Our guest blogger is State Rep. Cloves C. Campbell, Jr. from Arizona. He is the publisher of the Arizona Informant newspaper.
This week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) begins his “Forgotten Americans” tour. His campaign intends to visit places most Republican candidates don’t, including African American neighborhoods. I applaud Sen. McCain for recognizing that Republicans don’t do a good job of reaching out to minorities and the poor. However, he is a part of the problem.
I have been politically active in the Black community in Phoenix for years, as was my father, Cloves Campbell, Sr. I also run the Arizona Informant, the leading Black Newspaper in Arizona. At my paper, we’ve interviewed the state’s top Republican elected officials, except John McCain — who has consistently turned us down. Why is that? You’d have to ask McCain that question, but my theory is that he just hasn’t cared about what black voters in Arizona think.
Despite popular opinion, the Black community is not a monolith. Especially here in Phoenix, where you have a lot of newcomers to the state — many of whom are not strongly tied to either party. Republicans would do well to start talking to some of them and engaging in a real dialogue about their issues and concerns. McCain says this is what he wants to do, but he’s had decades in public office to do so, and he hasn’t. That makes it hard for me to take this tour as anything more than a political stunt in a presidential campaign.
So, I’m glad Senator McCain is highlighting some of the neglected parts of our nation. But I have a suggestion for him. He needs to run the tour through his own backyard. If he wants this effort to be taken seriously, he has some work to do at home.