Frederick Douglass provides Conservatives essential leverage to frame the narrative and re-brand their image.

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I’ve been a listener of the Rush Limbaugh Show since the late 1980’s. Like a lot of African-Americans, I grew up in a very staunch Christian-Democrat home. I‘m not a Conservative convert. I’ve always been one. I found that out when I started listening to Rush.

During the third hour of  Wednesday’s show (November 28, 2018), Rush spoke with Kathy from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Discussing the subject of conservative messaging, Rush commented, “The left has succeeded in destroying the brand of conservatism.” He went on to say, “I’ve been asked this question for 30 years. I do not have a go-to answer to this. Because the answer to the question is how do we persuade a bunch of people who do not even pay much attention to any of this how do we even reach them? That’s number one. And if we reach them, how do we persuade them?”

Rush also commented, “… when you’re out and about and if you run into an occasion where you have the opportunity to talk politics, people that don’t agree with you, do not use the word “conservative.” He concluded by saying, “Do everything else, but don’t call yourself that, don’t promote it, don’t reference it, just talk about we need to solve problems and tell people how you would do it.”

Rush agrees with me. For more than 10 years, I have been making the case that the Left has done a masterful job in demonizing the word “conservative”. It has a racist connotation. Using the word “conservative” slams the door on successful conservative messaging. To “persuade a bunch of people”, as Rush commented, we must unite people behind the values and vision of a free and prosperous America. We must let it be known up front that we are not the “conservatives” who embrace the doctrine of the racist-fathers. We must make abundantly clear that we are the “conservatives” who affirm the values of the Founding Fathers.

While Rush’s suggestion of calling ourselves “problem-solvers” is a good start. It doesn’t go far enough. We have come to discover, based on 10 years of experience, the phrase “Frederick Douglass Republican” is the most absolutely effective name for conservatives to use to define their political identity—allowing them to trump the race card and talk politics. The embodiment of conservative values, Frederick Douglass is the answer to the conservative messaging problem.

Several years ago, I was watching a college football game with 20 African-Americans friends, all of whom were Democrats. Of course, the subject of politics came up. When I mentioned I was a Conservative-Republican, I was ridiculed on the spot. I was told I was an Uncle Tom and a sell-out to my community.

I was never happy with the racist name-calling. So, I set out to design a conservative messaging strategy that enables freedom activists to trump the race card and experience enjoyable Thanksgiving dinners again. Coupled with my own experiences and feedback from thousands of Conservatives, 10 years ago, I created the Frederick Douglass Republican (FDR) Engagement Strategy.

Those same 20 black Democrat friends were at my home watching college football a year later. The subject of politics surfaced once again. When asked about my political identity, I responded, “I’m more than a Conservative-Republican, I’m a Frederick Douglass Republican. I believe in his life empowering values, for example: (1) Respect for the Constitution; (2) Economic prosperity; (3) Free speech; (4) Personal responsibility; (5) Limited power of government; (6) Legal immigration; (7) Religious liberty, among others.” My guests immediately started talking about how they were a Frederick Douglass Republican too. Now I knew I had the power to engage my family and friends about our shared values─win the narrative and persuade them.

After sharing the FDR Engagement Strategy with my black, white, Latino and Asian friends, they used it and it worked like gangbusters. It is the game-changer. The Left has no answer for Frederick Douglass and they never will.

We’ve just finished developing the quintessential conservative messaging tool, a mobile app called the FRIENDS OF FREEDOM. Featuring the FDR Engagement Strategy, the app equips freedom activists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to articulate the conservative message in ways that resonate with people—winning the narrative. The app is available for Android on the Google Play Store (Apple’s approval is pending).

Join our VIP List to be among the first to be notified when the FRIENDS OF FREEDOM mobile app is available on the App Store.


KCarl Smith
KCarl Smith

KCarl Smith is the foremost nationally recognized expert, author and speaker on conservative messaging and diversity outreach. His acclaimed book is entitled "Frederick Douglass Republicans: The Movement to Re-Ignite American’s Passion for Liberty", along with the App "Friends of Freedom". As the Founder, President and CEO of LibertyMESSENGER USA, KCarl has led the organization’s efforts since its inception in 2008 to: (1) Champion policies that promote the values of free market enterprise—enabling Americans to pursue their dreams; (2) Empower all people to frame their political narrative in ways that resonate with all Americans—especially minorities, young people and women, by voting their values as articulated by the life-empowering values of Frederick Douglass and (3) Ensure educational opportunity for all students–specifically those attending under-performing, poverty-plighted schools.

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