Minority voters are too dependent on the government to understand what’s good for them, and that’s why they don’t vote for Republicans, according to a panelist at the influential Faith And Freedom Coalition Conference’s minority outreach discussion.
On Friday, Rich Thompson, the founder of a Georgia-based 100 Dads — an organization that advocates for “school choice” — spoke on a panel entitled “The True Rainbow Coalition: Building an Organization in Minority Faith Communities.” There, Thompson suggested that the reason Republicans couldn’t make inroads with voters of color “are being paid by the government” with benefits. He argued that the best thing for Republican minority outreach would be understanding this dynamic, and thus figuring out how to cut federal benefit programs and make minority voters more pliable to free-market views:
I learned from a pastor probably over a decade ago, we had a candid conversation, and he said these three things. He said there’s only three things on this Earth that defy logic […] One is who’s friends with who. Number two is who’s related to who. And number three is who’s paying who. So before we leave today I would like each of use to contemplate when it comes to reaching out to diverse minority communities, let’s think about asking those three questions before we do anything further.
If we speak to the latter, who’s paying who, right now an extremely disproportionate number of people of color are being paid by the government. Therein lies a serious problem. We can’t just cut everybody off instantaneously. But we have to have a serious conversation about how we get people to being producers and not receivers. So I thank you for coming this evening to find out how we can better message to people of the black community, the Latino community, and the Asian community.
Of course, not all public programs go exclusively, or even largely, to minority populations. What’s more, receiving public benefits doesn’t determine one’s voting patterns. Seventy percent of food stamp recipients, for instance, are white, and the vast majority of counties with the fastest-growing food stamp rolls voted Republican in 2008.
The results of the 2012 election — when minority voters rejected the Republican presidential ticket in record numbers — do not bode well for Thompson’s approach as a political message. Polls of black, Latino, and Asian voters suggest that stepped-up opposition to social welfare will only further alienate these growing sectors of the American electorate. Mitt Romney, for one, didn’t learn this lesson — in comments after the election that strongly resembled his 47 percent remarks, the former Governor suggested that the GOP lost the minority vote because President Obama gave them “gifts.”
Other Faith and Freedom conference attendees included Republican presidential hopefuls like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio.