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Will it help or will it backfire?

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* The National Journal on Bruce Rauner’s persistent outreach to African-American voters

Democrats are perplexed by Rauner’s strategy, assuming it’s as much a play to win over moderate suburban white voters as it is to actually win over black votes. Even one in-state Republican operative wondered why Rauner was spending valuable October campaign time in overwhelmingly Democratic precincts, given that he needs to win over undecided suburbanites in more politically-competitive territory.

“What Rauner is trying to do is taking a 90-10 electorate, and making it 88-12,” said a former adviser to Rahm Emanuel about the Republican’s focus on black voters. “That’s a waste of your time when there’s a 60-40 [suburban] electorate that you can make 50-50.” […]

Even Republicans working for Rauner privately acknowledged that despite their candidate’s optimism, they’re not going to reshape long-standing voting patterns that have consigned Republicans to a sliver of the black vote. His campaign has set a goal of winning 20 percent of the vote in Chicago, something that can be accomplished with only small inroads among minority voters. But they also hope that by highlighting Rauner’s minority outreach, he’ll improve his showing among softer Republican voters—like married women in the suburbs and moderates. The Chicago Tribune poll, which showed Rauner narrowly ahead, reported that his gains had “been driven primarily by white suburban women, a voting bloc considered socially moderate but fiscally conservative.”

Indeed, Rauner is part of a leading wave of candidates who are beginning to engage in minority outreach, even if it doesn’t render immediate political dividends. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has prioritized minority outreach in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, and has opened field offices meant to reach African-American voters in Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, and Florida.

* If it was all just a made-for-TV show to convince suburban women that he’s an open-minded moderate, then I might agree. But Rauner’s campaign and the IL GOP are also doing quite a bit of other outreach that suburban women won’t ever hear about, including significant amounts of direct mail, black and Latino radio/TV ads, etc.

He is, in other words, forcefully and repeatedly reminding the Democratic Party’s base that there’s an election going on. It would be akin to Democrats blanketing Wheaton with a high-dollar, shotgun-style GOTV program.

Not to mention that African-American preachers - as a class - aren’t exactly beloved by the hardcore Republican “base.” There’s some downside for Rauner here.

But, hey, maybe it’ll work. I give him credit for the outreach, at least. He has, without a doubt, forcefully expressed more high-profile concerns about the economic and social justice plights of minorities than most any other Republican we’ve seen in this state. Props for that.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

41 Comments
  1. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    I don’t think outreach is even on the radar in other communities.

    Rauner and Obie get points for campaigning in all communities. It’s just the right thing to do.

    But it took guys like Big Jim, Edgar and RIchie a number of elections to make significant inroads.


  2. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    Why does this report refer to Rahm emanual as ‘a former advisor or Rahm emanual?’


  3. - walker - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    ==props for that==

    indeed


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    He has to try, even if it is a mostly futile effort, but also needs to invest the vast majority of his time and effort where it has the best chance to work so he can win.


  5. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    ===He has, without a doubt, forcefully expressed more high-profile concerns about the economic and social justice plights of minorities than most any other Republican we’ve seen in this state. Props for that.===

    Agreed.


  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    If Rauner’s efforts were really working, then don’t you think the guy who made the video on drudge yesterday could have found 4 African-Americans with compelling stories instead of the 4 clowns he found?


  7. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    It is good to see an Illinois gubernatorial candidate want to reach all Illinoisans regardless of labels.

    2010 was horrible. Two campaigns in two different Illinois. Quinn won Chicago and Brady won the rest of the state, resulting in an embarrassing polarization that split Illinois and rendered it impossible to govern.

    We need statewide candidates that are statewide.

    Rauner isn’t new to minority outreach. He has been doing work for a long time with Illinoisans that don’t fit the WASP stereotype. Unlike Jack Ryan, Rauner wasn’t doing this for future window-dressing. I know a few of the African Americans who support Rauner based on their long relationship with him and they aren’t fools. His outreach was legitimate.

    Additionally, Sanguinetti was a poor choice, but I do believe Rauner wanted to find a minority as his running mate.

    It is easy to denounce everything Rauner has done with minorities as a cynical ploy. Yet, we have to realize that if we want to have a governor who governs all of Illinois, we have to put aside our own discriminatory partisan views when we vote and when we legislate and when we live together.

    I don’t see Quinn’s trips downstate as a political ploy, and I don’t see Rauner’s trips into my neighborhoods that way either.


  8. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    ===He has, without a doubt, forcefully expressed more high-profile concerns about the economic and social justice plights of minorities than most any other Republican we’ve seen in this state. Props for that.===
    I agree also. But he also shows he is full of bull since he has shown no way to pay for even the current programs, let alone develop sorely needed new ones.


  9. - Rhino Slider - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    No matter the outcome, you can’t say Rauner didn’t give it his all. He didn’t leave anything on the table.

    He’s as greedy for votes as he is for money.


  10. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Any time social justice can get on the radar with all candidates, it is not a bad thing.

    I think in terms of votes, it will end up being a net positive for him.


  11. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Rauner’s exploitation of the break in at Corey Brooks’ church to turn a robbery into something political turned off many more black voters than it attracted to him. But again, maybe it’s a play to suburban women to get the image of democrat machine goons in their head


  12. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    While campaigning a few years ago, I found that those African Americans not feeding at the government trough really didn’t like Madigan, Quinn and Rahm and most other leading Dems, and you can get their votes by giving them a reasonable alternative. Empowering them to have more control of schools and their children’s educations, safety, and increasing private sector opportunity sells well with them. They seem smarter about what needs to be done to improve their children’s education than suburban “soccer moms” who only seem to care about throw in more money at their underachieving, overpriced systems.

    Many church going AA families have much more in common with conservatives than suburban women who call themselves “Republican” but always favor tax increases for schools, no matter how ineffectively the money’s spent, and the patronage and privilege system that goes on in suburban school and municipal systems.

    It only takes a great communicator to help the AA community to understand that we have much more in common with them than the things that separate us.


  13. - Lunchbox - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    I don’t see how this could hurt. It would be a waste of resources if Rauner didn’t focus on minority outreach at all until now (ala Brady in 2010, as noted in the NJ story) but he’s made it part of his campaign strategy since the start. Even getting just 12% of the African American vote doubles what Brady got four years ago. I’m predicting Rauner at 14% among African Americans, darn the Tribune poll from last week.


  14. - Frenchie Mendoza - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:45 am:


    While campaigning a few years ago, I found that those African Americans not feeding at the government trough really didn’t like …

    Yikes.


  15. - Madison - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    I see voters everywhere less enchanted with party mantra. Older voters somewhat less so, younger voters more so. Its healthy for voters to look at both sides. I find that education is perhaps the most determining factor in voterr independence. Home ownership drives the desire to vote. as people pay property taxes they are more inclined to vote on election day, and education drives independent thought.
    Perhaps its all sinking in that neither party is the friend of the American people on a consistent basis, that the almighty dollar is the only friend of politicians everywhere.
    Now thats enlightenment.


  16. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Sorry, but I don’t give Rauner credit for actions that appear to be completely cynical. His history as an employer (at least so far as we have been allowed to discern) shows absolutely no commitment to diversity. This seems to be an 11th-hour conversion….


  17. - Summerwind - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    When a person is as successful as Rauner has been (in business), there’s an understandable inclination to feel you can do what others can’t - like make real inroads in very traditional Democratic constituencies. He’s probably about to find out that transformative skills in one field do not necessarily translate to another.


  18. - Apocalypse Now - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Not sure why Republicans continue to attempt to get more votes in the AA community. A waste of time. Republicans should concentrate on Hispanic and Asian voters, where they have some chance to make inroads, since there are not long-time entrenched voting patterns in place.


  19. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    As goofy as Dr. Howard Dean was, is and always will be, he instituted a brilliant strategy when he was elected DNC chair after the 2004 election. He went into areas that were traditionally or leaned Republican and set up field operations. A lot of pundits panned the move but, when coupled with the troubles of the Bush Administration, it turned out well and the Dems made a huge national comeback.

    Along those lines, it would be foolish for a man with Bruce Rauner’s resources to not spread the wealth (pun intended). What does he have to lose? He is putting his money where his mouth is. He knows that he has to reach all communities and that he can get nothing done in the House if Speaker Madigan still has a veto proof majority.


  20. - wndycty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    “While campaigning a few years ago, I found that those African Americans not feeding at the government trough really didn’t like Madigan, Quinn and Rahm. . .” well I am African American and I am not feeding at the “government trough” but I am voting Democratic, how do you explain that?


  21. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    It’s been admirable, genuinely admirable, but

    1. As others have pointed out other strategies would likely bear more fruit.
    2. This is a difficult needle to thread but when trying to appeal to both suburban voters and city minorities simultaneously, specifically on NRI … well let’s just say the NRI messaging was a mixed message at best.
    3. He needed a much better answer on minority hiring at GTCR.


  22. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    I also give props to any Republican doing outreach to minority communities. However, Rauner’s positions are very antithetical to what the target voters support.

    Rauner has repeatedly threatened public unions and union rights. He demonized state workers. He said he admired union-stripping governors. Plenty of the target voters are government.

    Rauner also ran repeatedly against a minimum wage increase, something minorities strongly support–not to mention veto of Obamacare Medicaid, which is also strongly supported.

    Rauner didn’t have any African-American executives in his firm, didn’t provide any budget plans that are realistic and hasn’t proven his value as a so-called job creator, especially when he was called to do so.

    So what exactly is Rauner offering these communities?

    Still, I credit Rauner for trying, and if it doesn’t work, Republicans may want to moderate their positions the next time around.


  23. - Frenchie Mendoza - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:03 pm:


    Republicans may want to moderate their positions the next time around.

    Or, better yet, find a candidate that actually has a plan, a clue, a propensity to tell the truth.


  24. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    Another reason he should be party chair. This is nothing new for him. He has been spending his own money for years on helping all Illinoisians.


  25. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    ==While campaigning a few years ago, I found that those African Americans not feeding at the government trough ==

    Um, Bob, you aren’t going to make very many inroads with AA’s by insulting them like that. You want to know why Republicans don’t make inroads like they should? People like you. Sheesh.


  26. - Norseman - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    Amen, Demoralized.


  27. - Del Clinkton - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    @vanillaman:

    Want to get rid of the polarization? Then Amend the Constitution (Federal, and State) to end Gerry Mandering of districts. Return all districts to their “Natural” County borders. Force candidates to run where they are going to have to represent.

    It had nothing to do with who got elected Governor. Nothing.


  28. - Del Clinkton - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    GTCR has been feeding at the government trough for years. Its why Bruce and Daisy have that nice house in Willnettkastan.


  29. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Del - Or how about bringing back cumulative voting. When you had Republicans from the South side and Democrats from Naperville. Its funny to think that the last Dem Speaker before Speaker Madigan was the great Bill Redmond, a Democrat from DuPage!


  30. - anon - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    == He has, without a doubt, forcefully expressed more high-profile concerns about the economic and social justice plights of minorities ==

    If and when Rauner actually supports a minimum wage hike, then he’d have some credibility talking about economic justice. Ditto if he ever reversed course and backed a graduated income tax to reduce the heavily regressive tax system in this state.


  31. - RT - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    This is a really interesting aspect of this year’s campaign…not only Rauner’s visibilty in African-American precincts, but the state GOP mailers — partially funded with Rauner’s $ — going out in Dem districts. (as Rich would say, subscribe for more info.)

    At the end of the day, though, if the GOP loses a couple of GA races by 200 or 300 votes, they’re really gonna regret it. For the cost of those mailers in Chicago they could have put a few more field organizers in a targeted race or two…that’s usually worth 200 or 300 votes.


  32. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    @ Demoralized

    =Um, Bob, you aren’t going to make very many inroads with AA’s by insulting them like that. You want to know why Republicans don’t make inroads like they should? People like you. Sheesh.=

    Only in your and Norseman’s feeble minds could that be considered an insult. Anyone relying on the gubmint for their paycheck or public assistance, regardless of race, will favor Democrats. They’re the party of the dole. The people may not like the political servitude on the Dem “plantation” but they dare not rock the boat for fear of being kicked off the gravy train.

    Today there’s an increasing number of African Americans who are well educated, have professional jobs not related to affirmnative action or government, have Judeo Christian values, and know how to rise out of poverty and the cesspools on far too many of their communities streets. They largely agree with conservative solutions instead of perpetuatiing an underclass for political exploitation as part of the Dem strategy.

    These are the folks to whom the GOP should reach out. Someone with a patronage job or on the dole you can’t win over unless you pay to keep them dependent as the Dems do. YOu don’t defeat the enemy by becoming them.


  33. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:38 pm:

    ==Today there’s an increasing number of African Americans who are well educated, have professional jobs not related to affirmnative action or government, have Judeo Christian values, and know how to rise out of poverty and the cesspools on far too many of their communities streets.==

    I think I would stop if I were you. You are only digging your hole deeper.

    ==They’re the party of the dole. The people may not like the political servitude on the Dem “plantation” but they dare not rock the boat for fear of being kicked off the gravy train.==

    *shaking head* Bob, you have a way with words. Unfortunately it’s not a good way.

    ==Someone with a patronage job or on the dole you can’t win over unless you pay to keep them dependent as the Dems do==

    *shaking head again* You usually don’t win them over either by calling them people who feed at the government trough. But that’s just me.

    ==YOu don’t defeat the enemy by becoming them.==

    What’s with this enemy crap? Who’s the enemy Bob? People who don’t think like you do? I’m not your enemy Bob. I just happen to have a different viewpoint of the world than you do . . . thank goodness.


  34. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Oh, and Bob, you can’t make policy unless you WIN an election. Gotta do that first. At least the “enemy” in Illinois has done that. Win first. That’s the goal.


  35. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    Bob, who were you campaigning for when you had these chin wags with all these black voters.

    Also, I admire your principles in turning down Social Security or your public employee pension. And no Medicare for you, I’m sure.


  36. - RT - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 3:49 pm:

    Predicted future posts from Arizona Bob:

    “Some of my best friends are black.”

    “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!”


  37. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    Bob’s plan for Republican outreach to the AA community:

    1. Must be well educated
    2. Must have never benefited from affirmative action or worked for the government
    3. Must have a “professional” job
    4. Must be Christian

    If you meet these requirements we would be happy to have you as an AA member of the Republican Party. Others need not apply. Cause y’all aren’t worth it.


  38. - MIMI - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 4:28 pm:

    “He has, without a doubt, forcefully expressed more high-profile concerns about the economic and social justice plights of minorities than most any other Republican we’ve seen in this state. ”

    He is dublitous- he has two faces- that’s the reality, He wants to eliminate the minimum wage- who does this affect the most- the reality is the guy is racist- NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT.


  39. - MIMI - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    Didn’t he send armed detectives with his staff to intimidate African Americans in Oak Park after they circulated or signed petitions for the Libertarians.
    He then claimed that the reason that they went armed was that Oak Park was a dangerous suburb. I don’t know about anyone else but that sounds racist to me- I go to Oak Park all the time and feel totally safe and I don’t feel I need a gun to ask people about why they signed a petition- this was totally about voter intimidation against AA.


  40. - austinman - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 6:51 pm:

    I am a highly educated african american Christian and yes I am very insulted by what Bob has said, and I am sure there are more white republicans eating at the government trough that African Americans living in urban areas. I am so tired of people thinking that we are the majority on government aid, or we are the ones benefiting more from government. I am sure more white folks are getting more in government contracts, more in government aid (hello downstate farmers), i can go on and on but please stop saying we are the ones always on the government….. anyway yes kudos to Bruce for coming into my community but please he has never answered why he couldnt find one person who looks like me to work for him, all that tells me is that he wont find one person who looks like me to work in state government in positions of power. I am voting for Quinn now had Senator Dillard been in this race, I would have voted for him. At least he stood up and supported President Obama he did find one African American to help out. Bruce didn’t and to pay a preacher to get up and do a commercial as a Christian a strong Christian I am insulted so that was another strike against Bruce, lastly he cant even tell me how he is going to balance the budget, at least Quinn is telling me what he’s going to do. I would rather go with the guy that’s telling me he is going to stick it to me vs the guy that will say or pay anyone to get him elected. Next time ILGOP start earlier in making inroads, and bring a real person who is sincere.


  41. - Steve schnorf - Wednesday, Oct 29, 14 @ 7:30 pm:

    Bob, in my mind too


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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