Black Gen Z voters oppose community loyalty to Democrats after Kanye West and 'conservatism is blackness' campaign

Black Gen Z voters oppose community loyalty to Democrats after Kanye West and 'conservatism is blackness' campaign
(Getty Images)

At a time when Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has found himself in a strong position against incumbent President Donald Trump ahead of the November 3 election, a new claim has suggested something that would sound uncomfortable for the blue party. 

Daily Mail has reported that Black voters aged between 18 and 24 have started questioning their traditional support for the Democratic Party as anger simmers over the slow pace at which their cities are witnessing changes. Trump’s supporters of color, including Candace Owens and teenager CJ Pearson, have been encouraging Black voters from Generation Z – born between 1996 and 2015 – to rethink the traditional Black strategy of backing the Democrats. Owens, whose Twitter bio states: “Black people don't have to be Democrats— still”, had refused to call George Floyd, who was brutally killed in Minneapolis in May, as a martyr or a hero even as serious race riots broke out across cities in America. 


Steven Smith and Kanye West speak on stage at the "Kanye West and Steven Smith in Conversation with Mark Wilson" at the on November 07, 2019 in New York City. (Getty Images)

Biden's interview talks with Charlamagne Tha God 

Pro-Trump activists among the Blacks got a boost following Biden’s controversial interview with radio personality Charlamagne Tha God in which the former said not supporting his campaign means “you ain’t Black”. His words received a serious backlash, including from Kanye West who said in an interview with Forbes the same month: “I was threatened as a Black man into the Democratic party. And that's what the Democrats are doing, emotionally, to my people. Threatening them to the point where this White man can tell a Black man if you don't vote for me, you're not Black.”

West is perhaps the most high-profile supporter of Trump and despite running his own presidential campaign, has encouraged his young Black supporters to follow his lead and back the GOP commander-in-chief.

Besides, a video of Trump answering to Biden accusing him as a racist at a virtual town hall in July was promoted on The Shade Room, a popular Black pop culture blog. Trump said on that occasion that no American president has done more for the Blacks than him, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. 

Paris Dennard, senior communications adviser for Black media affairs for the GOP, reportedly said that the red party was sending across an appealing message to people who are “hungry for the truth, hungry for the facts”, POLITICO added

The POLITICO report also cited polling that showed Gen Z is more liberal than any other generation before them but at the same time, it is also more skeptical of the political system and the establishment leaders. 

'Conservatism is blackness'

The report quoted Pearson, 18, who said: “You know, a lot of people make the argument on the left that conservatism is the antithesis of blackness, but I think conservatism is blackness.”

“When you look at my story, as far as being raised by Democrats and things like that, it's weird. It's crazy. But it wasn't a huge leap for me. Conservatism, I believe, spoke to who I was, where I was and what my upbringing was.” 

'We are still talking about the same issues we talked about in '60s'

Javon Price, a Georgetown University senior and the external affairs director for Gen Z GOP, a national body of young Republicans that encourages more Gen Zers to embrace conservative politics, told POLITICO: “I do think that at some point we have to ask ourselves, when are we ready to change the system that we have enabled?” 

“Black people are arguably the most loyal supporters of the Democratic base. And we're still talking about the same issues we talked about in the '60s,” he added. 

There is also an online group called the Black Conservative Movement – one of the largest dedicated to young Black Republican voters which boasts a combined 200,000 followers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – which pushed ideas forward under the label of “free thinking,” one espoused by people like Pearson. According to the movement, if Black voters resist the pressure to vote for Democrats from party leaders and Black colleagues, they would be able to witness the negative impacts of their policies on Black people.

According to a Pew study report that came out last month, there are over 23 million eligible Gen Z voters this year, nearly 16 million more than could vote in the 2016 election. Still, this group constitutes a smaller share of the overall electorate than any other group since many are yet not eligible to cast ballots. For example, more than 63 million Millennials are eligible to cast their ballots this year.

The Pew report, however, did not make Gen Z’s voting intention clear even though it said the eligible voters in the group reflect the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of American voters.

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