Black Republicans—like Trump-endorsed Michigan Senate Primary candidate John James—are rare in America’s political structure.
A 2018 poll from The Associated Press reported that only one percent of black respondents identify as Republican while 59 percent identified as Democrat. Sixteen percent of black voters described themselves as Independent.
Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Brandon Brice, an Independent political consultant who has worked for conservative politicians like former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and former New Jersey Governor Chris J. Christie.
Brice was born in Detroit and has written about culture, music, and politics under the moniker “the Hip Hop Republican.” He now serves as an Op-Ed writer for The Detroit News and the Mackinac Center for Policy.
On John James for U.S. Senate:
“Interesting race, but I don’t think, just based on region and where we are, that Republicans are going to be successful this year in Michigan,” says Brice. “It’s good to look at the fact that you’ve got an African American who is just a stellar guy running for the U.S. Senate. I would probably say right guy, wrong race.”
On the prospect of a so-called Blue Wave in upcoming elections:
“If I had to put my money on it, I would say just based off of national politics, next election, I think the president gets re-elected, but I think both on the federal and state level, Democrats take back the Senate and the House.”
On why he is an Independent:
“Something rose in me where I recognized as a black man that the Democrats weren’t quite doing much for my community but the Republicans, in some cases, weren’t doing much either for my community,” says Brice.
“I made a conscious decision earlier this year to become an independent. I think that when it comes to black and brown issues, we as African Americans or minorities as a whole cannot afford to be partisan anymore. I think we really gotta look at the specific policies and the social issues to make informed decisions.”
“I found myself kind of teetering. All my homeboys were Democrats and all my coworkers were Republicans. So what’s the middle ground?”
On the challenges of being black and Republican:
“If you’re a black Republican, race matters. And so when people say, ‘Oh, I don’t wanna talk about race,’ you gotta talk about race. And I think one of the challenges that’s been with black Republicans is that they have not created their own conversation and they’ve relied on the conversation of people that don’t necessarily look like them.”
To hear more from Brice on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.