As I travel the state to speak with civic organizations, churches, and black leadership groups about the Republican Party, the most prevalent question is this: What have Republicans done to better the lives of African Americans in Georgia? It’s a fair question and one that I don’t shy away from answering. In fact, I welcome the question with hopes that they will in turn ask the Democrats the same. If black American citizens are not asking this crucial question of both political parties, how can voters be adequately informed to cast a ballot for state, local, and national leaders? In many ways, progress towards political parity, however slight, was made in the 2016 Presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary. The Black American vote for President dropped from 94% in 2012 for President Obama to 88% for Hillary Clinton. The real story here is Trump’s methods to appeal to white American voters succeeded while Hillary Clinton’s appeal as kryptonite for race issues not only fell flat but digressed considerably. More and more, black Americans are willing to look at key performance indicators before walking lock step with the status quo.
Hillary’s campaign failed to convince on issues still important to black American progress including;
Education Reform and Access to Quality Options
Strengthening Family Life and Structure
Unfair Competition from Undocumented Workers
National Interests before Globalism (taking care of home first)
Strengthening Local Lending Institutions and the Small Business Administration, and
Criminal Justice Reform
We should expect Democrats to create a real agenda and to engage with more than just the black elite gatekeepers in 2020 or they are once again doomed for failure. Trump’s election brings new opportunity to be influencers on the inside and not just complainers on the outside. Football legend and community activist Jim Brown is on board quoted as saying I fell love him today on CNN. What kind of love is this of which Jim Brown speaks? Is it a deep love of his people he is putting before politics? Is Jim Brown and other black activists like Ray Lewis visiting with Trump to put an urban reform agenda before democrat party loyalty?
I can’t remember Barack Obama having activists and black business leaders in high profile visits to discuss issues impacting the black community in 2008. Trump’s awkward but pertinent “What have you got to lose” question, should have been phrased by Clinton as the statement Here’s an agenda that you will gain! But she didn't. At least not in terms that people like comedian Dave Chappelle believed. Three days before he voted for her, he admitted that she wasn’t right for black America. What political reforms are right for black Americans? How do we influence the agenda of President Elect Donald Trump? Georgia offers an example of what our influence on a leader can do. Since Republican Governor Nathan Deal took office in 2010, over 275,000 new private sector jobs have been created in Georgia, and our state rose to number one in CNBC’s America’s Top States For Business. Ranging from technology to manufacturing, film and entertainment to retail, our state is the hub of economic growth and expansion. Now a proposed tax credit for the music industry and small business-friendly regulations, black American entrepreneurs will be a part of this record job growth. Governor Nathan Deal, (R-GA) and his colleagues in the Georgia General Assembly have passed new criminal justice reforms that have reduced costs while enhancing outcomes. Breaking out of partisan rhetoric, Republican leaders in Georgia have listened to the justice concerns of black Georgians and went to work. This is a newly created table of influence for reform and Georgia leads the way for Trump to move nationally. Georgia has literally reduced the prison industrial complex turning some prisons slated for operation into community centers. According to recent reports, prison sentences imposed on African Americans have dropped by 20 percent. This unmistakable downward trend is a direct result of the expansion of accountability courts throughout the state. In the first quarter of 2014, more than four thousand people were enrolled in accountability courts throughout the state, and many of these Georgians would likely be in prison today if it weren’t for the bold leadership of Republicans like Gov. Deal. Instead of being locked in a cell, they are home with family. Not only are we seeing improvements with the adult Criminal Justice system, we have also seen ample funding to correct the juvenile justice system too. Republicans reinvested more than $7 million in incentive grant funding to the juvenile justice system. This financial support gives communities more opportunities to offer more non-confinement sentencing options. Because of these efforts, Georgia expects to see more of our nonviolent youth who have made mistakes return society with the skills they need to make a positive impact in their communities. From job creation and criminal justice reform to enhancing educational opportunities for children through school choice, Republican leaders like Governor Nathan Deal are working tirelessly to make life better for all of us. While it may seem counter culture to support conservatives at the ballot box, it’s difficult to deny the amazing progress made by Republican leaders at various levels of government. As we move beyond the politics of skin color, and the limiting box of cultural social pressures, let us remember that good policymaking uplifts us all. It’s clear that Georgians want what’s best for our children and grandchildren. We want political reform leaders who are responding today to secure a better tomorrow. Uplifting and empowering policy is to be expected if not demanded from our new President. .
Copyright 2016. Shelley Wynter. All rights reserved