In a nation of 310 million people, 90 million of whom are Black and Hispanic, you would think that Mitt Romney’s multi-million dollar presidential campaign could find one person of color to be in a 2 minute and 30 second campaign ad.
The answer is: Nope.
Political pundits say Romney needs the Hispanic vote. Does his new Promise of America ad include any of those 50 million people in the U.S. whose help he may need? Incredibly the answer in this political ad is no.
Just recently Romney visited a Black neighborhood in Philadelphia and hired noted Washington Times columnist and conservative pundit Tara Wall as an African American outreach staff member to his campaign. The week before, the Census Bureau released data confirming minorities made up to 50.4% of the U.S. population younger than one year old as of July 2011.
You would think the Romney campaign would take cues from this and ramp up messaging for its “minority” outreach, in conjunction with the Republican Party apparatus. But, instead, the effort has been lacking, at best. “Yes, it is a bit harder this time. We have a black president. But we can’t go in with the mind-set that we aren’t going to win any people over to our side,” said Wall in a recent interview with the Washington Post. “From a messaging standpoint, we need to be able to communicate and relate to these communities about how they are being impacted by Obama’s policies. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s an important part of the process. It’s not a ploy, it’s not a tactic, it’s part of who we are. We have to show up.”
But, shouldn’t it be about more than just showing up? Seeming to ignore the changing demographics (and maybe reflecting a bit on the extent of Wall’s influence in the campaign), the Romney campaign released an ad that looks more like America’s past than its future.
But what might Romney’s ad inadvertently may be showing us is: No one connected to the Romney campaign cares about minority outreach. Is the GOP even pretending like minority votes matter? It also may show that the Southern strategy is alive and wel in American politics.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She is heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW every Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Washington DC. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter at @crewof42.
— Managing Editor Charles D. Ellison contributed to this report