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Republicans and the Minority Vote


Empathy is not the path to reach minority voters, empowerment is.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

It's no secret that Republicans have trouble winning minority votes.

For the past several decades, Democrats have had a near monopoly in the black community and a very strong majority in the Hispanic community. This has left Republican strategists scratching their heads and pondering the all important, million dollar question - How do we win them back?

This question, which has stymied the right for so long, was the topic of a recent talk that Rand Paul gave while at the launch of MRC Latino. Rand Paul, known for marching to his own beat and attracting strange bedfellows, had this to say regarding the trouble Republicans seem to have with minorities:

There is not the perception of empathy coming from the Republican Party, that we care about where they're coming from, and we care about what their problems are.

While this is a common train of thought for many people in the Republican Party, I think it's a mistake.

People see through thinly veiled attempts at pandering, at least I'd like to believe they still do.

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The debate about whether to continue the dragnet surveillance of Americans’ phone records is highlighting divisions within the Democratic and Republican parties that could transform the politics of national security. While some leading Democrats have been reluctant to condemn the National Security Agency’s tactics, the GOP has begun to embrace a libertarian shift opposing the spy agency’s broad surveillance powers _ a striking departure from the aggressive national security policies that have defined the Republican Party for generations. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.  AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

When Republicans come to minorities acting empathetic or sympathetic, as if they are the party of caring and concern, it's an insult. Everyone knows just as well as we do that that approach is an effort to win votes, not an honest expression of our principles as a political party. We are not the party of government hugs and handouts, we are the party of personal freedom, limited federal government and the Constitution.

The idea that we should appear to be more empathetic to certain groups of people is a mistake, especially if we don't plan on governing that way. I, and the majority on the right, are not interested in a more empathetic government. This idea that the government is going to care about us and do things for us is the root of many of the problems we face today.

Obamacare was the result of Democrats caring so much about the uninsured that they had to do something about it. Gun control is the result of Democrats feeling so badly for the victims of illegal acts of violence that they absolutely have to act to save even just one life. The current battle over immigration and a plan for amnesty is the government expressing empathy for all those criminal immigrants who break the law every single day because they just want a better life.

I don't want an empathetic government, sir, I want a responsible one who will preserve my freedom, so that I, as a person, can be as empathetic as I want. This is the message of empathy that we should bring - empathy as people, not as a government.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01:  U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (2nd R) celebrate during a ceremony October 1, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senate and House Democrats held a ceremony to mark the launch of the Affordable Care Act. Credit: Getty Images Credit: Getty Images

The government doesn't have empathy for you, the government isn't sympathetic toward you either.

It is a huge web-like bureaucracy of thousands of agencies, offices and departments with employees who have never set foot in your town or your city or your house. How is the government supposed to be empathetic toward you if they don't even know who you are except for a damn number and a tax return?

Empathy and sympathy, care and concern come from knowing who someone is and then wanting to help them. That isn't the government, that's your neighbor, your church, your friends and family, not a politician in a suit that is thousands of miles away trying to win the most amount of votes to maintain their own power and connections.

We do not need to enter the turf that the Democrats have been playing on for years, you will never beat them there. Anything you can give they can give more of. Instead of trying to beat them at their own game, why don't we introduce a new game that revolves around empowerment, not government goodies.

The Democrats claim to care and want to provide us with everything but government is an entity of law and enforcement, not of human emotion. It is impossible for the federal government to "care" about everyone and it always seems to come with a steep, steep price.

Instead, why don't we champion the idea of individual empowerment so that people as individuals have the most resources and freedom possible in order to care for, provide for and help out those around them. That is a message for any color, any race or any background and is consistent with what our principles are.

Later in his remarks, Rand Paul mentioned a teacher named Jaime Escalante who inspired and taught his students the most difficult math subjects in high school because he refused to accept that they couldn't be taught or that they couldn't be reached. He threw away the accepted knowledge about those students, held them to higher standards and challenged them to be great.

There is a lesson here that Republicans can learn from this educator - Don't treat those you want to attract like children who cannot understand the concepts of liberty and responsibility and need to be pandered to like everyone else does.

Challenge them with truly different ideas and stay true to what you believe in and fight for. Show people the respect by being up front and honest about who we are and what we believe in - empowering freedom.

For other articles and writings by Darrell, please visit the Milk Crate.

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