Why I Am A Black Republican – & You Should Be, Too

On Elelection Day 2020, your correspondent reveals why he came out of the political closet

“A neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. A neoliberal is a liberal who got mugged by reality but has not pressed charges.”
-Irving Kristol

For the sociopolitically uninitiated in present day Black America, the events of this year’s political season – particularly bearing on the now undeniable rift between Black men and women – may seem jarring. After all, for more than half a century, both were united in a common political cause – the downfall of Jim Crow and the last vestiges of America’s cardinal sin of slavery and the inhumane and irrational racism that fueled it. While Republicans were traditionally anti-slavery and by extension anti-racism and largely supported by Black Americans en masse in the early part of the 20th century as “the Party of Lincoln”, by the mid-1960s they were politically out-manuevered by wily Democrat politicians like longtime Congressman, Vice-President under John Fitzegerald Kennedy and then president in his own right, Lyndon Banes Johnson, who signed the Republican-backed landmark Civil Rights bills into law and set the stage to, in his own words, “have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years”.

But in the short weeks after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Black men and Black women’s political destinies began to diverge. They weren’t as sharply defined as they are today, but the early signs were there, alright: Black Feminism would be born at this time, with its coming out party being the Combahee River Collective meeting in New England in the early 1970s, along with the fight to get the Equal Rights Amendment enshrined in the Constitution. Elaine Brown, who was installed as the Black Panther Party’s first Black female leader, was soon singing another tune and one that would be parroted by other Black women in “the movement” – that they were relegated to little more than second class citizens while Black men occupied all the positions of power, authority and privilege.

After what appeared to be a relative lull in the action, Black feminists got a second wind with the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. His Senate confirmation hearings, which Thomas himself characterized as a “high tech lynching”, centered on allegations made against him by then aide Anita Hill, that Thomas sexually harassed her – an early foreshadowing of the #MeToo movement of our time. Thomas, a Black Republican, was and continues to be seen by Black women writ large as against their political and legal interests and a major target of Black feminists to this very day.

Earlier this spring, in an excellent piece called “The gender gap in black views on Trump, explained” on the Vox website (Mar 9, 2020), Jane Coatson lays out just how Black men and women have come apart:

“Exit polling from the 2016 election shows that while 13 percent of black men voted for Donald Trump, just 4 percent of black women did (in Pennsylvania, that number dropped to 1 percent). For comparison’s sake, a majority of white men and white women voted for Trump, as did 32 percent of Latino men and 25 percent of Latino women. And this “black gender gap” isn’t new. Exit polls for 2008 and 2012 show that more black women voted for Barack Obama than did black men. In fact, the last time more than 10 percent of black women voted for a Republican presidential candidate was 1996, when 14 percent of black women voted for Bob Dole (to compare, 22 percent of black men did the same).”

Coatson continues to highlight the reasons how and why Black men and women have markedly differing political interests:

“Trump is a genuinely ‘aspirational’ figure for some African American men — in fact, quite a few, higher than has been reported, I think,” he said. “I did quite a few informal interviews before the 2016 election and [was] surprised to see how far this went — but perhaps less surprising against a female Democratic candidate.”

“Trump’s business success, his ‘gangsta’ personal style, and his close association with black male celebrities as well as some of his policies (America First, staying out of foreign wars and investing at home) [have] created a real affinity.”

Moreover – and this is “yuuuge”, as President Trump would say – more Black men don’t see themselves as part and parcel of what I call the “Pookie & Ray-Ray Vote”:

“Rashawn Ray, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Maryland who has written extensively on how black men vote, told me, “Black men, particularly the 16 percent of college-educated black men who voted for Trump in 2016, are driven by their views about the economy, business growth, and religion. Some black men think that more progressive Democratic candidates are too liberal and they might simply not trust other candidates.” He added that those men weren’t impacted by the “same concerns” as a majority of black women.

In a piece for the Atlantic in 2016, Johnson and Leah Rigueur, an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, wrote that black Trump supporters are like to be “likely to be a working-class or lower-middle-class black man, over the age of 35, and interested in alternative approaches to addressing what ails black America,” adding, “these voters tend to be more receptive to core messages of self-determination, financial success as a function of hard work, and personal responsibility, especially when conveyed in a plainspoken, hypermasculine manner.”

Bingo.

And that’s where the rubber hits the road for me.

For longtime listeners of my podcasts over on YouTube over the past five years, none of this comes as any great shock; it’s long been my contention that the single biggest problem in our time today in Black America is NOT “racism” in its various guises; but rather, the sobering realization that Black man and woman simply do not get along – and that is as a direct result of the very freedoms that were finally granted and guaranteed by American law back in the 1960s. The deepest of ironies, is that those very freedoms have made it so that Black men and women no longer NEED each other in the ways we did under the yoke of Jim Crow in the past; and those differences between Black men and women will now begin to be played out on the national political stage, that can and will determine the fate of the country itself.

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WHAT BLACK WOMEN WANT
Continuing our examination of Ms. Coatson’s excellent Vox piece, we find exactly what Black women want in political terms:

“And black women, despite “less traditional” views on gender roles compared to black men and white women and men, are not uniformly liberal. Meaning that logically, the appeal of the “conservative ethos” would apply to black women as well as black men, leading them to vote for conservative candidates or, alternatively, not vote at all.

But it doesn’t. Not only do black women vote overwhelmingly for Democratic presidential candidates, they are also one of the most consistent voting groups in the nation, voting at higher rates than any other group in 2012 and casting their ballots in numbers 6 points above the national average in 2018.”

More:

“Nadia E. Brown said during our conversation that in general, black Americans are “socially conservative but fiscally liberal,” and for black women, fiscal policies that impact health care or raising children are ones they deal with on a daily basis. Even if socially conservative ideologies are “what people hold in their hearts and practice in their homes,” she argued that many black women see themselves as having a “linked fate,” a common outcome with other black women, and might be unwilling to vote for policies that could harm others in their communities.”

What all of this means is that Black women in the current era, see their political interests as distinct from Black men’s (unless of course, Black men subordinate their interests to that of Black women’s); this explains how and why legendary rapper, actor and activist Ice Cube’s chilly reception from Black women to his “Contract with Black America”, for not carving out a special place for Black women in it. What Ice Cube and many Black men, even now on this very Election Day, don’t understand is that Black women do NOT see themselves as part of Black America; they see themselves as special, particular and distinct – “independent” from Black men (“The Queens Ask Ice Cube About Black Women in The Contract Cocktails with Queens”, YouTube, Oct 20, 2020; “Ice Cube Responds To Critics, Addresses Work On Trump’s Platinum Plan, Looks To Set Record Straight”, YouTube, Oct 15, 2020).

Black women don’t like Republicans because they see them as traditional – read, patriarchal – and Black women have their own ideas as to how they’d like to order family life, community organization, and the solving of age-old human problems, such as caring for the young and aged. In a word, it means that Black women prefer to run things themselves, either as baby mamas or, if they have a man or even husband around (which is increasingly rare these days), they remain “the boss bitch” in charge. Simply put, Black women, who in the last presidential election supported the Democrat Party to the tune of 95% at least(!), want the federal, state and local city and town governments, to support them in their effort to turn time-honored familial, social and communal norms on its head, while shunting Black men aside as fathers, husbands or even mates, and all on the taxpayer’s dime, to boot.

Black men who are Republicans, therefore, are seen as dire enemies to Black women’s political interests – and rightly so. Because Black men who are Republicans fully expect to be the undisputed lords and masters of their homes and heads of their families – they literally pay the costs to be the boss.

If the old adage about “winning through actions and not by words” has any meaning at all, Black women’s voting record over the past few decades speaks volumes, does it not?

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WHY I’M A BLACK REPUBLICAN – & YOU SHOULD BE, TOO
By now, the reasons as to why I would vote GOP should be obvious, but please allow me the pleasure of being brutally blunt: I am a Black Republican because I have seen firsthand what an entire lifetime of Black Democrat leadership has done to my beloved City of Brotherly Love. Studies and reports have shown Black Philly’s slow and ignoble backslide from a city of hope and aspiration for its Black denizens, to one of the most impoverished in the country. Local Black politicians’ names like Chaka Fattah, are synonymous with graft, incompetence and craven greed, while the Black constituents in their charge languish in quiet desperation.

I’m a Black Republican because unlike so many of my “intersectional” sistas who see themselves as perpetually aggrieved special victims, I do believe in hard work, personal responsibility and a faith in a better tomorrow than I have today. I believe that the free market has done as much to set Black Americans free as any bill out of Congress, and I believe that unleashing the talent and ability of good Black men can truly transform our society for the better. I was raised by Black men – my dad and grand dad – who fought for this country in the United States Marine Corps at a time when real day to day indignity for simply being Black was a bitter occurrence, and they were both keen to tell me before they left this world why: Because they wanted to give their children and grandchildren to have a shot at a better life they knew wasn’t possible for them.

I’m a Black Republican because I’m tired of trying any and everything else instead of merely doing what works – even as a confirmed bachelor, I know that the best way to raise a family is to get married and stay married. Black women have proven that they’re less interested in these things than Black men are (“So Single Black Men Want Commitment. Really?”, NPR.com, Jun 8, 2013) – as I and Vox has noted above, Black women really, really don’t like the patriarchy – and would much rather Black men serve as sperm donors, walking and talking phalluses, and simply hand over their wallets and be quiet about it. If anybody knows that these “alternative lifestyles” don’t work it’s Black America – who now boasts a nearly eighty percent out of wedlock birth rate, the highest infidelity and divorce rate, and the lowest cohabitation rate(!). I’m a Black Republican because I know that the man as the head of the home, WORKS, all other things being equal. And I make no apologies for standing up for that principle.

And I’m a Black Republican because I’m tired of aspirational Black men like me, who spent a lifetime of working hard, playing by the rules and doing all the right things, not only being mocked and derided by our very “own” women, but are often passed over for lowlifes and miscreants like the late Walter Wallace, Jr., the cause of untold amounts of property damgage and some 60 of Philly’s Finest being assaulted and injured during last week’s riots. Black women have shown a clear and present preference for going to the mat for the very worst among Black men, we can call the roll: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, the list goes on, of sketchy to out and out criminal Black men who Black women swoon over, rush to run interference for, even organize movements of global scope, to mobilize for. Black women have made it abundantly clear that they have no interest, respect and certainly no love, for law-abiding, ambitious and talented Black men like me. So be it. Message received.

I. Have. Had. Enough.

My name is Mumia Obsidian Ali, I’m a proud Black Republican, and I approved this message!

Now adjourn your asses…

MOA

Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host, newly minted dating coach and soon to be author. You can catch his daily live shows on the global livestreaming radio website Mixlr, as well as the all-new members-only Obsidian Radio Zoomcast, and his podcasts on YouTube and Black Avenger TV, as well as his weekly dating coach column at the Negromanosphere website. He’s also a semi-professional pest.

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