Why are there no black people in this 'black Republicans for Trump' group?

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Friday 14 October 2016 07:30
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This image of a 'Black Republicans' stall staffed exclusively by white people has been spreading on social media. From one source alone it's been shared almost 50,000 times.

It resurfaced this week, because, Trump.

The earliest record of the image is on 24 September 2015, on Reddit.

It shows a stall for the Durham County (North Carolina) Black Republican Committee. It's not, as some have joked, a 'Black Republicans for Trump' stall.

At the time it was posted (and presumably taken), Trump was leading the polls but he was not the nominee. On 16 September there were six candidates polling above 5 per cent: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Carly Fiorina.

What is the Durham County Black Republican Committee?

The stall was for the Durham County (NC) Black Republican Committee, which was created in 2012 when the leadership invited 1068 registered black republicans in the county to meet.

Since then the group's size has increased to 1,400 black registered Republicans, out of a total of 27,889 registered Republicans (approximately 5 per cent) in Durham County.

They have an active Facbeook page 'Black Republicans of Durham', and unlike the one doing the rounds on social media this week, the main image on their website does feature a large group of African-Americans.

The committee exists to attract and recruit African Americans to the Republican Party, in addition to carrying out community work such as organising this Salvation Army donation for Durham school children.

Why couldn't they find Black Republicans to man the stall?

Indy100 spoke to one of the founders of the committee, and the Durham County GOP Chairman since 2015, Immanuel Jarvis who explained how the photo is misleading.

This image that has made international travel It looks like it captures approximately a 20 feet wide snapshot of our booth, and thus only 20 feet of our organization. Although the optics look awkward, the fact of the matter is that the tent was assembled that morning by one of the BRC leaders. He and some other members were finishing up gathering supplies and preparing for the day. The photo you are referring to you is a mirage of the truth of this local party.

So of course the answer is that they could, and the stall was manned by African Americans, but the image confirmed an existing assumption that Black Republicans are few and far between.

People familiar with Durham were further amused by the image because the county is historically black.

The 2015 census reported that 38.4 per cent of the county identified themselves as 'Black or African American alone'.

The city of Durham is even more so.

It is home to North Carolina Central University, whose founder was African American James E Shepherd, and the proportion of black and white people in the city is almost equal.

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Where the committee hits a snag, is that the high proportion of black people does not translate into a large number of Black Republicans or Republicans of any ethnicity.

Durham County has consistently voted Democrat in Presidential elections. Richard Nixon was the last Republican to win the County in 1972.

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The disconnect between county and state level can be seen most significantly in 2012, when the Obama-Biden ticket won the county with 75 per cent, but lost North Carolina. Outside of Durham the state's politics and government is dominated by the Republican Party.

As such the Durham County Black Republican commitee is already a group on the margins, and within that just 5 per cent of African Americans are registered Republicans. Harder to find some for the stall than you might think.

Jarvis has stated that the county party has been commended for its diversity, and was frustrated by the image which they feel does not reflect the truth regarding their organisation.

The Durham GOP made a collective eye-roll when this photo came out. This leadership has worked too hard to be diverse, discussing issues involving minorities, and looking for ways to love our community, regardless of ethnic differences.

What is Trump's support among African Americans?

The group's official Facebook page has swung behind the party's nominee Donald Trump, so if the photo were taken today, it would be particularly funny given his poor ratings among African Americans.

African American voters are not a monolith, but nationally their support for a Trump presidency has been lukewarm at best.

In an ABC/Washington Post poll released in September, 93 per cent of African Americans were in favour of Hillary Clinton. Just 3 per cent opted for Trump.

There is a new mystery however, yet to be answered: who is this white woman holding a sign that says 'Black for Trumps'?

More: The difference between Barack Obama and Donald Trump in two photos?​

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