Maybe, maybe not, but James Golden wants to find out. Known as “Bo Snerdley” on the air to millions of Rush Limbaugh listeners, Golden has launched a new initiative of his own to woo African-American voters to the Republican Party and to conservatism. His New Journey PAC appears aimed at a messaging strategy to emphasize historic ties with the GOP — and two generations of failure resulting from their switch to Democrats:
He is well-known on the air waves as “Bo Snerdley,” the senior producer for Rush Limbaugh’s daily talk radio show, heard by an audience of 14 million. His real name is James Golden, however — and he is now on a mission to “make Black Americans Republican again.”
With fellow black conservative Autry Pruitt, Mr. Golden has founded New Journey PAC, a political action committee that promotes conservative values among black Americans — and everyone else for that matter. The organization includes MAGA.BLACK, a new online destination for one and all, they say.
“For 80 years, the Democratic Party has taken the black vote for granted. Under the leadership of President Trump, Black-Americans enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded. The Trump approach has produced an economy that works for all Americans, yet Democrats are promising more of the same — votes for crumbs. It is simply not enough to stand on the sidelines and hope for the best,” the two founders say in their mission statement.
“The concept was not to build a destination solely for black conservatives or to solely promote black conservatism, but to be a destination for all conservatives. Frankly, we founded this destination out of frustration. We are fed up with the racial narratives that the left uses to paint conservatives as bigots and racists, simply because we have a different view of public policy and politics,” the statement said.
Will this work? Never count out any effort coming out of Limbaugh’s empire, and Golden has been a key part of that effort for a long time. At the very least, this kind of messaging effort adds to that of others, such as Limbaugh himself and people like my friend and colleague Larry Elder and another friend Pudgy Miller in North Carolina, who have been honing this message for a very long time. There is strength in numbers, as Golden points out himself in the launch video, posted on Vimeo:
The challenge here is more than just a messaging issue, though. Four years ago when interviewing black conservatives in places like North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado for Going Red, they emphasized that the messaging comes through loud and clear — but it’s not convincing. The missing piece, especially in urban cores where most of the minds would need to be changed, is a common lived experience. Republicans don’t commune with black voters; they pay bungee visits around election time, showing up a couple of months in advance and packing up the day after the election. From the perspective of these communities, whites and Republicans packed up and fled the cities because of busing and are still sheltering in the suburbs to this day, a shift that remains a sore point to this day. (And that wasn’t just Republicans, either.)
The RNC attempted to deal with that problem (which also applies to Hispanic communities) by launching the Republican Leadership Initiative. That program continues to expand, now called the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative, but it might still be missing that shared-lived-experience piece. While Americans for Prosperity learned that lesson and opened permanent offices in urban-core neighborhoods to emphasize capitalism in its most granular sense, the GOP hasn’t made that commitment — and until they do, black voters will continue to feel slighted and abandoned by Republicans, even if they also feel slighted and taken for granted by Democrats too.
Golden has an opportunity with New Journey PAC to work both sides of this equation. He and his partners can amplify the messaging while putting more pressure on Republicans to effectively engage these communities of voters. At the very least, whatever Golden does can’t hurt, given the GOP’s utter failure to reach double-digit percentages with black voters in most elections. Even hitting, say, 12% in a presidential election would be yuuuge.