By Michael Carl, WorldNetDaily
WASHINGTON - It was called Operation Black Storm and it promoted a long list of black candidates for the 2010 midterms who were intended to undercut "progressive" claims that tea party activists are racist.
Two of the candidates were elected to Congress: Former Army Lt. Col. Allen West in Florida's 22nd District and Tim Scott in South Carolina's 1st District.
Now the campaign is reorganizing to prepare for 2012, with a special voter education program that is not intended to tell people how to vote, but to get them to examine their choices.
It's now been dubbed the Frederick Douglass Freedom Project, and Keith Smith of the the Conservative Messenger says the first step is just getting out the message.
"I tell the people, 'I'm not telling you how to vote, I'm telling you about your vote.' It's getting them to think. 'Why are you voting in a way that is totally opposite of what you believe as Christians?'" Smith said.
"When you stop to think about that, you have to come to grips with the fact that 'Hey, I'm not being obedient to the God I say I serve,'" he said.
Smith said he had to go through a time of personal reflection. That reflection time has influenced the presentations he's preparing for the congressional districts where Operation Black Storm ran candidates and in many other locations around the country.
"I was doing the same thing. I wasn't using my critical thinking skills when it came to politics," Smith said. "All we're trying to do as part of this education process is to get people to think about the way in which they're voting, and if they're voting in a way that is pleasing to the God they say they serve."
Smith believes that stimulating people's thought process will have positive results.
"Once we get people to think and share the element of truth with that, things will change and we could change the political landscape of this country pretty substantially," Smith claimed.
Smith already traveled around the country giving the presentation using Frederick Douglass' methodology. He says the traveling presentations are part of a major "education program."
"What we're going to have to do is start an education program and the program begins in January. We're going to get out into the various communities and educate them about their vote," Smith explained.
"Again, we're not going to tell them how to vote, but educate people about their vote. We're going to talk about the history of the party and talk about what conservatism means," he said.
Smith believes that the project only elected two of the 15 candidates because they used "the mantra without the message." The message is crucial to their future success.
"Once we teach people the message and the concepts, they'll know how it relates to them individually and that's where you'll get people thinking long and hard about how they've been voting in the past," Smith stated.
Former Operation Black Storm Executive Director Lynne Roberts says the new name is the perfect bridge to all Americans.
"We're going to be working with other groups that mainstream politicians have ignored, the Hispanics, black Americans and a big focus is on the youth. The youth of our country absolutely need to understand where we came from," Roberts explained.
"When Keith goes anywhere, he wears his Frederick Douglass Republican T-shirts and college students are really intrigued by them. It's something new and it's something they haven't been spoon fed," she said.
"When he was in Alabama helping one of our candidates, about 15 college kids came up to him. They asked him, 'What's with the shirt?' He said, 'Let me ask you four questions,'" Roberts recounted.
"He asked them the four questions about the Constitution, liberty, personal responsibility and limited government and he asked, 'Do you agree with this?'" she continued.
"He went on through the questions and the students realized at the end of the conversation that they were Frederick Douglass Republicans. They said, 'Wow,' because they agreed with the four principles," Roberts explained.
Roberts said the thrust of the project is to have trained workers in each state who can use the Frederick Douglass methodology.
"There are four questions and after these questions the people find out they've been duped all these years into thinking that if the person has a 'D' after their name then they must be looking after us and those people find out that those politicians have been 'keeping them on the plantation,'" she added.
Roberts says the Frederick Douglass Freedom Project is going to involve the candidates who were unsuccessful in their campaigns.
"We're going to be engaging them in helping us spread the word. These candidates are all stellar human beings. They weren't running for office for the prestige. All of them were reluctant candidates, and they didn't want to leave their homes and go to Washington. They had to. They felt it was something they had to do," Roberts said.
The common ground according to both Smith and Roberts is Frederick Douglass.
Smith says that many people know who Douglass was, but they don't know that he was a Republican. One of Douglass' quotes is featured on Smith's Conservative Messenger website.
Douglass said, "I am a Republican, a black, dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress."
Smith believes that in the long term, his movement has one solid advantage that will help loosen the nation's black population's attachment to the liberal establishment.
"We have the advantage of truth, because all the race-baiting that Al Sharpton and other black leaders are advocating is not based on truth. We have to get people to start using their critical thinking skills, to get people to think instead of having a reflex reaction when it comes to voting, and to help them break from the political brainwashing that is put upon black Americans," Smith asserted.
"I know this because I was in that, but I want to share my story with people across the country," he added.
Roberts said that she hopes her group can partner with the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group founded by Kenneth Morris, Jr., who says he is the great, great, great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great, great grandson of Booker T. Washington.