Black Republicans woo Haitian voters

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PAC puts ‘Arthur Fletcher Pledge’ in action

In this file photo, a worshiper stays to pray after the early morning mass at Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church in the Little Haiti section of Miami, the center of Haitian culture in Florida.

CARL JUSTE/MIAMI HERALD/TNS

BY THE FLORIDA COURIER STAFF

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – A Black political action committee (PAC) supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection is spending thousands of dollars to convince Florida’s Haitian voters to re-elect Trump, and is using a Florida-based, Black-owned advertising agency to do so.

Virginia-based Black Americans to Re-Elect the President, run by conservative Black Republican activist Vernon Robinson, will spend almost $70,000 on key radio stations located in South Florida and Central Florida to exclusively reach voters of Haitian descent. All of the commercials will be broadcast in Creole, the primary language of Haiti.

Every vote counts

The University of Florida’s Professor Daniel Smith, a political scientist, estimates that there are at least 106,000 Haitian-born naturalized U.S. citizens registered to vote in Florida. That estimate does not include citizens born in America who are of Haitian ancestry.

The Haitian radio campaign is just the latest media investment Black Americans PAC has made. By the time the presidential election is over, Black Americans PAC will have spent almost $600,000 in radio buys on urban stations just in the state of Florida.

Right now, Black Americans PAC has radio commercials supporting Trump’s re-election airing on urban-formatted radio stations in seven additional states, plus Florida.

Fruit of the ‘Pledge’

CHARLES W. CHERRY II

The commercials will be placed on Creole-language radio stations selected by 623 Management, an ad agency owned and operated by former Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II. 623 Management focuses exclusively on utilizing Black and Hispanic-owned and formatted media outlets and community influencers to reach Black and Hispanic consumers and voters throughout the state of Florida.

The alliance between Black Americans PAC and 623 Management comes as the “Arthur Fletcher Pledge” – an initiative urging all candidates, political parties, political action committees, and donors to commit to spending  ten percent  of their funding, revenues, or both with Black-owned and businesses and financial institutions – starts to pick up speed in the last weeks of the 2020 campaign.

The Arthur Fletcher Pledge was the brainchild of George Farrell, the chairman of another Black-operated political action committee called BlakPAC. Farrell and his wife Sandra Lopez co-founded BlakPAC with former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll.

The pledge is named after Arthur Fletcher, a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor in the Nixon administration.

Fletcher, a Black Republican and lifelong civil rights activist, referred to himself as “the father of affirmative action enforcement” for his work with the 1969 “Philadelphia Plan” that required federal government contractors in Philadelphia’s construction trades to set goals and timetables for hiring minority workers.

Speaking to Black voters

According to its website, blackamericansmaga.org, Black Americans to Re-Elect the President plans to “…attack the soft underbelly of the Democrat Party” with three initiatives, one of which is “..(running) an air game on urban contemporary radio asking many black voters for the first time to vote their policy views by voting Republican…and re-elect the President in 2020.”

Robinson believes that one of the reasons Black Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats is because many have never been asked to consider voting for Republicans.

“Nobody’s ever sold anything without asking for the order,” he said.

Why run commercials in Creole and not English?

“First-generation immigrants who do not speak English prefer to discuss higher level topics like liberty and politics in their native language,” Robinson answered.

Trump’s accomplishments

Robinson believes that Trump has been good for Black America.

“It’s important to talk about the achievements the Trump administration has made over the last four years, particularly as it affects people of color. The president has a great track record on the issue of life, protecting the innocent unborn, school choice and educational opportunity, backing the Florida school choice options, and putting the largest federal investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities in history,” he affirmed.

“He created an economic engine that brought 600,000 new Black folks into the job market who had been discouraged before. He brought criminal justice reform which everybody talked about for 25 years, and the president achieved it.”

Difficult for Black PACs

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Black Americans to Re-Elect the President has raised approximately $2.5 million to support Trump’s reelection as of June 30. That’s a relatively small amount, with other PACs raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

“It’s extremely difficult for Black-run political action committees to get large White donors,” Robinson affirmed. “There’s a reluctance of large donors to give to Black-owned organizations. We solve that problem by having 43,000 donors averaging $44.”

He contrasted his donor base with that of another PAC that also pays to air conservative political commercials on urban radio stations, but had a single donor give $5 million.

Dad was Tuskegee airman

Robinson is a 1977 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and served in 15th Air Force in which his Tuskegee Airman father served 35 years before. He is “an avid wargamer and student of military history,” a member of the American Legion, and is active in veterans’ affairs.

He served as vice chairman of public safety as a city councilman in Winston-Salem, N.C. for eight years. He says he got into politics to expand educational opportunity through charter schools and K-12 scholarships.

Currently, Robinson is the principal at Robinson Stratavision Consulting LLC, which “helps clients build, fund and promote large interactive organizations.” He cites his greatest professional achievement as directing the successful campaign to draft Dr. Ben Carson for president. (Carson eventually dropped out and endorsed Trump during the 2016 Republican primary campaign.)

To date, Robinson has raised some $30 million for conservative causes and candidates.

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