Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Republican Happy Kwanzaa Facebook Message - The GOP Has a Long Way to Go

Another disastrous GOP Tweet implodes
One could almost feel sorry for the GOP's klutzy social media outreach efforts blowing up in their face but then I think about those voter suppression efforts in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere during the 2012 presidential election.

It's honestly almost too to painful to watch.

A political party that's repeatedly worked hand in hand with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) across the nation to draft arcane sorts of laws to suppress and limit voter participation by African-Americans, immigrants, students, the elderly and poor people now trying to use social media to bridge the enormous gap between the GOP and Americans the party alienates is just plain sad.

When I read the December 27th story on the Forward Progressives Website about the Republican National Committee posting a happy Kwanzaa message on their Facebook page, I was waiting for a punchline - but there was nothing funny about the flood of remarkably racists comments by REPUBLICANS reacting to the presence of the Kwanzaa message on their own Facebook page; just click the link above and read a couple responses for yourself.

The same GOP that's willingly allowed its message and substantive focus to be hijacked by a right-wing extremist element that's openly hostile to minorities, women, immigrants, homosexuals, progressives, reasonable gun control laws, the environment, most science and well, pretty much everyone who doesn't subscribe to their fringe beliefs now wants to employ cutting edge Internet platforms to try and disguise itself?
It's almost as if Republicans don't actually understand how the Internet functions.

What's even more laughable (or pathetic, depending on how you look at it) is that just a few weeks ago back in December the Republican Twitter page was making headlines for a poorly thought out Twitter message about Rosa Parks that suggested racism in America was over.

The unfortunate part of this media equation is that the RNC was recently lauding their hiring of a new black female "Director of African-American Communications" named Amani Council; who spent quite a bit of time on The Hill as a Congressional staff aide to two former Republican House members, and also coordinated lobbying efforts for the Family Research Council, which is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their attacks on gays and lesbians and their stance on same-sex marriage.

Did anyone check to see if Amani had any actual experience with social media before hiring her? Because the two most high profile roll-outs of the GOP's online minority outreach efforts this year (the Rosa Parks Tweet and the happy Kwanzaa Facebook post) have been total media disasters that ended up showing just how completely disconnected the party is from mainstream Americans in the cultural sense.

Now to be fair all that can't be laid at poor Amani's feet, the GOP had Lee "Willie Horton" Atwater and current Fox News president Roger Ailes as media strategists long before she was hired and Lord knows Rome wasn't built in a day.

According to a press release by RNC chair Reince Priebus, Amanai was supposed to be working closely with Raffi Williams, hired as the RNC deputy press secretary to "build relationships with African-American media as we (Republicans) work to earn the trust of more African-American voters."

Obviously the jury is still out on just how much trust these recent efforts are earning.

Based on a recent on-camera Q&A on MSNBC on Obamacare, Raffi, the son of PBS journalist/ anchor Juan Williams, is still a bit of a work in progress too.

Amani and Williams the Younger are not to blame here though. The Herculean effort to repair the GOP's reputation with black Americans would require an A-level PR firm; not just a couple of young people with family connections to the party and dark complexions. 

Even perpetually dorky failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney was candid (post-election of course) about the fact the Republican party is never going to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if it can't figure out how to bridge the enormous gap between the GOP and people of color in this nation.

If this latest GOP Facebook implosion is any indication of how Republicans intend to use social media in 2016, Hillary Clinton is sleeping like a baby tonight.

As I wrap up my final blog of 2013 I wanted to give my sincere thanks for everyone who stops in to check the blog out, both here in the US and from the many different countries around the world who've shown up in my blog stats!

Have a wonderful New Year's Eve, if you're going to drink please don't drive; I expect to see you back here in 2014.  -CG

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