By Raynard Jackson
(ThyBlackMan.com) Last week, I watched the Republican Party get their butts kicked because they once again totally ignored the Black vote during Georgia’s two U.S. Senate races. I couldn’t help but think about how they were having another “Kodak moment.”
For many years, a “Kodak moment” was used as a tagline in Kodak’s advertising campaigns. Any event that you wanted to memorialize was called a Kodak moment. It was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history.
George Eastman and Henry Strong founded the famed camera manufacturer, Kodak on September 4, 1888. They came up with an ingenious marketing strategy of selling cheap cameras or giving away the cameras for free; knowing that the real money was selling you the film for the camera. This was simply brilliant!!
At their height, Kodak had 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales.
Similarly, the Republican Party was founded in 1854 in opposition to slavery. Under the leadership of Republican president Abraham Lincoln and a Republican Congress, slavery was banned in 1865. In the early 1900s, the party make a hard turn to the right. Republicans ultimately abandoned the Black community after they passed the civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Currently the party seems to be only interested in the rural white male southern voters. This is why we lost the two Georgia senate races last week.
Georgia has a 30% Black population and the Republican Party totally wrote them off. How can any candidate write off 30% of the vote and expect to win? I had some of the top Black entrepreneurs throughout the state on standby to meet with both candidates; but neither campaign showed any interest.
Why has Kodak disappeared from the public? They simply refused to change with the times and refused to innovate; which is ironic since innovation was what led to them creating the digital camera in the first place.
They ran in to financial problems because their sales of film products begin to decline after digital cameras began to take off. This seems illogical.
They invented the digital camera, but somehow was not able to anticipate that with more digital camera sales, that the need for film would disappear.
Definitely sounds like the Republican Party.
The country is becoming more diverse, but yet the party is only focusing on a white base turnout model. They know very well about the shifting demographics of this country, but yet they refuse to innovate.
It is simply scary to observe the eerie parallels between Kodak and the Republican Party.
Kodak is no longer selling their products to the general consumer, but sell only to businesses. Because they failed to keep up with the times, they became obsolete; thus had to focus on a much smaller market-b2b (business to business). They are barely a billion-dollar company, whereas they used to generate multiple billions of dollars in revenue.
In Kodak we can see the future of the Republican Party if they don’t get innovative leadership and begin to update their message for a diverse America.
No longer can the party depend on white turnout to win an election; but yet the party has done nothing to appeal to other groups within the U.S.
Black entrepreneurs are the “cameras” in my Kodak analogy. Focus on helping these businessmen grow their already successful businesses and they will bring you the rest of the Black community (the film).
Who better to promote our conservative message than the local entrepreneur? Lower taxes? Yes sir. Less regulations? You better believe that. School choice and vouchers? Without a question. Strong second amendment rights? Yep.
They are the glue that keeps the Black community together. They are the ones who are respected within the rank and file in the Black community. Average Blacks don’t listen to the N.A.A.C.P., the National Urban League, or Al Sharpton.
These groups and individuals have sold out the Black community to white elitist liberals who are the most racist people on earth.
In the Black community, the businessman is usually the head of the deacon board and chairman of the trustee board in our churches. So, if you get the businessman on your side, he will bring you the pastor, who will bring you the congregation!
Far too often white consultants and political operatives think they know more about the Black community than people like me. So even when the party does the right thing, they do it the wrong way.
Our message is not the problem, but our messengers and verbiage are. Candance Owens, Diamond & Silk are nothing short of minstrel shows and have absolutely no connection to the Black community.
Blacks are not here to entertain white conservatives. The sooner Republicans learn this the sooner they can substantively engage with the Black community.
If Republicans don’t figure this out, they will be another “Kodak moment.”
Raynard Jackson is a Pulitzer Prize nominated columnist and President & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC, an internationally recognized political consulting, government affairs, and PR firm based in Washington, DC. Jackson is an internationally recognized radio talk show host and TV commentator. He has coined the phrase “straticist.” As a straticist, he has merged strategic planning with public relations. Call RJA to discuss how they can get you to the next level of your career or business.
Founder and Chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. We focus on the Black entrepreneurs.
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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.