Monday, 19 November 2012

Hi Crystall,

I first heard about your blog while listening to a radio interview following the US election. I found your comments to be fascinating and decided to visit your blog.

I am a Canadian and although I am not as intimately familiar with US politics as you, we Canadians are bombarded with US TV stations and hence US political news.

I should mention that I am a 31 year old Caucasian man. Although I do not directly identify with any particular ethnic group myself, being from a younger generation, I see how they are shaping western countries such as the US and Canada. Not engaging these groups would be political suicide.

Take for instance the Conservative Party of Canada. Although not connected to any political party in the US, they do offer an excellent example of how to engage ethnic communities.

They are a right of center party that had spent 13 some years in opposition (we use the British Parliamentary system). Once forming government, they quickly adopted a plan to engage groups such as the East Indian community, Chinese, Ukrainian, etc. Although Canada is not home to a large black community, the principles behind engagement are similar.

The Conservatives sent questionnaires to various ethnic communities determining what was important to them, engaged ethnic leaders and advertised in ethnic neighborhoods using their mother language. Additionally the Conservatives brought community leaders into the party, and helped many of them run as candidates.

Of course this did not assure 100% of the votes from any community, the numbers of non-Caucasian/non-Canadian born supporters has risen substantially.

Take for instance the Canadian election of 2011, the Ukrainian community, a long time Liberal Party base, voted strongly Conservative. Many people in this community held strong conservative values, but never recognized the Conservative Party as a vehicle to further their cause. 

Likewise many other ethnic groups in Canada hold socially conservative values and would align their values with the party if they recognized the party as supporting their interests/views.  In my opinion many cultural groups likely don't see how some of their values are actually conservative. It is the job of conservative leaning political parties to hit the grassroots of these communities as part of a national PR campaign. Any successful party must be representative of the all the ethnic groups that make up the country. Especially the ones who will likely vote for you.

The overarching strategy for the Republican Party, in my view, should be to demonstrate the shared values between the Party and their target ethnic communities. I don't know what mechanisms are in place in the GOP, but I would think that researching your target demographic would be a good start. Find out who among them are likely to support the GOP. I would think that religious leaders in the black community, for instance, would be natural allies for the Republicans. Doing your research to find out where these potential supporters live and find out what this cross section believes to be important. This would lend itself nicely to engaging the movers and shakers in this demographic. I think that this would build a strong foundation for a national PR plan.

I am not arguing here that the GOP should only run black or Latino candidates, what I am suggesting that the GOP strategically chooses messengers (as you alluded to in your blog) that represent various voting groups. A white candidate may be what is needed to win the white vote, much like a black candidate may be needed to win the black vote.

A presidential candidate for instance may not be both black and Latino, therefore the GOP must have the mechanisms in place to engage the other communities as needed. The get out the vote (GOTV) is vital in any campaign. In Canada, the Conservatives have successfully courted ethnic leaders and have even reached out to their home countries by having prominent members of the party travel abroad.

This is just my two cents.


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