I love conservatism...
Always have, always will, even when it is no longer trendy.
Back in 2016, Americans witnessed what is now called the Modern Black Conservative Movement, an impromptu social media surge of Black people identifying as Republican or Conservative.
In the beginning of this new phase, nearly all of us received backlash from those who despised the base; yet, the more hate we received, the stronger we grew.
After Donald Trump won the election in 2016 - thanks in part to the increase of Black male voters voting Republican and many others staying home - it seemed more Black people wanted to identify as conservative.
Suddenly, we were hit with the Joy Villas and the Candace Owens and the Brandon Tatums ... all these random "Conservatives" who had voted Democrat their entire voting lives ... yet suddenly deciding to jump on the Republican/Trump train.
Before long, Black Conservatism became a popular theme within social media with the promise that a major Black Exodus would happen from the Democratic Party.
And then came the same cycle.
Republican organizations like Turning Point USA picked up these soulless figures and began framing their narratives based on the usual talking points that Conservatives love to hear; and it made me wonder: "Are we truly interested in reaching more Black voters with this conservative message, or are we here to make a name for ourselves?"
At that point, I took a step back and became increasingly vocal in my criticism of the movement. We traded our authenticity in exchange for ratings and cash flows. We became loyal to a base rather than loyal to the cause of empowering voters to vote their conservative conscience.
And in 2018, during the mid-term elections, we paid for it when we lost seats in the House of Representatives and when so many Red states nearly turned Blue ...
... and we will pay for it again in 2020.
With my audience on Facebook (and now on Twitter), I told the people: "We have to do things differently. We cannot continue pushing the same narrative that the base has been doing for decades regarding Black people. We need to switch things up."
Most did not take my strong encouragement seriously, but my teachings caught the attention of prominent minority Republican leaders (few of which I'm helping right now in Atlanta, GA and Washington D.C.).
Things are changing and have been shifting for years; but it seems the Republican Party is stuck on the old methods of winning by pandering to all-white audiences (and evangelicals) all the while belittling the majority of Black people.
And then they hire Black people to push the same talking points, even when such rhetoric denies their own convictions and truth.
I argue not only will this hurt the base in 2020, but it will completely cripple the entire Party over the next two decades if things don't change NOW.
And in this empowering post, I explain why this is so.
I want to teach you, Beloved Conservative, that there is a better way of doing things. There is a method that can be used by every Conservative American so we see our values remain the dominant ideology in our country. And if you're willing to hear and to act, you will help bring change to our nation, which we so desperately need.
We Pull Our Narratives from Mainstream Media as If We Don't Know How to Read Scholarly Books
Perhaps it's because I'm an educator and researcher...
Perhaps it's because I hold a Bachelor's degree with double majors, one being African American history, and a Master's in Education...
Maybe it's because I don't like the idea of media controlling the masses...
But for some reason, I despise the fact so many of our Black Conservative influencers and leaders pull their talking points from Right-leaning mainstream outlets.
Black intellectuals from the past (and present) have delivered to us a plethora of empowering resources to help us grasp the history and struggle of Black Americans. We need only search our local libraries to find relevant documents that give stories of
And yet, rather than pulling from the vast research, most Black Conservatives rely on mainstream media to make their conservative arguments, which for the most part, are based on decades-old propaganda that have never worked in persuading Black people to vote Republican.
Here are the base's favorite talking points:
The list goes on and on, but I will cut it short because I can feel my brain cells slowly shrinking every time I reiterate the rhetoric.
When such talking points are routinely pushed onto the public - primarily to a Conservative White audience - it ostracizes the very people we claim we want to reach.
What becomes even more frustrating is the Conservative base seems to only appreciate the Black leaders who are extremely ignorant. They prop up these so-called Black Conservative intellectuals, who say stupid remarks like "Hitler had dreams" or "The NRA was a Civil Rights organization" that protected Black people from the KKK.
THESE ARE THE BLACK LEADERS THE BASE WANTS TO PROP UP AS MODERN INTELLECTUALS! (Do you see why this is problematic to the movement?)
When certain Conservatives encounter media personalities like Sonnie Johnson (that's my Conservative sister!) or Hotep Jesus or Tree of Logic (you know, the ones who actually read books, conduct research, and/or talk to black people), the base is confused by the knowledge being dropped. And for some folks who can't tell the difference between their bottom or upper lip (or as Tree calls "the low IQ folks"), their first reaction is to call such voices "too liberal."
In other words, the base wants to silence such voices, even though we are the ones reaching our communities. (This last statement, of course, does not apply to Tree of Logic. If you follow Tree, you know what I mean LOL.)
The Conservative base LITERALLY cannot handle Black intellectuals who are well-educated and well-informed.
Truth is, those of us who have devoted decades to our study, observations, and research are far more equipped at reaching people that the base seems incapable of reaching. We can do so because we are acquainted with such lived experiences, and we observe from history that our leaders before us (the intellectual and the wealthy, too) were heavily invested in Black empowerment AND social justice. More than that, they were at the forefront of American politics, using their intellect and reason to champion the cause for Black people.
It stands to reason that if the Conservative base wants to do a better job of reaching Black Americans, it would do well to listen to the people who are intimately acquainted with the Black experience, especially the ones who do more with their time than reiterating Right-leaning talking points.
I know this is deep, Beloved Conservative, but it's the truth nonetheless.
The People are Talking, but are Conservative Leaders Listening?
Listening is a skill set few people master. I know this because it's taken me a couple years to get my online audience to listen instead of making rash judgments regarding this issue of reaching Black voters.
Recently, I took the plunge and hopped on Twitter. Although I've garnered a substantive following on Facebook, I wanted to expand my reach on other platforms. (You can follow me here: @TheFifteen20.)
Twitter is certainly interesting, because it gives me the research I need to inform the content I create on my website. And earlier last week, while scrolling through newsfeeds related to the Black Conservative Movement, I came across this tweet from Kia Richards.
Unlike the majority of Conservatives, I actually like listening and reading what people have to say about us. I certainly don't entertain the critics who use racial slurs; but I am curious to know how our message is being received from the other side.
Kia's comments regarding the recent "BlackNotDemocrat" trend should give pause to those of us who are genuine about spreading the conservative message.
She asked, "Where is the depth in your movement?" And rightly so.
Where is the depth of our movement? Can we identify the cause and determine the outcomes clearly and succinctly? Are we here to simply get Black people to stop voting Democrat just to become loyal to Republicans? Are we using our platforms simply to complain about Black people without offering any viable solutions in a welcoming manner? Where is our depth?
It's hard to tell because within the base, the only Black Conservatives who garner mainstream attention (and wealth) are the ones who preach the typical talking points the base wants to hear.
With The Fifteen 20 Rise Movement, however, we don't pander with such points. We are focused on empowering Black voters, who are primarily conservative in their beliefs; and we want them to learn how to make politicians earn their votes.
Within The Fifteen 20 Rise Ministry, we use education as our weapon of choice; and we incorporate story-telling (something I will teach later) to persuade voters to be chess players (and not pawns) in the political arena.
We do this by focusing on policies, not personalities (primarily). We focus on Kingdom principles, not man-made traditions. This sets us a part from the general Black Conservative Movement, and functions in what I've now identified as a new wave of the Black Conservative Consciousness.
Getting back to Kia's tweet, when the new breed of Black Conservatives are asked to pinpoint the Republican policies of today that are working for Black people, they spew more talking points:
Yet these points are inaccurate, or at best, deceptive. Here's how:
Again, the talking points do not hit home with Black intellectuals (who are the leaders in our communities). While the above efforts might seem good enough for the base's talking-point prophets, they don't hit home with voters. For this reason, we continue to hit a brick wall.
The "Popularity" of Black Conservatism is Stuck within the Confines of What White Conservatives Want to Hear
I get it.
Now it's popular to be a Conservative, and by popular, I mean popular by default. There aren't but a few of us in the spotlight who actually claim to be a Black Conservative or Black Republican.
In fact, one of the quickest ways to garner attention on social media is to be the anomaly: the opposite of what everyone expects you to be. This is how the soulless Black Conservative grifters earned their national platforms.
And I know it's a challenge to win more Black people over to the conservative platform.
But, good Lord, it's been 50 years and Conservatives still can't garner more Black voters???
After 50 years???
I've said it before, and I will say it again: It's not in a business's best interest to blame the customer for not purchasing its product or service. It's the business's responsibility to create a product and to garner buy-in from the consumer -- using the consumer's feedback -- in order to thrive.
In like manner, Conservatives must "sell" the message to Black voters in order to queue buy-in. If the "voting consumer" isn't willing to purchase, and the consumer is telling you why, then go back to the drawing board and fix the messaging techniques while still remaining true to the principles.
Conservatives don't have to like what voters want to address, but ignoring their issues and assuming they must buy-in to voting Republican (lest they be called slaves)...that's not going to cut it anymore, especially during the next election cycle.
The Conservative Base Cannot Afford to Ignore the Power of Black Voters Any Longer
Talking-point prophets are for the birds.
If I'm tired of hearing the same, robotic rhetoric, then surely people on the outside have had enough.
Let's try something new and innovative, because clearly, we Conservatives have failed to court the Black vote for the last several decades.
Now, this is, of course, if the base is truly concerned with Black voters; because from the looks of things, Republicans and Conservatives say they want more Black voters but then do next to nothing to win their votes.
I'm going to assume that if you're reading this article, it's because you genuinely believe there needs to be a shift in our messaging. To speak more frankly, the Conservative base can no longer afford to ignore the power of Black voters. Here's why:
For 50+ years, Black Americans have proven that we can embrace economic conservatism (capitalism) and religious conservatism (Christianity, for example) while still feeling a need to be our "brother's keeper." In other words, social justice will always be among the culture of Black people, especially within the intellectual segment.
And when a political party refuses to acknowledge this essence within Black culture, it cuts off its own legs. As this population increases in wealth, numbers, power, and influence, that means political candidates must pay attention right now if they aim to gain (or maintain) political might.
This is why the Radical Republicans were so popular with Black Americans up until the Civil Rights Era. They were radical in their views, and they pushed the envelop for full equality and justice.
But if the Conservative base -- which I love dearly -- refuses to heed these warnings, it will continue to lose in the fight for conservative values and political dominance.
Congressional Candidates have a Prime Opportunity to Capitalize on the Growing Narratives by Using Their Stories
Here is where I come to the main message of this post.
There is a more effective way for Conservatives, especially those running for office, to reach voters, even Black voters.
It all begins with story-telling.
If you're a Conservative and have seen the values working in your favor, tell us your truth. Tell us your story. Tell us how these values have impacted your life.
Moderate and Liberal voters aren't interested in talking points. People will be interested in you and what you have to offer.
For example, if abortion isn't something you've ever contemplated or experienced, why are you making that a major talking point for your political career or campaign? Or why are you trying to use this talking point to persuade others on your platform or in your sphere of influence?
If you've never dealt with police brutality, then why criticize the issue to people you claim you want to reach?
Even if such talking points may be true, ask yourself, "Are they true for me and my experience? Is there something about my story that I can share with people, which will help me meet them where they are?
Listen, Beloved Conservative, it's time to get real with voters. It's time to be authentic and vulnerable. It's time to tell us your truth.
Were you raised by a single mother? How did your upbringing create the person you are today? How did the conservative values (the moral, economic, and social ones) impact your life? How did you use such principles to overcome your challenges?
That's the message that should come forth.
See how I flipped the script there? Instead of focusing on Right-wing talking points, focus on your story and how your life is similar to the people you want to lead. This is the power we have as Conservatives, yet so few are willing to listen to these creative ideas because they assume the old-guard knows what it's doing.
But it doesn't know anymore. Why? Because it's old and it's guarded.
It's time for something new and innovative; and in this moment, we have a prime opportunity to shift our strategies so we empower more people to vote their conservative conscience.
Felecia Killings: The Conservative's Ghostwriter and Strategist
One of the things I teach my clients (because I'm also a book publishing coach) is they need to deliver the story that will make the greatest impact; and this truth is what I want to share with Conservatives who desire to increase their influence and impact.
It's going to take more than the usual talking points to win voters' hearts. This is something I've learned since launching my virtual ministry and online business. I learned to take my story and all its hardships, and use it to empower people, not based on my own opinions, but the principles I hold true.
And do you know what kept me pushing forward despite those challenges?
My values never left me. They KEPT me when life hit me hard. And if someone were to ask, "Felecia, why are you a Conservative," this is the story I would use.
I'm not going to push the talking points. I'm not going to tell them they are slaves for voting Democrat. I'm going to tell them: "When I hit the lowest point in my life, the conservative, biblical principles preserved my soul. I had a passion to move forward, despite the challenges; and I learned to use my obstacles as stepping stones towards greatness."
This is the direction I want to encourage you to pursue, Beloved Conservative. You can win more people over to these values when you express your personal story; and you can spread this influence when you package it in book format. If you'd like to work on a project like this, I can walk you through it.
You can learn more about my services here or you can fill out the form below to connect immediately.
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