In the age of Donald Trump and “Make America Great Again” terms such as racist, bigot, and hater have been used constantly. There has seemingly been a resurgence of “civil rights” and a fight against a “racist establishment”. These claims while presently aimed towards a political party’s leader (Republican, Donald J. Trump) have been traditionally aimed towards the party itself.
The Republican party has been traditionally viewed as a racially insensitive and anti-Black party ran by old rich white men who couldn’t care less about those who are impoverished or considered minorities. This view has taken root within both the culture and political habits of Black Americans since the mid to late 1960s. The idea of a republican voter i.e. a social or economic conservatism is seemingly on the rise.
Conservatism, in many ways, is experiencing a reshaping, a renaissance, a fresh resonance and in many ways a much needed revitalization. The data is pointing in this direction.
In 2016 more than 88% of Black Americans voted for Hillary Clinton.
“Narrowing the wage gap, the First Step Act for prison reform, investing in black colleges,” she said. “Those of us proud of that progress are doing the work of educating the people who are ignorant to it,” says Kaaryn Walker, per the Guardian, president of Black Conservatives for Truth, a conservative politica advocacy group.
Pew data collected in 2017 found that although “African American voters remain overwhelmingly Democratic”, that identification “has declined modestly in recent years”.
According to Pew, Black Americans are 11% of the American electorate overall with about two-thirds of Black Americans identified as Democrats, down from the first half of Barack Obama’s presidency. Back then, about 75% of Black Americans were affiliated with the Democratic party. In addition, Pew found that just 8% of Black voters identify as Republican, the same percentage as voted for Trump in 2016.
Former NFL player Jack Brewer once raised campaign money for President Barack Obama, but now he’s among the increasing number of Black voters who support President Trump.
“There is an awakening going on right now in the country,” Brewer said of Black voters who traditionally support Democrats. “I’m going to take the guy who’s actually putting in the policies that are going to make life better for my young Black son and my young Black daughter, versus somebody who gives me lip service — like, unfortunately, the Democrats have done for our community for years.”
President Trump and his reelection team are courting Black voters by referencing what they deem to have been a strong economy prior to COVID-19 pandemic that reduced Black unemployment to 5.5%, the lowest it had been in history. The Trump campaign launched its “Black Voices for Trump” coalition in Atlanta in November of 2019 on this premise.
It appears unlike anytime before many Black Americans, even with Trump as president, who have voted overwhelming for Democrats are seemingly more willing to give the Grand Old Party (GOP) a try.
As Brewer mentioned, for him, it’s the policies (and not necessarily the personality) that is becoming attractive to untraditional republican voters like himself.