It’s Hard Out There for (Young) Black Members of the GOP
8 months ago
African American conservatives dispute myths that the Republican Party has no real draws for them
“I’m not a zero,” declared former presidential candidate Herman Cain, arguably the nation’s most famous and most charismatic black Republican.
Here, Cain, an opponent-turned-supporter of current party nominee Mitt Romney, isn’t responding to a direct insult. It’s clear, however, that he and other African American Republicans, young and old, are fed up with what they call media-perpetuated – er, “Democrat Machine” -perpetuated -- notions that the Grand Old Party has no real draw for blacks.
Despite its being the party that fought for the abolition of U.S. slavery, African Americans generally aren’t fans of the Republican Party. According to a survey by the American National Election Studies, nine out of 10 Republicans are white.
How then does that poll account for Cain, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Congressional candidate Mia Love or former Democratic Congressman Artur Davis? (The last three were part of a diverse lineup of primetime speakers at this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.)
Surely, they aren’t zeroes. And neither is 22-year-old Regent University graduate student Rushad Thomas who, judging from his response, seemed to have been asked far more than once to justify his support for Romney as young black man.
He’s a recent convert, he says.
“I voted for Obama [in 2008] because he was black and not because I agreed with him on policy issues,” Thomas said with a chuckle. “Everyone makes mistakes. I will be doing mea culpas for years.”
Thomas, a devout Catholic and a fiercely pro-small government and pro-life conservative, was already on the fence about his support for the Democratic Party at age 19. He believes polls purporting that people like him don’t exist are part of a concerted effort to divide America.
“I think a part of the [polling] helps perpetuate a false narrative that all black voters are Democratic,” Thomas said. “The media tends to buy into clichés.”