The 2012 General Election was a brutal reminder to Republicans that they are missing the mark with African American and Latino voters. President Obama captured 71% of the Latino Vote and the percentage of registered African American voters surpassed that of Caucasian voters 66.2% v 64.1%. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney did not capture more that 10% of the African American vote in a single swing state. This type of pitiful performance in swing states during a general election begs the following questions:
- Do Republicans really care about those issues impacting Black and Brown Americans?
- Do the Republicans plan to again fail miserably with minority voters in 2016?
In this two part series I will attempt to introduce myself and lay out an approach to answer the aforementioned questions. If Republicans can answer these questions they may be able to solve the riddle of the 2016 General Election.
About Me / About Us
As a fiscally conservative African American that believes in a limited government, reducing government spending, and reassessing entitlements I find that my fiscal beliefs are closely aligned with the platform of what some may call a Conservative Republican. I graduated from a top tier university, have both an engineering and IT background, and live in the most affluent county in the United States. At the age of 31 my income places me in the top 3% of Americans. At this point of my life I have the patience and points of reference to digest a Conservative or Republican platform. The average 24 – 31 year old socially progressive minority working and making $35,000 – $40,000 a year does not have the same time, perspective, or patience as I do to digest a Conservative or Republican platform. At this point in their lives they are working to make a living and any help or assistance they may be able to get from the government is appreciated. It is not this individual’s obligation to reach out to the Republican Party, but the Republican Party’s obligation to reach out to these individuals.
I am in a very unique position to begin to reconcile those differences between myself and the type of person the Republican Party needs to reach out to, because only five years ago I was one of many young Americans who after working for the Obama Campaign in 2008 were unemployed for over a year. During this point of my life my income placed me in the lowest 10% of Americans. The satire of this situation is that after organizing in North West Indiana and being a part of turning the state of Indiana blue for the first time for a Presidential Candidate since the 1950s I returned to the President’s hometown of Chicago and could not find a decent job.
The irony of being a Organizer for the Obama Campaign with a degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and not being able to find work in Chicago seems amusing to me now, but at the time I was not happy camper. I worked odds and ends jobs for special events companies setting up and taking down event equipment, painting houses and decks, whatever work I could get. It was not until I moved from Chicago to Washington DC that I could find work that was suited for my educational background and experience.
Why You Should Care
Although I was lucky enough to find work and move from Chicago I have friends with families who have been working different odds and ends jobs for the last 6 years since President Obama took office. I ask myself do the Republicans have a plan for these young Latino and African American families moving forward? More importantly do the Democrats have a plan for these families? Although the Black and Brown votes in the last General Election purchased “Hope” over the last 6 years it has been proven that “Hope” cannot feed your family or pay bills.
If the Republicans will simply ask the question to minorities how has your standard of living improved since President Obama has taken office I think many Republicans would be surprised by the responses of a good percentage of minorities. The fact that the Republican Party has not yet initiated this conversation points to the systemic lack of understanding of the plight of both Blacks and Browns in America. If Republicans wish to capture the Whitehouse in 2016 this conversation needs to happen starting in March 2014.
About the author: Vincent M. Peters, a West Point graduate, is currently a writer and public speaker. He is a fiscal conservative who took a position as Deputy Field Worker for President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Peters is a strong equal rights advocate, which includes same-sex marriage. He has lectured at some of our most elite universities including Harvard and Columbia. He has future speaking engagements scheduled at West Point, Yale, Princeton and Cornell.