Did GOP candidates really avoid moral and religious talk when courting black voters?

If you follow trends among African-American voters, you know that they tend to be more conservative on moral and social issues than other key players in the modern Democratic Party coalition. There have been some small shifts among younger African-Americans on issues such as abortion and gay rights, but the basic trends can still be seen.

So, African-American voters are more culturally conservative than most other Democrats, but they have remained very loyal when venturing into the voting booths -- especially in the Barack Obama era.

But one other factor should be mentioned. If Republicans are going to find any black voters that are willing to cross over and ACT on their more conservative values, it is highly likely that those voters will be found among those who frequent church pews. That isn't surprising, is it?

Thus, I would like GetReligion readers to dig into the following Washington Post story that focuses on attempts by GOP candidates -- including Dr. Ben Carson -- to recruit some additional black voters to their cause. The headline gives zero clue as to what this very long political story is about: "Clinton takes a swipe at Jeb Bush’s ‘Right to Rise.' "

What are readers looking for?

Well, personally, I find it interesting that the story contains, as best I can tell, zero references to religious, moral and cultural issues. Even in the material from Jeb Bush. Even in the references to the remarks of Carson, who is, of course, an African-American religious conservative who rarely gives a speech without talking about social issues. (You may also want to watch the video to see what Carson actually said. Hear any family, moral and religious references?)

Here is the key summary Post material:

Carson, Bush and the wider GOP see an opportunity to win black votes from a Democratic Party that will not be led by President Obama for much longer.
“What I have seen and what I have heard tells me that we’re at a moment in time when the black community is receptive,” said former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, the first black man to hold that job. “As we transition from the Obama administration and the Obama leadership, they are looking. They have not sold themselves on Hillary. They have not bought into the Bernie Sanders socialist view of the world. They are suspicious of Martin O’Malley.”
It would not take that many black votes to complicate the Democrats’ electoral map. Neil Newhouse, a veteran Republican pollster working for a super PAC supporting Bush, said in an e-mail that the “demographic challenges” facing whomever the GOP nominates are “real and significant” but fixable.
“The payoff can be significant,” Newhouse said. “It doesn’t take much of a swing in minority votes to make a difference. Winning even 10 to 14 percent of African American votes in states like Ohio, Florida or Virginia could put those states in the GOP column in ’16.”

Over and over, this story focuses on issues and controversies that are central to Democrats being able to score political points with black voters, while hurting GOP candidates. That's essential material, but it's only half the equation -- at most -- in a story that is supposed to be about the GOP's own efforts to court African-Americans.

Once again, what are the issues that the GOP want to talk about in this outreach? Are any of them moral, cultural or religious? If you are a Republican, and you want to talk to black Baptist and Pentecostal believers, aren't you going to talk about some cultural and moral stuff and maybe even use some God language?

Look through this story, please. Did I miss anything?

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