A Brief Look at Why Most Black People Do Not Vote Republican

In a previous post, I wrote about the scene in Get on the Bus where Wendell gets thrown out for his ideologies. The revelation that Republicans were riding the bus caused a general feeling of astonishment between the bus riders. Evan Thomas Sr. encapsulated this by stating, “I don’t see how any Black man can be a Republican” (1:06:09). This movie was released in 1996, however there does not seem to be a significant change in how Black people view the Republican Party 20 years later. This begs the question, why don’t Black people support the Republican Party?

If I think personally on why I have not supported the Republican Party, it should hopefully frame the personal reasons for Black people’s general lack of support, or even disdain, of the Republican Party. Whether they are valid or not, the general understandings I gathered growing up was that the Republican Party does not like Black people, and the KKK supports the Republican Party. Of course there is more nuance to this, but this was how the Republican Party was characterized for me as a kid. In my unscientific opinion, I am guessing that other Black people have relatable understandings from their childhood.

Now, I do not actively believe that all Republicans are racist – and hope most are not – , but there has been nothing done to reverse the general understanding that the Republican Party is not made for Black people. A quick search led me to Why Aren’t There More Black Republicans by Musa Al-Gharbi. Republican’s emphasis on individual responsibility while not acknowledging overt and institutional racism,  the curtailing of Black-voter potential through zoning and ID laws, and policies against poor people represent some of Al-Gharbi’s main arguments. Any Republican attempting to court Black voters cannot be effective in the presence of these persistent, party-characteristics.

20 years after Get on the Bus, and Wendell’s anti-Black rhetoric still seems to fit within the Republican Party (Trump’s VP?). Even though I criticize the Republican Party, this piece is meant to show the realism in the bus riders’ astonishment, rather than be an assault on the Republican Party or any of its supporters. After all, the Democratic Party has a racist past (and present). Also, do not allow this piece to be further evidence of the monolithic Black voter. If anything, this shows that Black individuals do not mainly vote for Democrats because “that’s what Black people do”. Instead, each individual engages in a political weighing of options. For most Black people, this leads to a Democratic candidate because the Republican Party has not demonstrated a willingness to promote their interests.

Source Link: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-arent-there-more-black-republicans/

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4 thoughts on “A Brief Look at Why Most Black People Do Not Vote Republican”

  1. I’ve thought about this a bit too. I’ve been conflicted at times because I believe that in an ideal world, ideas like individual responsibility, “hard work”, and smaller government would be appealing to me in a party. However, I think that in America, to be a Republican is to some extent misunderstand or simply not care about the extensive systems that structure our society. I think that the fact of the matter is that on in a vacuum, individualism and less handouts are neutral stances (in terms of morals), but when you factor in a country that actively and passively marginalizes certain groups of people, they become negative because not everybody starts with the same amount of societal capital. I’ve noticed that when I’ve debated with Republicans, the topic moves away from republican ideals, and towards discussions on whether systemic racism exists in America and to what extent.

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  2. Gary: Hey Wendell, I got a joke for you: What do they call a black man with a Lexus dealership?

    Wendell: What?

    Gary: N*****.

    I think this is another instance in which Lee depicts fragmentations within marginalized group and a lack of clarity on the macro-level. This is a frustrating reminder that we tend to let our differences–whether it is our race, ethnicity, ideologies, or intersectional identities–create factions amongst communities that should be in solidarity of one another to lift up the race and other marginalized groups against the real oppressor–white mainstream culture.

    This bus scene reminds me of the factions within Do The Right Thing and School Daze, and when Wendell wields the word “welfare culture” against the black community, this reminds me of Malcolm Little’s perspective before he looked at the dictionary definitions of white and black. Radicialization of poverty occurred within the 1960s and grew stronger with more images of media depicting the poor as black as decades passed. This can be seen in the following article:

    https://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/9780472068319-ch4.pdf

    It’s always surprising to me when people talk about the welfare queen as black or that there are radicalized perspective when it comes to poverty since there is no face to poverty. If anything, the most common demographic of poverty is white single-mother households. It just hurts when people, such as Wendell, deny systemic oppression and believe in the American Dream, such that if they achieve it, they can use this artificially constructed story to place them in a higher mental tier than those they left behind and plan to exploit (ex: car sales in DC).

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    1. Apologies–the post above was meant to be a response to Kyle’s other post titled “Why Did Kyle Get to Stay on the Bus?”

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  3. This post was really interesting and thought provoking. It immediately forces me to recall a discussion we had in class in which we made the distinction between pre- and post-Reagan Conservatism and the republican party has lost the support of African-Americans. It seemed that prior to the 1980s there were many more conservative African-Americans who believed in a society in which one could work their way up the social classes with some elbow grease and a can-do attitude. Perhaps it was Reagan’s war on drugs or his trickle down economic policy plan, but it seems that since his time in office, belief in the Republican party has been lost amongst African-Americans. This is likely because of a fundamental shift in the party, not in the beliefs of the Blacks within America. Since the 1980s, in my opinion, there has been too much of a focus on tax-reductions and moral issues within the republican party as opposed to a party that looks to seek out issues within the nation and find rational and reasonable ways to fix them.

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