GOP Has 40 Black Candidates For 7,000 Elections! Hooray!

GOP Has 40 Black Candidates For 7,000 Elections! Hooray!

GOP Sen. Tim Scott, screengrab

It’s Black History Month, and boy does the GOP have history with Black Americans. The "party of Lincoln," as it constantly reminds us, has spent the past 50 years attacking our voting rights, scapegoating us to win elections (e.g. “welfare queens” and Willie Horton), and smearing Black activists. The GOP’s major initiative right now appears to be erasing Black history in general.

However, the GOP is proud to announce that a small number of Black people identify as Republicans. No one’s perfect. The GOP’s official Twitter account boasted, "We currently have a record number of Black Republicans running for office and winning at all levels. Over 40 Black Republicans are running in GOP primaries for both local and federal office.” Next to the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth was three raised Black fists of different shades. Yeah, really.


This year, there are 435 elections in the House of Representatives, 34 Senate elections, 39 gubernatorial elections, and roughly 7,000 state legislative elections. Forty Black Republicans could comfortably fit in my living room. Although, all that tap dancing would ruin my floors.

GOP BLACK HISTORY: Ted Cruz Pretty Sure Critical Race Theory Same Deal As KKK Burning Crosses

Stand On Every Corner co-founder Erin Conroy responded to the GOP’s humble race brag: "During Reconstruction the GOP had more than [40 Black Republicans] in just one state. I guess you're admitting some stuff.” Indeed! There are probably at least 10 times as many Lauren Boeberts, Marjorie Taylor Greenes, and Paul Gosar copycats currently running as Republicans.

Conroy also shared these 1970 remarks from Richard Nixon’s strategist, Kevin Phillips:

"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10-20% of the Negro vote...The more Negroes who register as Democrats ... the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats & become Republicans. That’s where the votes are."

This wasn’t a secret, backroom conversation Nixon had taped in the White House. Phillips freely discussed this in the New York Times Magazine. He declared “all the talk about Republicans making inroads into the Negro vote is persiflage.” Interestingly, Phillips argued that Republicans shouldn’t bother weakening the Voting Rights Act just yet. It was still serving a purpose, because without the perceived threat of Black enfranchisement, "the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”

GOP BLACK HISTORY: Chief Justice John Roberts Made Jim Crow Great Again

During an interview last month,The Nation’s Elie Mystal described Chief Justice John Roberts as the “architect” of the assault on Black voting rights. Roberts’s first job out of law school involved opposing the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act. After the Reagan Revolution, Republicans likely assumed they had a solid lock on the white vote and their neo-Confederate party had no further use for the Voting Rights Act.

Senate Republicans collectively supported the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and will likely collectively oppose the confirmation of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. (Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski might dither around finding reasons to reject her, while John Kennedy, Josh Hawley, Marsha Blackburn and the rest will openly disparage her during the hearings.) This tells you all you need to know.

The GOP’s tweet insults our intelligence, but the gaslighting is the point. Journalist Ashton Pittman commented that 40 Republicans amount to 0.008 percent of candidates for all local and federal offices. The GOP’s tweet is a less-than-subtle reminder that the Republican Party isn’t diverse. It’s white-dominated and white-focused with 40 willing human shields against charges of racism.

The GOP commemorates Black History Month by reassuring its supporters that the party isn’t very Black at all.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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