On Tuesday, Republicans held two events in Philadelphia, PA. trying to engage Black people in their campaign to win their votes. The biggest issue with the events is that they were hosted in two predominantly white districts. The second biggest issue came from having to employ two Black Republican members of Congress who were not from the area. Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX) and Byron Donalds (R-FL) made appearances to help court Black voters in Philly.

“The room was majority-Black, but about half of those who listed addresses on the event’s sign-in sheet put down addresses outside Philadelphia,” noted Julia Terruso and Sean Collins Walsh in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Despite the lack of local representation, it’s not unheard of for surrogates to come from out of town for presidential campaigns. However, something much worse drew the ire of Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). While discussing why Republicans struggle to court the Black community at an event called “Congress, Cognac, and Cigars,” Donalds said the unthinkable in suggesting Black people were better off during the Jim Crow era. 

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together,” said Donalds. “During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative – Black people have always been conservative-minded – but more Black people voted conservatively. And then H.E.W. [U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare], Lyndon Johnson – you go down that road, and now we are where we are,” he added.

The flawed logic behind such a statement has been well-documented as racists have made the use of it mainstream through online discourse. Donalds comment fell in line with the far-right talking point that highlights how the founders of the KKK were once Democrats while ignoring that those Democrats were Christian conservative extremists. It also ignores that throughout history Black voters have overwhelmingly supported progressive policies.

That’s why we rightfully credit the Black community – for pushing U.S. society forward. It is also presumably why Jeffries ripped Donalds a new one on the House floor on Wednesday.

The mic has been passed to Byron Donalds.

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Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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