Currently, the Republican and Democrat parties have strongholds on white and non-white voters respectively. While the Republican Party has been able to win elections by appealing more to white voters, this is not a strategy that will work in the near future with the increasingly diverse population in the United States . According to a study done by William H. Frey from Brookings Edu, “whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations” by 2045. This is also notable considering the recently released census numbers; Georgia is now a majority-minority State. If the Republican party wants to win more elections in the future, they must learn how to adjust their rhetoric and effectively appeal to a larger portion of the minority electorate. In this GOP and Minorities series, there will be around 3 to 4 articles about helpful strategies for doing this, the first one starting with speaking to issues important to black voters. 

Black voters overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic candidate. Contrary to popular belief, however, they are not overwhelmingly liberal. Although around 88-92 percent of them vote for Democrats, around 25 percent of them identify as Conservative and another 43 percent as Moderate, according to a 2020 Pew Research Study. Knowing this, why are Republicans having such a difficult time appealing to a lot more of the black electorate? The reasoning behind this is due to the divisive rhetoric many Republican candidates use during campaign season, turning off many black voters. 

School choice, which allows students who desire to attend schools that are not within their immediate zip code if they desire to, is an issue that Republican candidates should focus on in their campaigns. This opens up a great opportunity for the GOP to appeal to more black voters. As a community of interest, they generally hold a 65% favorability of school choice, and it definitely helps uplift communities educationally and economically. Unfortunately, without school choice, parents and children face significantly more barriers to obtaining a higher quality education. In order to fix this, educational funds should be distributed through tax exemptions and credits no matter if the child attends a public, private, or charter school. Enacting school choice policies across states and the rest of the United States will benefit everyone. James Dickey, former Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, had this to say about school choice and his solution: “All children should have access to quality education, and the right of parents to raise and educate their children is fundamental. In order to make that choice possible, fair, and efficient, parents’ educational funds should follow their student to his or her school through means such as tax exemptions or credits.”

Other issues important to black Americans are economic welfare and prison reform. While more black Americans are earning a college degree and seeing their family incomes rise faster than any other demographic since 1968, there is dismal progress in other areas. According to Sharon Austin’s PBS article, she discusses the issues of poverty and financial security. Since 1968, the poverty rate has only gone down to 21% from 32%, meaning that the black poverty rate is still 3 times that of whites. Also, black families only earned 57.03 percent and kept 5.04 percent of their wealth compared to white families. Fortunately, President Trump began to make inroads within the black community on the national level. In 2020, over 10 percent of black Americans voted for him, up from McCain’s and Romney’s dismal 4 and 6 percent respectively. This is because he was able to successfully emphasize black economic success under his policies, such as seeing their incomes go up through a better economy, creating opportunity zones that allow for greater investment in low income areas, and promising to enact his platinum plan to help black Americans if he were to win his second term. School choice would help with increasing economic opportunities for more black Americans to achieve financial well-being. 

Prison reform and the issue of single-parent house-holds are perhaps one of the most important issues to black Americans, as this directly affects their financial well-being. Currently, black Americans are imprisoned the most, at about five times the rate of white Americans. Due to the high incarceration rate of black Americans, 72-percent of black families are headed by single mothers. Being raised in overwhelmingly single-parent households has negatively affected black Americans psychologically and economically, as numerous studies have shown that being raised by two parents is much better than one. In school, rather than helping children suffering from poverty, abuse, and neglect through counseling, they isolate and punish them. This issue, infamously dubbed the school-to-prison pipeline, helps continue the cycle of destruction for the black community. Fortunately, President Trump has helped with the issue of criminal justice reform by enacting the First Step Act, which decreases incarceration rates, especially for nonviolent crimes, while maintaining public safety. School choice would help with this since allowing children to attend better funded schools will give them opportunities to seek counseling if needed rather than being punished, thus reducing the incarceration rate and single family households.

The policies mentioned in this post that the Republican Party should campaign and act on scratch the surface on how they can benefit the black community and increase their vote share. Other policies such as increasing public safety, cutting taxes for the middle class, and lowering healthcare and housing costs are issues the Republican Party should campaign on as well and emphasize how their policies and actions will be more effective compared to Democrats. 

Sources

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/how-black-americans-lives-have-and-havent-changed-since-dr-kings-death 

https://www.texasgop.org/school-choice/ 

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/raceinc.html 

https://www.aclu.org/issues/juvenile-justice/school-prison-pipeline 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54972389 

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/14/the-us-will-become-minority-white-in-2045-census-projects/ 

https://www.thirdway.org/memo/a-nuanced-picture-of-what-black-americans-want-in-2020