GOP says it's investing millions in Black community — as it works to suppress Black votes

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Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said the GOP will spend $2 million on Black 'community centers' to try to win more Black voters.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Tuesday announced that the group plans to spend $2 million to re-open Black community centers in swing states in 2022 — an attempt to try to win over Black voters in the midterm elections.

"We are serious about minority voter engagement because we know the Republican Party has an empowering message & policies that work for all Americans and the Black community," McDaniel said.

However, the announcement comes as Republicans are trying to suppress the Black vote across the country with restrictive voting laws that, in some cases, specifically targeting Black voter access to the polls.

For example, Georgia Republicans introduced a bill to nix Sunday early voting in the state. If passed, the bill would disproportionally impact Black voters who hold "Souls to the Polls" events, in which Black churches organize caravans to take parishioners to the polls after Sunday services wrap up.

A federal court threw out a similar attempt to nix Sunday early voting days in North Carolina back in 2016, ruling the law "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision."

The action in Georgia is seen as a direct response to President Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the state, as well as Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeating the state's two previous Republican senators.

Critics of Georgia's proposed law compared it to the Jim Crow laws that legalized segregation and denied Black Americans voting rights, among other discriminatory behavior.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, the Trump campaign announced plans to open "community centers" in empty retail spaces to appeal to Black voters. Politico reported at the time that the plan was for the centers to hand out pamphlets and to sell merchandise "including hats and sweatshirts embroidered with the word 'woke.'"

Despite the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Brown communities, the campaign said in July 2020 it was going to continue with the initiative of in-person community centers.

The community centers weren't the only tactics Republicans used to try to win Black voters in 2020.

In an affiliated effort, conservative pundit Herman Cain helped launch the "Black Voices for Trump" campaign in 2020. Cain died of COVID-19 complications and was later labeled "posthumous chairman" on the organization's website.

Also, a tax-exempt charity operated by Black Voices for Trump co-chair Darrell Scott tried to entice Black voters by handing out cash.

The group advertised a "$25,000 cash giveaway" and highlighted the attendance of Black Trump campaign staffers. After a raffle was held, envelopes filled with money in $300 to $600 bundles were given to winners.

Still, despite those efforts, Biden won a whopping 87% of the Black voter bloc, according to exit poll data.

Republicans have struggled to appeal to Black voters as the wider conservative movement has embraced policies and rhetoric that is hostile to Black communities.

Trump attacked Black athletes who protested police brutality and he regularly mocked Black Democratic politicians.

Yet even before Trump, notable figures in the Republican Party like President Ronald Reagan demonized Black welfare recipients.

As a result, since 1964, the party has never earned more than 15% of the Black vote in presidential elections despite the party's affiliation over 150 years ago with anti-racist causes.

Recent polling shows the GOP has a tall order to win more Republican voters in 2022.

A Quinnipiac poll published on Feb. 17 found 43% of nonwhite voters have a less favorable view of the Republican Party following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, when a mob of Trump supporters broke into the building to try to block Congress from certifying Biden's win. Five people died in the attack and more than a hundred were injured.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.