US-VOTE-REPUBLICANS-CONVENTION

Rev. Mark Burns

I am really getting fed up with the constant drumbeat of criticism of Donald Trump’s campaign, especially the criticism coming from Black Republicans. They seem to be willing to give President Obama, Hillary Clinton and our party’s leadership a pass, but when it comes to Trump, all of a sudden, they seem to have found an untapped reservoir of righteous indignation.

Yes, Trump has given his opponents plenty of reason and opportunity to criticize him, but in some ways Trump reminds me of NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

Anyone who followed Jordan’s career knows that he was not a good teammate. He was intensely critical of many of his teammates, especially when they made mistakes. Some people thought he was arrogant and sometimes even condescending to his teammates. Let’s just say he had an extremely healthy dose of his own self-worth.

But these same teammates that talked privately and anonymously to the media about Jordan were filled with effusive praise for Jordan when it came to the number of championship rings he helped them win.

So to my Never-Trumpers, in general, and the Black ones in particular, can you really make a philosophical and substantive argument that Hillary Clinton would be a better president than Trump; especially when it comes to the Black community?

Clinton wants to give amnesty to those in the country illegally, but no one ever talks about the devastating negative impact of this policy or the effect of current immigration policies on the Black unemployment rate for low and under-skilled Blacks. Trump is the only candidate to make this argument during this whole election cycle.

Clinton wants to continue to relegate Blacks to non-performing schools versus allowing parents to take their tax dollars to whatever school they deem best for their child, even though Clinton, Obama, and most members of the Congressional Black Caucus opted for private schools for their kids. That’s not racist? Trump is a huge supporter of school choice.

These same Blacks are the ones who continue to ignorantly promote the notion that Republicans must and should speak before Democratic groups like the National Urban League, the NAACP, or the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

This is extremely insulting to me as a fellow Black Republican, but it is far easier for them to complain about Trump rather than provide a group of Black Republicans for Trump to engage with. We don’t need the above liberal Democratic groups to validate our leaders or to prove that they are not racists.

Following their logic, White Republicans must speak before radical pro-homosexual groups like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in order to prove that Republicans are not homophobic, yet no one makes this argument.

It seems that only when it comes to the Black vote do Black Republicans demand that we pay homage to those who are part of the Democratic base in order to reach out to the Black community.

Memo to the Trump campaign and the GOP: You have to start working with Black Republicans who have significant political experience and institutional memory about the party if you want to move the Black community towards the Republican party in this and future election cycles.

If you don’t believe me or you don’t want to recognize my argument, then I simply submit to you the past two weeks of constant embarrassing media appearances by supposed Black surrogates from the Trump campaign and the Republican Party as exhibit A.

This is what happens when you want to hire people who you are “comfortable” with versus those who know what the hell they are doing.

Whenever a surrogate is getting more exposure than the principal (South Carolina preacher Mark Burns), there is a problem. Whenever a campaign has to explain away something a surrogate said or did, there is a problem. Whenever the media questions the party credentials or lack thereof of a surrogate, there is a problem.

The Republican Party needs to bring the Black Republican adults onto the scene or these media debacles will continue and we will most assuredly lose the presidential election.

No longer can the Republican Party hire Blacks simply for race insurance. This is about winning the “race” for the White House, not hiring simply because of race. In my columns, over the past four years, I have warned that we would come to this impasse.

But as opposed to embracing my message, the party was too busy attacking me and attempting to discredit me for “being too critical” of the party.

Maybe those Black Republicans who have the requisite experience and institutional memory should simply self-identify as a Black Democrat; then MAYBE the party will recognize them!

Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit http://www.bafbf.org. You can follow Raynard on Twitter @Raynard1223.

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