Two weeks ago we reported that Rand Paul who often makes statements which are patently offensive to minorities had been chosen by the Michigan Republican party to speak at the opening of its new African-American Engagement Office in Detroit, a city where the “minority” population is the majority.
At that time we questioned the logic of choosing Paul given his record of making such insensitive comments, and it turns out we were right.
The launch of their new outreach office showed just how far the GOP has to go if they are to sway minority voters to their cause, the audience which turned out to hear Paul speak at the opening was largely white.
RNC chairman, Reince Priebus said after last years failed Presidential campaign by Mitt Romney that the party had to do more to reach out and appeal to women and minorities. A panel was convened to do a “post mortem” of the campaign and came up with a plan to do just that, although the means was unclear, since the conclusion they reached was that the problem was not in their message, but rather in the way the message was delivered.
Last month Priebus went to Michigan and hired black conservative Wayne Bradley who hosts an online talk radio show, to help launch the new office. Apparently this was not enough to attract non-white voters in large numbers.
Paul told the crowd that the opening of the office represented the “beginning of a new Republican Party,” continuing that “this is going to be a Republican Party that is in big cities and small cities, in the countryside, in the city. It’s going to be about bringing a message that is popular no matter where you’re from, whether you’re rich or poor, whether you’re black, white or brown.”
In fairness, it has to be said that while the turnout at the outreach office was mostly white, the Senator did appear at Grace Bible Chapel where he did speak to a group of about 300 predominantly black voters. It was at this venue however that his appearance was picketed by a group of protesters from the National Action Network, a civil rights group.
At the Grace Bible event he admitted that “the war on drugs has gone awry,” and that minorities have been disproportionately impacted. He also acknowledged that judges should have more discretion in sentencing rather than mandatory guidelines and that it is often difficult for those with a felony conviction to find gainful employment.
Given his record of saying what the audience wants to hear even if it contradicts something he has previously said his remarks must be taken with a grain of salt and the overall outcome of these events in Detroit does continue to show that the GOP has a long way to go if they are to attract the minority vote in any significant numbers.
The video below makes very clear the make up of the audience at the opening.
h/t: Huffington Post