By Carlton Yearwood
By now you undoubtedly have read, viewed, or engaged in lively debate about the fall of Governor Mitt Romney. If ever there was someone thrown under the proverbial bus, it has been poor Mitt. Poor in one sense at least (do we dare to ask about his taxes?). In the heady rush for answers and explanations for his loss, I tuned into FOX news looking for some insight. Whatever was I thinking, or not thinking, FOX was supremely confident that Mitt gave the election to incumbent President Barack Obama. Not that President Obama was more deserving or better suited to lead the country forward; rather it was Romney’s election to lose. Funny, they never referred to it as Romney’s “gift” to the president. So just maybe it’s not what you give but what you are made of.
More recently I was engaged in a rather lively discussion with a group of Chief Diversity Officers from some of the largest national and global brands located in the US. The vast majority of them are admitted democrats, but I do believe there was a sprinkling of in the closet republicans in the bunch. The discussion was spirited and we kicked around the idea of writing a letter to the Republican Party about their loss. While the democrat leaning airwaves continued to celebrate and point to all the right tactical moves of the Obama campaign and how far out in front of the shifting demographics the campaign was, they were singing a song we were far too familiar with. After all, Chief Diversity Officers are that group of executives who live and die by the implications their companies face that they can directly attribute to shifting demographics and shifting attitudes.
So we discussed what an enlightened Republican Party platform and strategy might encompass as they look at the “new demographic” trends centering on Women, Asians and Hispanics. Possibly at another time I will write about the party’s total disregard of the African American electorate, but for now let’s address the more popular topics. While I don’t get my news from FOX, they have become an excellent source of material and I’m no comedian. Right off the bat they didn’t disappoint. One commentator after another chided, we undoubtedly failed to recognize these shifting demographics and it will behoove us to examine better ways of reaching out to these groups. The punch line soon followed, “what does reaching out to these groups look like, what does reaching out to these groups mean?” From this writer’s viewpoint and of those shared by the Chief Diversity Officers, therein lies the underlying dilemma the Republican Party faces. They appear to have no problem professing, out loud, to a complete, total and abysmal lack of understanding of what has taken place in our country. Or, as they might see it, “their” country. As if this is nation with no history of large, uneasy population changes (remember ‘Irish need not apply”?).