Americans didn’t buy what the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was selling because he was the wrong messenger for a growing ethnically diverse population. Whites made up 72% of voters in 2012 of which Romney won 60% but appealing to whites only wasn’t enough to carry him to the White House. The diminishing importance of the white vote is evidenced by the fact Obama earned 38% of the white vote, five points less than he did in 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal and still won re-election.
It’s not the message Republicans need to change but the messengers who are selling the message. To his credit and the Democrats, Obama did heavy outreach to blacks, Latinos and Hispanics and it paid off. Obama increased his win of the Hispanic vote from 67% in 2008 to 69% in 2012, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. According to CNN, black voter turnout in swing states like Pennsylvania was higher than it was in 2008 and Obama earned over 90% of the black vote overall this election.
In contrast, Romney gave what amounted to lip service light to the Hispanic and Latino outreach. Romney and the RNC spent millions of dollars in advertising to Hispanics, yet he failed to chip away at that voting bloc because people can tell when you don’t really care about their vote.
Even more insulting was Romney’s refusal to work for the black vote beyond giving an NAACP speech and announcing a Black Leadership Council, which amounted to nothing more than cosmetic wall paper. Knowing Obama wasn’t earning the black vote and blacks would simply vote for him because he was black, you would think Romney and the RNC would do more to take their message to black America.
A year ago, the RNC hired me to create a black outreach website to attract more blacks to the Republican Party. After near completion of the site in the late spring of 2012, Romney and the RNC killed the project, explaining they didn’t want to launch the site without putting outreach activities behind it. I agreed and recommended a slate of outreach activities such as town hall meetings at historically black colleges and universities in swing states such as Virginia and North Carolina. The RNC’s refused to fund any black outreach activities.