Sure, black staffers are fleeing the Republican National Committee in what NBC described yesterday as a “mass exodus”. The endorsement of the KKK for their 2016 presidential front-runner will do that to a party.
But have no fear, Republicans. The RNC has hired a new National Director of African American Initiatives and Media.
Telly Lovelace is the man who will save the Republican Party from the white supremacy themes of Trump’s campaign. Lovelace used to be the spokesman for U.S. pharmaceutical industry.
“Engaging with Black voters and all diverse communities across the country is a top priority for the RNC,” said Chairman Priebus in a statement. “Telly is a welcome addition to our team, and I’m confident his experience will help us build on our commitment to cultivate relationships and trust with Black media and Black communities.”
Back in the fall of 2014, Lovelace was arguing that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) would be a good Republican presidential candidate because of his outreach to African-American voters. “I like how he has been engaging minority voters, really making a true genuine effort to reach out to African-Americans, Hispanics and all minorities across the country,” Lovelace was quoted as saying of the Kentucky Republican.
The fact that the RNC is putting a black man who thought Rand Paul had a good message for African-American voters in charge of their messaging to “black media” is reason number one to be dubious that this will work.
A year before Lovelace announced that Paul had a message that would resonate with black voters, the Republican Senator had been busted for hiring neo-Confederate, pro-secessionist, pro-Lincoln assassination Jack Hunter as his close Congressional aide. Hunter also worked with Paul to write Paul’s 2010 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington.
Hunter was also the chairman of what the Free Beacon called the “implicitly racist group” League of the South. Hunter used to promote himself as a shock jock wearing a confederate flag over his face and publicly championed the assassination of President Lincoln.
When all of this became public, Rand defended his hire. For days. Rand said, “People are calling him a white supremacist. If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately. If I thought he would treat anybody on the color of their skin different than others, I’d fire him immediately.” Because it’s always up to white Republican males to inform black people when something is racist and Rand was quite sure his aide was not a racist.
Until the outrage was so loud that he had to “part ways” with Hunter. Then, Rand’s only concern then was that he hoped he hadn’t harmed the Republican brand.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Rand’s close association with Hunter would be problematic for his “message” to black voters. But Lovelace didn’t see it.
So Lovelace is the perfect person to carry the “black media” mantle for the RNC, because he seemingly understands very little about the community with whom he is challenged to connect. Republicans think that just because a person has black skin, they represent black people. See how that works? Everything is skin deep with the Republican party.
Republicans still believe that black voters supported President Obama because he is black, but this makes no sense because the same voters did not support Herman Cain. This kind of contemptuous stereotyping blinds Republicans to the fact that black voters are not voting by skin color.
Who else other than a man who saw Rand Paul as a good standard bearer for the GOP with black voters would possibly sign up to “spin” Donald Trump’s blatant racial hatred. It’s perfect.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.