Your Campaign is in crisis mode. The problem is black voters. They don’t know you and they feel you don’t know them. You’re getting blitzed by 30 points all over the place because older African Americans haven’t reached a comfort level with you.
Clear your schedule and call the President of Tuskegee University down in Alabama. Tuskegee is one of the great historically black universities in the country. Tell him you would like to speak to the faculty and student body on Race in America, sometime in the next three days. Tell them it will be a major policy speech not a campaign rally. Commit to not mentioning the name of any person currently in the Presidential Race.
For you, this is a make or break moment. Barack Obama faced such a moment during his Presidential Campaign in 2008 when it was discovered that he was a long time friend of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and had attended Wright’s church services in Chicago for many years. Obama knew the situation had the potential to finish his career. Much of Rev. Wright’s written and spoken work was indefensible. Obama also knew that if he opened himself up completely and told the American people the whole story of who he was, where he came from and where he hoped to go he’d get a fair hearing.
Obama received a fair hearing and the matter of Rev. Wright was, more or less, put to rest. A late friend of mine who was a conservative Catholic Priest, who had served for 28 years as Catholic Chaplin at West Point told me that Obama’s speech “brought tears to his eyes”. Moral of the story: give the people a chance to hear your story and trust their fairness.
What you say down in Tuskegee is up to you. You’re going to have to dig deep. It will require you to know their history, feel their pain and point to a better day. And, that you are determined to be a part of making that better day a reality.
Give it your best shot and you may just end up becoming President of the United States.
Tuskegee University will be a great venue for you for many reasons, not the least of which it was the Alma Mater of the great writer, Ralph Ellison, who wrote the book, “The Invisible Man“.
Isn’t that your problem with African American voters? Many of them think they’re invisible to you. Tell them you could have done better and you will do more.
Oh happy day!
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.