Republican presidential candidates showcasing their anti-poverty ideas Saturday agreed on at least one thing: Their party needs to improve how it talks and listens to poor people.
In a rare, conservative-led forum focused on how to combat poverty, Republicans, including several presidential contenders, admitted they often just don’t know how to convince low-income Americans that conservative ideas can help, not hurt, them.
It’s not that the party doesn’t have great ideas about helping poor people, they insisted. It’s that most Republicans don’t value the time and effort it takes to listen to people in different income brackets.
“We need to be going into African-American churches and barrios,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is fourth on the Washington Examiner‘s presidential power rankings, said at the South Carolina forum hosted by the Jack Kemp Foundation. “Our party has failed in going into those places because we’ve said we don’t get instant gratification back.”