Those who are part of the Black Conservative Movement are hoping to give people a better understanding of the meaning of being conservative.
Demetrius Minor, a member of the National Advisory Council of Project 21, or the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, said he became a conservative after receiving advice during the turn of the millennium.
“Right before the 2000 election, my godfather, (the) Rev. Thungus, pulled me to the side and told me I needed to research politics,” Minor said. “He told me he was not going to tell me how to vote but said I did not have to vote Democrat just because I was black.”
After conducting his research, Minor said he saw that the Republican Party had a substantial background as part of President Lincoln’s party, which freed the slaves in 1863. The party was for civil rights and had prominent members, such as Frederick Douglass. In the end, Minor said the Republican Party aligned more with his core values.
Conservatives, Minor said, believe in small government, lower taxes and strong military defense. Socially, conservatives believe in marriage between a man and woman and are generally pro-life. Minor also said conservatives believe in a balanced budget and in cutting deficit spending. Although many claim to be Democrat, Minor said there are more African-Americans who are conservative at heart.
“I think by nature, African- Americans are conservative,” he said. “If you talk to them about the importance of family, the importance of having a two-parent household, they would agree with you.”
In addition, the African-American community values education to help poor kids get ahead, Minor said, and those who are very religious and spiritual agree with the conservative social values. The key to winning their votes is by talking to them and trying to meet their needs. He also said a mistake would be to overlook people because of the assumption that they might automatically vote Democrat.
Some African-American conservatives said people have a certain image of a conservative. Brandon Rose, a junior political science and history major at Augusta State University, said people usually think of a conservative as being a Caucasian, white-collar businessman. But Rose said he shares the same values as conservatives, including faith, family and government.
This year, after a political science class called American Presidency, Rose said he learned to be more objective when it came to voting and to try to be nonpartisan. Rose also said the class taught him to investigate more about the facts and not just blurbs or sound bites heard in the media. Rose said the reaction to him being a conservative has been in the middle.
”I would say (reaction) has been mixed,” Rose said. “There are those I have met who have been outright ignorant in some of the comments they made or stated in an African-American being conservative. Speaking to people like my grandfather, who has been a conservative most of his life, he has been one I look to for advice.”
Right now, Minor said the Republicans must regroup after Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama and the Democrats maintaining the majority in the Senate on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Although he said he is not happy with the results, Minor said the Republican Party should take this time to change strategies and its approach; the party must do a better job of reaching out to African-Americans and Hispanics. Minor also said the party must also build a strong coalition with young voters. Since President Bush’s reelection in 2004, Minor said the percentage of Hispanic voters has decreased dramatically.
Minor said the party must talk about immigration in a positive way while also dealing with the issues, such as national security and job growth, that can be appealing to Hispanic voters. He said it is the perfect time to talk to African-American voters because the election is over and they should acknowledge taking their vote for granted. Minor said there are new conservatives who can make that change happen.