Republicans Blow Off
hey”re not featured on the National BY YOJI COLE TCouncil of La Raza (NCLR)’s home-
page, but their competitors are. They’re not featured
on the National Association of Latino Elected Officials’ web site, but their competitors are. They didn’t
attend the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) conference, but their
competitors did. And they chose to dodge a proposed
debate on LOGO, MTV’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender network. Their top four competitors,
Who are they? The major three Republican
presidential candidates, excluding Republican former
Sen. Fred Thompson, who just declared his candidacy.
The major three GOP candidates are former New York
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt
Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain.
The theme of this presidential campaign should be
“It’s customer service, stupid.” And it’s pretty obvious
that, increasingly, those customers are people of color
as well as LGBT people and their friends and families.
While Republican candidates have ignored orga-
nizations that advocate for people of color and LGBT
people, the four major Democratic presidential candi-
dates speak at conferences and participate in debates
sponsored by networks such as Spanish-language
channel Univision and LOGO to court those voters.
“I think [Republican candidates’] customer service
thus far is at best inadequate and at worst nonexistent
when it comes to the Hispanic community,” says Lisa
Navarrete, vice president, office of public information
for the National Council of La Raza.
Companies and advertisers, especially those ranked
on The 2007 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for
Diversity® list, know that the best method to attract
customers is to speak directly to them.
For example, this issue’s lead story highlights how
Verizon Communications, No. 6 on the Top 50 list,
realized an increase in revenue of between 10 percent
and 20 percent after providing customer service in
different languages. It’s simple—if a customer who
speaks Mandarin calls and a Verizon customer-service
representative can’t understand, then the Mandarin-speaking customer will go to the company that provides service in that language.
Of course, presidential candidates are always weighing the benefits of reaching out to one constituency
over the other, but a presidential candidate must speak
as directly as possible to the greatest amount of voters and be able to respond to their needs and desires.
Candidates learn about the needs and desires of different constituencies by involving themselves with