During the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump asked a serious question when addressing black voters. “What the hell do you have to lose?” He was referring to the Democrats’ failure to bring about positive change in America’s inner cities.
The majority of urban areas are under the leadership of Democrats, and their residents have long suffered under their rule. Crime and poverty are rampant in these communities, and it does not appear that the Democrats are serious about improving the conditions in which many Americans live.
When he asked that question, President Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan to reach out to the inner cities in a meaningful way. For decades, the Republican Party has all but ignored these areas, favoring rural and suburban communities instead. This does makes sense considering the fact that the bulk of their base is made up of Americans living in these areas.
While this strategy may serve the GOP in the here and now, it will not be an effective approach over the long term. The demographics of the country are rapidly changing, and if the Republicans want to remain relevant, they must begin reaching out to minorities in a more concerted way.
GOP MUST DO MORE THAN JUST TALK ABOUT THE INNER CITY
As we all know, the Democrats have kept power in the inner city by promoting a message of victimhood to their constituents. They tell their citizens that they cannot achieve success because they are helpless victims of white supremacy. Then, they dangle promises of government programs that will lift them out of poverty like a poisoned carrot on a stick. Instead of cracking down on crime, they vilify the police, claiming that they are racists who are actively hunting down blacks. This only serves to further their message of victimhood.
Democratic politicians implement programs designed to keep their residents dependent on the state while doing nothing to empower these individuals to free themselves from government assistance. When poverty and crime persist, they simply blame racism.
It’s easy to blame the Democrats for the woes of the inner city. After all, their policies have caused the devastation these communities experience. But where is the GOP in all of this? Unfortunately, conservatives have responded by tweeting statistics about violent crime in Chicago. Talking heads on Fox News and other conservative outlets constantly rail against poor conditions in which minorities live.
And that’s it.
Instead of engaging with these communities, they tweet about them from afar. Then, they naively wonder why blacks and Hispanics are not falling over themselves to vote Republican. They rationalize it by assuming that blacks, and other minorities are stuck on some imaginary “Democratic Plantation.”
Citing statistics on social media and television is not going to cause a conservative awakening in the inner city. Why? Because facts alone are not persuasive. Facts are important, but they mean nothing if they are not accompanied by solutions and action. You’re not going to get any group of people to trust you if you’re not willing to engage with them directly.
Podcaster and musician James Cheef summed it up perfectly on The Wayne Dupree Show. He said “They [Republicans] want to talk about us, but they don’t want to talk to us.”
WHY WON’T THE GOP REACH OUT TO INNER CITIES?
When Ronald Reagan was running for president, he actively courted the votes of inner city dwellers. He made a genuine effort to interact with leaders of these communities. He sat with the National Urban League in New York and he met with community leaders. Regrettably, the GOP has not followed his example.
There are several reasons why the GOP abandoned the inner cities, but the primary reason was the changing demographics. In the ’60s, people began moving out of the city into the suburbs. Most of these individuals were white middle class and upper class families. This phenomenon is known as “white flight.” In light of these developments, the GOP created a strategy that involved appealing chiefly to whites.
Conservatives have given a myriad of excuses for ignoring inner cities. “But they won’t let us come into their communities,” they say. “They’ll just call us racists!” they whine. “They don’t want conservative solutions because they’re on the Democrat Plantation!”
For the love of God just stop.
People living in the inner city are not going to kick out Republicans who visit. They’re not on some fictional plantation. And yes, the left will call us racists — that’s what they do. Race baiters are gonna race bait, right?
But who cares? Let them call us racists. While they’re busy race baiting, we can SHOW the people that we are not bigots. Eventually, our actions will speak louder than their words.
Contrary to what many conservatives believe, minorities subscribe to values that align with conservatism. The majority of people living in the inner cities would much rather have gainful employment than live on the government’s largesse.
And, believe it or not, minorities are not as enamored of the Democratic Party as you might think. When you have thousands of blacks marching in the streets of Chicago, calling for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation, and implying that they would welcome Trump’s assistance, it’s clear that the Democrats’ hold on these communities is not absolute.
THE REASONS WHY GOP MUST ENGAGE WITH INNER CITIES
There are several reasons why Republicans should start engaging with inner cities. Making inroads in urban communities would benefit the country, the residents of these cities, and the GOP.
The Democratic Party is largely dependent on its overwhelming support from minorities. In fact, without this support, they would lose the majority of elections. This is the reason they become so hostile to blacks like rapper Kanye West when they reject progressivism. It is why they are pushing for open borders seeking to import more voters.
The residents of inner cities are living in some of the worst conditions in the nation. Crime and poverty are rampant. Cities like Chicago, Baltimore, and Philadelphia suffer violence on a daily basis and this is a direct result of the Democratic Party’s policies. Conservative solutions are the only ones that will affect positive change.
Of course, it is important to note that change will not happen overnight. If conservatives are going to make progress, they must not give up when they meet resistance. Remember, the Democrats have ruled these areas for decades. It will take time to make an impact. But if we can push the GOP to do the work, we can make it easier for those living in the inner cities to achieve the success they want. Perhaps Trump’s question should be posed to conservatives: What the hell do we have to lose?