commitment towards minorities. “Minority outreach is critical to our party.
Not only is it the right thing to do, it is imperative. If we are going to grow and remain successful as a
political party in America, we have to attract more votes from African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians
and other immigrants to our country,” said Jim Nicholson, former RNC Chairman. “Our biggest
challenge has been educating within the party. And if you can’t sell it within the party, you can’t
outreach. When you haven’t done anything for years and when change is happening, which is
inevitable, it is a little nervous for some people,” said Renee Amoore, an African-American who is
director of the New Majority Council and deputy chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party.
[Chicago Tribune, 7/31/00]

In 1999, Nicholson Used Black History Month And New Majority Council To “Expand” Base To
Include African Americans. In February of 1999, RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson held a RNC-Black
History Month event with members of The New Majority Council, an organization created to “expand
the base of the Party.” The event portrayed the history of the GOP and African Americans dating back to
Lincoln. Nicholson stated that "the GOP first came together as a party dedicated to the eradication of
slavery.” [Oakland Post, 2/21/99]

REALITY:
In 2000, Gore Received More Than 90% Percent of African-American Votes. According to the
United Press International, Gore received more than 90% percent of a “record black turnout.” [United
Press International, 11/30/00]

In 2001, Gilmore Admits Past GOP Minority Outreach Efforts Have Failed. In February 2001,
Gilmore criticized the past minority outreach efforts of the GOP as being ineffective in achieving their
goals. “Our methods have struck out,” Gilmore said. [Associated Press, 2/28/01]

In 1999, GOP Presidential Candidate Bush Snubbed Minority Journalists. In July 1999, GOP
presidential candidate Texas Governor George W. Bush while campaigning in Seattle, Washington
skipped a conference of 6,000 minority journalists being held in the same city. Officials of Unity >99, a
gathering of Black, Latino, and American Indian and Asian American journalists, said that every
presidential candidate was invited, but only Vice President Al Gore and Bill Bradley made plans to
speak at the event. After receiving negative reactions to the GOP snub of the minority journalists, Bush
appeared briefly at the event, but did not address the conference. “I guess we’re not green. ... Even just

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a walk by and wave to just show us some of his compassionate conservatism wouldn’t be so bad,” said
Washington Post ombudsman and National Association of Black Journalists member E.R. Shipp. [Dallas
Morning News, 7/8/99; Los Angeles Times, 7/8/99]

In 1999, Highest-Ranking Black Republican Female Criticized GOP for Using Her Image.
According to Gannett News Service, in 1999, Vikki Butler, the late Colorado secretary of state and
highest-ranking black Republican female official “scolded” Republican leaders for using her success in
a minority outreach promotional campaign. Butler said that the GOP refused to give her aid in her 1998
campaign. “Until there is a substantive RNC reality check which will encompass more than a slick
media campaign, I will not allow my image to be used in promotions which do not reflect Republican
Party realities,” Butler wrote in a letter to Nicholson. [Gannett News Service, 4/3/00]

In 1999, Nicholson Supported Census Plan That Ignores Millions of Children, Ethnic Minorities.
In January 1999, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Republican National Committee Chairman
Jim Nicholson rejoiced at the Supreme Court’s decision to prohibit the use of scientific sampling in the
2000 Census. President Clinton and Congressional Democrats supported this proven scientific method
of counting to ensure that every American is counted and represented in the political process. In the
1990 census, 8.4 million people, mostly African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and
Native Americans, were not counted. The GOP led the fight to stop modern scientific methods, which
would ensure that everyone has true representation. [Los Angeles Times, 1/26/99]

In 2000, A Second Head of GOP’s New Majority Council Resigned. In 2000, Faye Anderson
resigned from the GOP’s New Majority Council, the GOP’s minority outreach program formed in 1997.
Anderson said her resignation was a message to the party that “it was past time for the party to move
beyond the oratory of inclusion.” Anderson said the precipitating factors of her resignation were Bush’s
“appearance at Bob Jones University and his unwillingness to condemn the flying of the Confederate
flag atop the South Carolina statehouse.” However, Anderson also said that her resignation was “two
years in the making” in the response to numerous actions, or lack of actions, by the party. “These
included the Republican National Committee’s gala at the ancestral home of Jefferson Davis, the
president of the Confederacy; the House Republicans’ refusal to support a resolution condemning the
Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that had been given open access to GOP
leaders like the Senate majority leader, Trent Lott; and Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster’s reported payment
of $150,000 for David Duke’s mailing list of supporters.” [New York Times, Faye M. Anderson, 8/1/00]

In 2000, Anderson Called the GOP Convention an “Illusion.” Faye Anderson, former Vice-
Chairwoman of the GOP’s New Majority Council, criticized the GOP’s Convention in Philadelphia.
She called the convention a “made-for-television illusion of inclusion” – the “minstrel show” of the
“Grand Old Parody.” She said the convention was no different than those in 1996 or 1992. “Of the
2,066 delegates and 2,066 alternates, there are probably 85 black delegates (4.3 percent) and 76 black
alternates (3.6 percent), according to David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic
Studies. It’s true that at the 1996 convention, there were only 52 black delegates and 50 black alternates
(2.6 percent of delegates and alternates). But in 1992, there were 107 black delegates and 102 black
alternates (5 percent of the delegates and alternates). [Ethnic NewsWatch, 10/15/00; New York Times, Faye M.
Anderson, 8/1/00]

In 2000, Anderson Criticized RNC’s Outreach to Minorities. In an article in Ethnic NewsWatch,


Anderson criticized the RNC’s outreach efforts to minorities, particularly African-Americans.

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“Consider this: between 1936, the first year for which statistics are available, and 1956, Black self-
identification with the Republican Party ranged from a high of 42 percent in 1940 (in parity with the
Democratic Party) to a low of 18 percent in 1952. As recently as 1960, 22 percent of Blacks identified
with the GOP. Today, five percent of Blacks are self- identified Republicans. … In research published in
the current issue of the Journal of Politics Regent University Professor Peter W. Wielhouwer noted,
‘One of the most important functions of the parties is mobilizing the electorate during each campaign
season in order to help the party’s candidates win elections.’ Prof. Wielhouwer found that ‘Republican
contacting rates of Blacks are substantially lower in every year than the rate of Whites, and never exceed
10 percent.’” [Ethnic NewsWatch, Faye Anderson, 4/21/00]

2004 ELECTION CYCLE: GOP RHETORIC & REALITY:

RHETORIC:
Gillespie Claimed GOP Made Inroads In Minority Outreach. In October of 2004, RNC Chairman
Ed Gillespie stated that the RNC has made inroads in minority outreach with an unprecedented black
media campaign. Gillespie noted that the RNC spent the most money on African American outreach
during the 2004 cycle. The Democratic Party has, “given us an opening and we've taken it,'’ said the
party chairman, Ed Gillespie.” [New York Times, 10/25/04]

Gillespie Claimed a “Milestone Achievement” With African American Community. During the
Republican National Convention, Chairman Gillespie stated that the GOP has made a strong connection
with African Americans. "Under the steady leadership and optimistic vision of President Bush, the
Republican Party is celebrating a milestone achievement in our party's connection with America's
minorities,’ said Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie” [Lansing State Journal, 9/2/04]

Mehlman Claimed GOP “Doubled” African American Support. Prior to the 2004 election, then
Bush-Cheney campaign manager and newly elected RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman stated that the
Republican Party had “doubled” their African American support since Election Day 2000. “Other polls,
he said, indicate ‘we are doubling our support among African-Americans.” [Times Picayune, 10/30/04]

Mehlman Boasted That Polls Showed Bush Support With African Americans at 18%. While
appearing on the Charlie Rose Show, Ken Mehlman said he was “gratified” that polls showed support
for Bush had increased to 18 percent. [Charlie Rose Show Transcript, 10/26/04]

REALITY:
African Americans Remain Loyal To The Democratic Message. According to the Chicago Sun
Times, “Kerry won 90 percent of the African-American vote.” [Chicago Sun Times, 11/3/04]

African American Support For Bush Far Less Than Expected. After an unprecedented outreach
effort to sway African American voters to vote for Bush, the GOP made a two percentage point
improvement from campaign 2000. “Bush got 11 percent of the African-American turnout on Nov. 2,
but this was just a 2 percent uptick from his 2000 showing.” [Washington Post, 11/29/04]

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