A leading black Republican in Florida says that the campaign to elect Donald Trump president has “failed” at reaching out to black voters in his state.
The Miami New Times said Friday that Sean P. Jackson — head of the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida — blames state campaign director Karen Giorno, who he says routinely disregarded his advice and froze him out of the party’s efforts to win over voters.
“Mr. Trump really does have a sincere, passionate interest in a black outreach, but his campaign staff has dropped the ball,” said Jackson to the New Times. “That all starts with Karen Giorno. She has repeatedly failed at embracing blacks across the state.”
BuzzFeed News reported Thursday that Giorno booted Jackson out of the backstage area at a recent Florida rally.
“The crazy part about it is that the Secret Service had already cleared me to be back there, and yet she made a scene claimed that she didn’t know who I was,” said Jackson.
He told the New Times that he had hopes of helping the Trump campaign avoid the mistakes that Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) made in his failed presidential run in 2012. Romney, said Jackson, waited until too late in his campaign to start outreach to nonwhite voters.
“I have been saying repeatedly that you cannot go into black community in the 9th hour of a campaign and ask them to vote for a GOP candidate,” he said. “The party has done a piss poor job of courting the black vote over 50 years. So you have to have more vested interest in time and in your financial effort for the whole campaign, not just in the last 100 days.”
“I have called and emailed and text messaged every way I can to Karen and her staff…trying to impress on her how important this outreach is. It’s fallen on deaf ears,” he went on. “This is why you have this scenario playing out where the narrative is that Trump could give two craps about blacks, which is just not true.”
Trump’s poll numbers among nonwhite voters are dismal. In some places he is winning zero percent of the black and Latino vote. Jackson said that he believes his fellow African-Americans are ready to leave the Democratic Party in droves and that Republicans are missing an opportunity to change the racial divide between the two parties forever.
“My physical attitude now is that I’ve hit this crossroads, but my spirit will not allow me to stop working for Mr. Trump,” he said. “I know this is much bigger than me. It’s much bigger than any one person.”
Meanwhile, Republicans in Ohio, Texas and North Carolina are feverishly trying to roll back court rulings against their stringent voter ID laws, which make it harder for nonwhite voters to cast their ballots.
The state of North Carolina, faced with massive budget shortfalls after years of Tea Party rule by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has hired on one of the most expensive and powerful attorneys in the country in order to defend its plan to block black voters.
Ian Millheiser wrote, “Clement has spent much of the Obama administration transforming himself into a kind of Solicitor General of the Republican Party. Clement has argued cases seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act, preserve anti-gay marriage discrimination, defend harsh policies targeting immigrants, and preserve other voter suppression laws.”
State taxpayers will be on the hook for Clement’s fees, which can run from $520 per hour to $1,350 per hour. North Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper — who is running for governor against McCory — has refused to defend the voter ID law in court.