During a speech he delivered at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, former GOP Rep. and New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin outlined what he believes led to Republicans “not earn[ing] a red wave nationally.”
“When your high paid political consultant tells you not to go to a heavily Democratic area, that’s exactly where we need to show up and earn the support of these Democrats. We cannot relinquish the cities, we cannot relinquish the suburbs,” he asserted.
“We cannot relinquish anything to the Democrats and if we’re on offense confidently, that will be the path for us to earn a red wave. Because in 2022, we did not earn a red wave nationally. In ‘24, we must [earn a red wave] to save America,” added the former GOP representative, who notably ran a relatively successful gubernatorial campaign when one considers he lost to the Democrat incumbent of New York by only a few percentage points.
Republicans didn’t earn a red wave nationally in ‘22, and we need to understand why to best prepare for ‘24.
Red waves won’t show up simply by messaging what you are against ("Joe Biden bad", "Democratic Party bad") but instead by exceptionally communicating what you stand FOR. pic.twitter.com/EjwmX8IcFS
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) March 4, 2023
Zeldin emphasized the need for GOP candidates to bring minorities on board with the Republican Party by offering real proposals to improve their lives rather than pandering.
“These Democrats are unhappy with the Democratic policies and the Democratic Party as a whole, but they aren’t going to just swing to the Republicans on their own. It’s a bad assumption that we are making. Instead, what we need to do is to show up over and over and over again,” he said.
BizPac Review pointed out that a person likely to agree with Zeldin’s tips is Black conservative radio show host Sonnie Johnson, invoking words she shared during an appearance on Fox News around two years ago.
“I brought this message [the need for genuine outreach] seven years ago to Republicans, to conservatives. We can talk about this, we can go out there, we can win people, we can win hearts and minds. I was told to sit down, to shut up,” Johnson said at the time.
She added, “I was told that calling Black people slaves on a plantation was more beneficial than actually offering them policy that fixes the issues that plague them under these Democratic-controlled cities. I was told it was not an important conversation. I was told that our voice had no weight and constantly, over and over again, these messengers who choose to berate and belittle Black Americans were constantly put to the forefront,” she added.
Sonnie Johnson to GOP: Stop ‘talking down to black America’, focus on policies to help ‘fix the issues’ https://t.co/CLJ2254MC2 pic.twitter.com/ISY6CwfuGJ
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 18, 2021
Johnson mentioned the often-repeated trope of ‘Black liberals stuck on the Democrat plantation,’ claiming that while the analogy may be appropriate, it is ineffective.
“So I am very sick of hearing ‘where are the people that want to have these conversations about Black on Black crime,’ ‘where are the people that want to talk about the things that are going on?’ We are right here!” Johnson said.
“We have been bringing these conversations to the right for years. You never want to have these conversations with us until this moment arises. So please, they can save the sanctimonious stuff, and let’s actually get the policy that can fix the issues in these areas,” concluded the radio show host.
Zeldin has also said that while the GOP should remain opposed to the practice, it must harvest ballots in any state where Democrats have legalized such behavior if it hopes to survive.
“States shouldn’t be passing laws to allow ballot harvesting or no-excuse absentee balloting,” he told TIME back in December, adding, “wherever states decide to do it anyways, Republicans need to do it better than Democrats and make those Democrats deeply regret legalizing those methods in the first place.”
Wherever they propose ballot harvesting, totally oppose it.
Wherever they pass ballot harvesting, do it so much better than them that they deeply regret ever passing it in the first place.
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) December 1, 2022