Young Black Americans Are Dumping Democrats in Growing Numbers: 'Conservatism Is Blackness'
Increasing number of black Gen-Z voters inspired by Kanye West are questioning their loyalty to Dems
Young black Americans are turning away from the Democratic Party in increasing numbers.
Generation-Z black voters, aged between 18 and 24, are beginning to question their traditional support for Democrats.
The shift has emerged amid anger at the slow pace of change in mostly Democrat-run cities.
Black Gen-Z voters are being inspired and reenergized by prominent Trump supporters such as Candace Owens.
On her Twitter account, Owens' biography states: "Black people don't have to be Democrats— still."
18-year-old CJ Pearson says that listening to conservative campaigners has led himself and others to reassess their expected Democrat backing.
Black Americans overwhelmingly support Democrats, casting more than 90 percent of their votes for the party's candidates in the past three presidential elections, according to The Daily Mail.
But black pro-Trump activists were given a huge boost by Joe Biden's July interview with radio personality Charlamagne Tha God, in which Biden clumsily claimed that not supporting his campaign means "you ain't black."
Kanye West responded, in an August interview with Forbes: "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."
A video of Trump responding to Biden's labeling Trump a racist, at a virtual town hall on July 22, was promoted by the popular black pop culture blog The Shade Room.
"That shows that we are messaging in a way that is appealing to a group of people who are, I believe, hungry for the truth, hungry for the facts," said Paris Dennard, senior communications adviser for black media affairs for the Republican Party.
Gen Z is emerging into a world shaken by the coronavirus pandemic, fraught with economic turmoil, protesting against racial injustice and questioning the role of the government in healthcare and education.
Polling suggests Gen Z are more liberal than any generation before them, according to Politico.
But they are also more skeptical of the political system and its establishment leaders.
"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," Pearson told the site.
"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."
Pearson retweeted an anti-abortion comment from West, agreeing with the rapper's pro-life stance.
West is perhaps the most high-profile black supporter of the president who, despite now running his own presidential campaign, encouraged his young black supporters to follow his lead and back Trump.
Faith, fiscal responsibility, and achievements earned through hard work are values central to both the Republican ethos and many black lifestyles, according to a 2019 Pew study.
Pew reports there are more than 23 million eligible Gen Z voters this year, about 16 million more than could vote in the 2016 election.
Gen Z voters make up significantly smaller shares of the overall electorate than other generations because many aren't yet eligible to vote: by comparison, more than 63 million Millennials are eligible to vote this year.
Gen Z voting intention was not made clear in Pew's report.
They find the unrest in many Democrat-run cities pushes them towards voting Republican, coupled with dissatisfaction at the state of their communities.
"I do think that at some point we have to ask ourselves, when are we ready to change the system that we have enabled?" asked Javon Price, a Georgetown University senior and the external affairs director for Gen Z GOP, a national organization of young Republicans that aims to encourage more Gen Zers to embrace conservative politics.
He told Politico: "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."
Jake Neer, the 19-year-old vice chair of the Black Conservative Movement, told the site: "Biden connects with many black voters.
"He talks, he says all the right things, but there aren't many results behind what he's done.
"If I look at President Trump's actions, I see more results."
Politico points out that even a small dip in black support for Biden in closely-contested states that have substantial black populations — like North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Florida — could tip the scales in Trump's favor.
Pearson admitted it was unlikely that Trump would receive strong support among his generation of black voters - but he was doing his best to work for it.
"At the end of the day, Is it an uphill battle? Yes, it is," he told the site.
"You know, historically, we've seen the black community support Democrat politicians 90 percent of the time each election year, but what I will say is that this year is just different.
"Democrats won't be showing that black lives matter by wearing kente cloth.
"That will be by policy."