Black Republican Men – It’s Becoming a Thing
When Republican Tim Scott was elected to the Senate, I was annoyed and intrigued. Scott said that the Republican Party was aligned with his faith. I could guess what that would mean. Homophobia, anti-feminism, anti-abortion. I was right, straight down the line. However, Scott is not anti-black. He’s very honest about the reality of racism in America and what he has encountered. He was one of the Congressional Republicans who called DeSantis out on his stupid racist comments about slavery as an “apprenticeship”. So, I wouldn’t call him a Tom. He’s just… a black Republican man. And apparently a Trump supporter.
When I was campaigning for Obama in 2008, I was doing a voter registration drive and a man came up to register, saying that he would vote for Obama because Obama is black, but that he was Pro-Life and disagreed with Democrats on most social issues. I was happy to have his vote back then, but today, I know Biden won’t get it.
I also have a friend who is a Trump-loving Republican. I know him well. He is an ex-Army, self-employed, successful black businessman who loves his children. He is also a very successful womanizer. I would not be surprised if he didn’t have women in every corner of the city, some married, some not. When I found out that he was a Trump supporter, my guess was that my friend approved of Trump’s machismo, his womanizing ways, his 3 wives, multiple mistresses and crotch grabbing instinct. However, my friend has gone further. He is anti-Hillary and believes in the “lock her up”, meme. He makes jokes about Democrats. He is 100% a black Republican man.
Here we are coming up to the 2024 elections and I find myself wondering whether black men can deliver the presidential election to the Republicans. So, I did some reading, and found some interesting things.
There is a small definitive group of men who are black Republicans. Many of them voted for Obama, but that was a blip. There is interesting data about these men. While Tim Scott is a Republican because of his religious values, many Republican black men are Republican simply because they are men, and they see the Republicans as the “Man’s Party”. They are individualists and see the Republicans as the “Individualist’s Party”. They are often self-made men with their own businesses, and they see the Republican Party as the party of the “Self-Made Man”. And their identities as men and individualists, run deeper than their identities as African-Americans, even though they have encountered just as much discrimination as their Democratic counterparts. One other thing about black Republican men – they don’t believe that “liberal bones thrown by Democrats” are as necessary or valuable as solutions that come from within. And they are quite skeptical about those “bones”. Malcolm X questioned liberal largesse. Lincoln did not think black people were “equal” and Andrew Johnson gave us citizenship and the vote to piss off and unbalance Southern whites, not because there was any expectation that we would do something with it. I’m sure Johnson was quite shocked when we sent black Congressmen to Washington in the 1800’s. I’ve heard people say that they trust conservatives more than liberals, because you know where a conservative stands.
I still remember reading a Bernie Sanders supporter say that if you solved the class problem, you would solve the race problem. It was a horrifically ignorant thing to say. Giving us economic power is not going to ensure that we are not arrested or shot. In fact, it typically heightens white resentment and rage. If one group of people does not believe in the equality of a second group of people, but the second group of people becomes economically equal, there will be a war. And we have seen that with the Trump Era.
The Republican Party has somehow decided that there is value in being diverse, in the same way that the Democrats are diverse, and that they can do it by finding issues that cut across ethnicities in such a way that the racism that is so deeply entrenched within the Republican Party can be excused. So, the Republicans championed a bill that would reduce the consequences for non-violent crimes, abbreviating sentences and reducing jail populations. This was supposed to be a big win for our community. However, it does not expunge records, or help ex-offenders find jobs. The Republicans championed a bill to create “Opportunity Zones” such that when corporations invested in those areas, they would get tax breaks. Sounds good. Unfortunately, in too many cases, the investments were made in communities that were already on the upswing. A few anecdotes exist where the Zones made a difference, but not enough. The problems cut too deep for the Republican band-aid. And then, there is the “Conservative Mantle”. The Republican Party continues to tout “faith-based values” that appeal to conservative minorities. “Homosexuality is wrong”, “Abortion is wrong”, “Women belong at home”. Only 46% of African-Americans are Pro-Choice. Nearly 40% of African-Americans did not support same-sex marriage based on a poll taken in 2022. African-Americans tend to have faith-based values, and Republicans play that to the hilt.
As a result of these efforts and this outreach from the Republican Party, there was a message that the Party was opening their doors to African-Americans, and 80 black Republicans ran for Congress in 2022. Four won. Enough to help swing the House to a Republican majority.
As I look forward, I believe that we will see more black Republicans. Not women, but men. Four black Republican congressmen is a significant number. Small, but significant. It is a sign that it is okay to be a religious conservative, it is okay to be individualistic, it is okay to be disappointed in the Democratic Party. There is an alternative. And if you’ve been holding your nose to vote Democrat, you can hold your nose and vote Republican. Not that I ever would… I’m just sayin’.