In the ongoing Canadian election campaign, we’re seeing a lot of examples for ethnic outreach done right – especially with the micro-targeted campaign ads that the Conservative Party has recently released in minority languages like Mandarin and Cantonese and Punjabi ...
In this election, we now have Alice, Tim, Harry and Nina – all minorities who are Conservative Party politicians, speaking in their native language to members of their ethnic group
The ads are particularly well done. This one was done by Canadian Conservative Member of Parliament, Dr. Alice Wong, speaking to her constituents in Cantonese:
And here's an English-language version from Canadian Conservative MP Nina Grewal:
Why are these ads powerful? Because they celebrate diversity without exploiting it. I have made the case before than some who profess to be "progressives" often use ethnicity as a way to divide and drive voters. These ads and this outreach program clearly serve to celebrate Canadian ethnic diversity while also discussing shared values. In fact, the second ad above makes the point that "things haven't always been fair for" ethnic minorities, yet progress it being made and that it's time to "vote our values."
Both major parties in America have now had extensive experience in Hispanic-language ads. But when will Republicans celebrate our diversity of elected officials and candidates in a way that can serve as outreach tools to Americans of all backgrounds? Will we soon watch TV ads, hear radio spots and see pamphlets in Mandarin, Korean, Farsi, etc.?
Bottom line: the right kind of creativity and strategic thinking can communicate shared conservative values to different ethnic, religious and cultural communities.
Back in March, Barack Obama gave, what I admit, was an excellent (but imperfect) speech on race relations, declaring that "working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds." The media then annointed him as the "post-racial" candidate. (By the way, I still have no working definition of "post-racial".) Then came this a few days ago from the Democrat's nominee at a Florida fundraiser:
Obama on GOP: "And did I mention he's black?"
This is disturbing on two levels: first, not surprisingly, Obama is trying to saddle both sides of this issue. While trying to speak to the heartland about moving beyond race, he attempts to take sole ownership of "the race factor" to a different audience.
Furthermore, it shows how the Republican Party of the past decade has failed to tailor a message of "equal opportunity" tethered to long-term prosperity to attract voters aged 18-30. Obama's elitist/futuristic rhetoric has attracted educated youth yearning for someone, or something, to look up to. I believe that most people of my generation have moved beyond, or have been ready to move beyond, the issue of race. Any thoughts on how the next conservative movement can attract and galvanize this generation, and the next generation, of young voters?
BOTTOM LINE: Obama's straddling of "race" shows more than his hypocrisy; it shows that those who are right-of-center need a brainstorming session on using "equal opportunity" to broaden our base.