They’re successful, they’re audacious, they’re conservative — and they happen to be Republican. Love them or loathe them, no one can deny the surmountable impact of the exclusive club of Black Republicans.
In honor of their unique, yet undeniable place in politics, NewsOne presents this era’s Top 5 Black Republicans, who are a threat to the Democratic Party:
5. Michael Steele
Many Democrats probably wondered where in the world he came from, however, Michael Steele made a name for himself when he became the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee. Before becoming chairman of the RNC, Steele was the first African-American to be chair of any state Republican Party.
Steele is the founder of the Republican Leadership Council, a fiscally conservative and socially inclusive political action committee. Though Steele has aligned himself to the right, there’s one politically flawed policy he reportedly supports that most Republicans oppose: Affirmative Action.
But don’t count Steele out. He’s published a book “Right Now: A 12-Step Program For Defeating the Obama Agenda”— quite a bold move.
Unfortunately, much intraparty hostility occurred within the Republican Party as a result of Steele’s publication, arguably leading — compounded with his flamboyant rhetoric — to him dropping out of the race for re-election as RNC chairman.
He may not be a huge threat to the Democratic Party but you never know, right?
4. Tim Scott
Though he’s a freshman congressman, Tim Scott (R-S.C.) wasted no time in making his presence known when he threatened to impeach President Barack Obama, if he decided to raise the country’s debt limit without a congressional vote. He also accused the president of trying to usurp the government.
Scott strongly opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and has proposed his own alternative health care bill that would limit non-economic damages and reform Medicare. Additionally, Scott strongly supports cultural assimilation, which would make English the official language in the government, and force immigrants to learn the English language.
Scott is the first African-American Republican to be elected to the South Carolina congress in 100 years. But don’t let that fool you; though welcomed with open arms by the Congressional Black Caucus, Scott ardently opposed membership stating, “My campaign was never about race.”
Scott could very well play an instrumental part in the right wing’s attempt to repeal “Obamacare.”
3. Allen West
Allen West (R-Fla.) is no stranger to the media as of late. His recent tirade against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in which he called her “cowardly,” proves he isn’t afraid to talk the talk. West is the first African-American Republican congressman from Florida since Reconstruction.
He served more than 20 years in the United States Army, and comes from a dynasty of veterans. His father served in World War II, his brother served in Vietnam and his mother was a civilian employee of the Marine Corps.
In January 2011, West condemned the official flying of a Palestine Liberation Organization flag in Washington. He said that the raising of the flag is “an attempt to legitimize an organization with a known history of terrorist actions.”
In response to his remarks, West later said “I will always defend your right to practice a free religion under the First Amendment, but what you must understand, if I am speaking the truth, I am not going to stop speaking the truth. The truth is not subjective.”
As a serviceman, West has received the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal. Could West one day capitalize on his armed force experience to seek the presidential office? It almost worked for Sen. John McCain.
2. Herman Cain
He went from a self-made millionaire and business-savvy tycoon to a presidential candidate. How impressive is that? Though his many out-spoken antics have overshadowed his credibility, one must not overlook his track record.
Cain has had his hand in a plethora of businesses including The Coca-Cola Company, Burger King, Pillsbury, Godfather’s Pizza and even radio. It’s argued that Cain made his way to the political stage when, as president-elect of the National Restaurant Association, he challenged President Bill Clinton’s health care plan and its affect on small businesses. Cain even ran against George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 to make a political statement. He later said that he had a “better message.”
If he’s audacious enough to run against Bush, it’s no wonder why he has grown to be a favorite in the GOP primary race.
He may not be the front-runner in the race, but he’s surely not down for the count.
1. Clarence Thomas
Only the second African-American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Honorable Clarence Thomas is arguably one of the most conservative Republicans in government—and while sitting on the highest court in the land, he holds sizable influence.
Thomas has often approached federalism issues in a way that limits the power of the federal government and expands power of state and local governments.
Think of any policy, and Thomas will more than likely rule on the conservative side, whether it’s affirmative action, the use of firearms, free speech, or gay rights. Thomas has even argued that the executive branch has broad authority under the Constitution and federal statutes.
It’s safe to say that Judge Thomas isn’t going nowhere anytime soon, and he surely isn’t backing down from his conservative views. Though he’s portrayed as a callous conservative, most people say he’s affable and good-humored.