Working in the Texas campaign world over the past few years has given me a good idea about how conservatives across the political spectrum feel about GOP candidates wading into the complicated world of multicultural outreach.

Much of the work I’ve done since last September has been working toward the goal of making this sort of outreach mainstream—and it hasn’t always been easy. But a recent radio interview given by President Obama may have made my job just a little bit easier:

Via The Hill:

Controversial voter identification laws are not the primary reason minority voters are failing to cast their ballots, President Obama Mar 3 09said in a radio interview airing Tuesday.

“Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don’t vote from voting,” Obama said during an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton. “Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver’s license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient’ it may be a little more difficult.”

“The bottom line is, if less than half of our folks vote, these laws aren’t preventing the other half from not voting,” Obama said. “The reason we don’t vote is because people have been fed this notion that somehow it’s not going to make a difference. And it makes a huge difference.”

There are two takeaways from this interview, and neither of them bodes well for Democrats.

The first is that President Obama has gone completely off the rails when it comes to maintaining unity in messaging within the party. A major part of liberal messaging this cycle has focused on voter suppression; President Obama has undermined years of effort with one interview.

Much of their messaging strategy has focused on their purported desire to eliminate Republicans as the source of discriminatory practices against minorities, women, and the LGBT community. By blaming low voter turnout on the minority voter, as opposed to Republicans’ efforts to keep them at home, President Obama has thrown a wench into Dems’ previously seamless argument against keeping Republicans in office.

Thanks for that, by the way.

Imperial Islamic President ObamaThe second takeaway has less to do with Obama and Democrats, and more to do with how far Republicans and right-leaning voters should be willing to go in outreach expansion efforts.

Elections are not won and lost by convincing voters who already agree with you that you’re right; elections are won by branching out and convincing potential new voters not only that your policies will improve their lives, but that you actually care enough to listen to their problems.

If community organizer cum President Obama is willing to admit that the very base he was lauded for energizing no longer cares about turning out to support his candidates, then conservatives should be willing to leave “conventional wisdom” behind and move operations into communities where we have an opportunity to go to voters Republicans have neglected and say, “we care about this community.”

If right-leaning voters are unwilling to dump this idea that you can tell a Republican voter just by looking at him, we will lose elections in precincts that we previously carried without much trouble. It’s also important to realize that bringing the message to new voters doesn’t mean changing that message to conform to a stereotype of what minority voters believe; it means making that message resonate with what big data tells us matters most to each particular community.

Consider it base-building, and giving new voters a decision: will they stand for conservative values, or destructive liberal policies? Everyone we talk to may not make the decision to vote for a Republican in November, but at least we can say we gave them the opportunity to consider it.
















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