New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) had this to say the day after his big win:
See, I think the problem that politicians make is that they look at a specific ethnic community and they say, ‘Okay, let me see. What do I say to them to appeal particularly to them?’ And that’s not my approach. My approach is that I think that Latino parents want the same things that other parents want. That Latino folks who are looking for work want the same thing that African-American folks who are looking for work want, [that] Caucasian folks who are looking for work want. The way to do this in my view is that you have to spend time. You have to sit and listen. You have to, you know, show up. As I was saying in the speech last night, one of the biggest problems that I think my party has had is that they think if you show up six months before an election and ask somebody for a vote and act like you’re really interested that you fool people. You don’t. When you come just six months before an election people are going to be like, ‘Where have you been? And why should I trust you? This other guy over here he’s been here for years.’ Well, you want to make inroads into a community, you gotta get there. And work it. And look at what happened last night. Now, I didn’t have, you know, any kind of significant Latino support in 2009. We won the Latino vote last night. Now find another Republican in America who’s won the Latino vote recently. Why? It’s because of the relationships. You get in, you build relationships, you build trust and then people are willing to give you a chance.
Well, yes and no. He’s right about the showing up part. But if Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) showed up every single day at Howard University to deliver a lecture on the Second Amendment, drones and why we should privatize Social Security, he’d still lose overwhelmingly among these voters. This is true even of African American or Hispanic candidates. E.W. Jackson, an African American right-winger, got the fewest votes of any statewide Democrat or Republican. His message of extremism on social issues and his staunch anti-government, pull-up-from-the-bootstraps attitude got a resounding thumbs down from voters all over the state. In areas with high African American, population Jackson did horribly (e.g. he got less than 30 percent in Hampton City, 31 percent in Newport News City, 32 percent in Norfolk and less than 18 percent in Richmond).
In short, it is both showing up and a message that offers something (e.g. better schools, lower taxes, better roads) that will attract diverse voters. And if you dabble in incendiary rhetoric, suggesting you are antagonistic toward one group (e.g. Hispanics), other non-Republicans will recoil as well (e.g. Asian Americans). If you suggest government is the enemy, forget it. So yes, show up, but show up with an inclusive outlook and something to offer the voters.