Republican’s in the New York State Senate were poised to declare victory on election night. As the numbers rolled in it looked as if they would be picking up seats, perhaps knocking off a few Long Island senators to get them to 28 or 29 seats. But as the paper ballots are being counted at least two seats have gone to the Democrats this week, who are claiming they will win a Supermajority once all the votes are counted. Rhetoric aside, let’s see how everything shakes out before everyone starts “air” high-fiving each other.
Regardless of the outcome, the Republican’s can claim one victory. They have done better among Latino voters and they have President Donald Trump to thank for that. Trump claimed 30% of the Latino vote in New York State, of which a oversized showing came from an unlikely area – the South Bronx. Trump also did better among Black men, nationally than he had in 2016.
Why did Trump do so well? It’s because Hispanic’s are historically more conservative and religious, and Trump focused on issues of importance, such as criminal justice reform, immigration, bolstering the economy, appointing conservative judges, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem just to name a few. I have visited the Bronx and spoken with Black and Hispanic pastors and believe me there are many people who are more conservative then one would think.
When former GOP Chairman Ed Cox took the helm a decade ago, I told some on his staff the key to victory is cultivating a more diverse party. The focus should have been more grassroots outreach to the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens (areas where Trump doubled his vote count from 2016). Unfortunately, very little was done to build a larger and more diverse GOP tent.
The party of anti-slavery has been losing the public relation’s battle for years and has allowed itself to be branded as anti-everything. This election has presented an opportunity to the state’s GOP. Though, the strategy must come from the top.
The new GOP leadership under Chairman Nick Langworthy has appointed a more diverse group to run the party. However, they should build on what Trump gave them and spend time and money in minority areas of the metro and suburban communities. Begin recruiting more women and minorities to run for public office. Also, work to attract younger candidates who can bring in fresh ideas to the policy debate. Show the people that the GOP is more inclusive than they have been portrayed.
2022 will come up quickly and there is no time to waste.
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