A few months ago, we reported on the re-establishment of the Howard University’s Republican chapter.
Just who are these young, black Republicans? According to the Republican National Committee’s Officer for African-American and Millennial Initiatives and Urban Media, Leah Le’Vell, you already know them. “Black Americans oftentimes do align themselves as Republicans, but they just don’t publicly say so.”
Alexis Hasty and Daisha Martin, co-chairs of the Howard University College Republicans, aren’t afraid to publicly say so. They spoke with the PBS NewsHour about becoming Republicans, launching Howard’s chapter and supporting Donald Trump.
Hasty’s support for Donald Trump stems in large part from her belief that he “will make our neighborhoods, our cities and our country safe again.”
“We got so much love and support from the RNC,” Martin said, speaking about launching the chapter. The Republican National Committee not only gave Howard’s Republicans a $2,000 check to fund their political activities, but offered organization support from RNC staff, like Le’Vell and RNC Senior Strategist Ashley D. Bell.
Bell has high hopes for increased diversity within the Republican Party. “With the election of Donald Trump, we saw more African-Americans vote for Republican for president than in the last decade,” he said. He also noted that historically, blacks voted Republican, “It was bad candidates that caused African-Americans to leave the Republican Party, and the majority became Democrats. And, I think it’s going to take good candidates to turn the tide and reverse that course.”
Martin agrees with this sentiment, telling the NewsHour that she believes, “A lot of people feel…in debt to the Democratic Party as black Americans.” The solution, she says, is greater political outreach on the part of both parties. “If we had more access to education on politics itself: what does it actually mean to be a Republican, what does it actually mean to be a Democrat, an independent…black people would have a more diverse scope as to what politics is.”
The sort of education that Martin is an advocate for is what made Hasty take up the Republican mantle. As she found herself becoming increasingly political during her final years of high school, Hasty says she began, “doing my own research and really just figuring things out for myself, and one day I just came to the conclusion that despite my political socialization, I’m going to actually just go against that, because that’s not what I believe. And I think that we should all just go with how we actually feel.”
Whether you agree with Hasty and her fellow young Republicans or not, the message that all Americans should think for themselves politically, giving their votes only to the candidates they truly believe have their best interests at heart, is something I think we can all get behind.