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20 Most Influential Black Republicans

John Hawkins has compiled a list of The Top 20 Most Influential Black Republicans. While I might quibble with the ordering here and there, I didn’t note any glaring omissions on first read. Instead, my reaction was how remarkably thin the list is.

Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and Allen West are all in the top 10. Most of the remainder of the list is filled with pundits, including Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, and Larry Elder–but also some D listers like Jesse Lee Paterson (of whom I’d never heard), Deroy Murdock, Star Parker, and Robert George. Even J.C. Watts, whose 15 minutes were up in the 1990s, makes the list.

Now, I’m painfully aware that the Republican Party, despite its heritage as the Party of Lincoln, is unpopular with blacks. It has been since Franklin Roosevelt won them over in the 1930s. Consequentially, blacks vote something like 90 percent Democrat.

Still, that leaves 10 percent of 12 percent of a nation of 310 million people–roughly 3.7 million black Republicans. And Colin Powell–whose Republican bonafides are pretty shaky these days–is the only undeniable superstar on the list? (I’d put Rice and Sowell there, too, but they’re much more controversial.)

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Andyman says:

    There’s a big difference between letting someone pay admission to your meeting and letting them talk at the podium.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  2. What about Walter Williams?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Williams is on the list.

    Why Herman Cain is No.1 and he and Sowell, men of ideas, are not is baffling to me,actually

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  4. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: We are talking about influential Republicans remember. Why would Republicans want to be influenced by “men of ideas?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. EddieInCA says:

    20) Jesse Lee Peterson: Buffoon.
    19) Deroy Murdock: Influential? Over whom?
    18) J.C. Watts: He’s a smart, reasonable, honest man. Out of step with today’s GOP.
    17) Angela McGlowan: Buffoon
    16) Shelby Steele: Smart, smart, smart man. Should be more influential.
    15) Ward Connerly: Buffoon. He’s the black Tom Tancredo. A one issue idealogue.
    14) Mychal S. Massie: Who? Exactly.
    13) Robert George: Buffoon. Not an intellectually honest bone in his body.
    12) Ken Blackwell: No influence over anyone.
    11) Star Parker: See #13.
    10) Colin Powell: Should be higher.
    9) Larry Elder: I’m from Los Angeles. Larry Elder was once a very intellectually honest Liberatarian. He’s now nothing more than a mouthpiece for the GOP. All his honesty left years ago. He’s a hack, pure and simple. There isn’t an issue for which he won’t blame Obama.
    8) Michael Steele: Left the GOP National Committee in tatters. Enough said.
    7) Condi Rice: Should be higher. Smart, smart woman.
    6) Walter Williams: Smart man with some good ideas. Should be higher.
    5) Tim Scott: Who? Why is he influential?
    4) Thomas Sowell: Smart, smart man. Should be higher.
    3) Allen West: A complete and utter f**king moron. His quotes alone should keep him off this list.
    2) Herman Cain: A joke. Seriously. A joke. This clown over Condi, Sowell, and Powell
    1) Clarence Thomas: Supreme Court Justice: Certainly influential. No quibbles here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. MBunge says:

    When the #1 requirement for being a black Republican is never, ever, ever, ever, EVER saying anything that even vaguely questions conservative thinking on any matter involving race, there shouldn’t be any surprise at there not being a lot of respectable black Republicans. The reason why guys like Shelby Steele, Williams and Sowell aren’t more influential is that it’s hard to exert any influence when your intellect is first and foremost focused on making white conservatives feel good about themselves. No one really takes a flatterer seriously.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  7. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Thomas Sowell’s “ideas”:

    Hippies suck.

    Liberals suck.

    Blacks who are paid to say other blacks suck suck.

    All the nation’s wealth rightfully belongs to the ultra-rich, who have earned it by their moral superiority.

    Poor people are poor because they’re degenerate.

    Civil liberties is a Commie plot.

    Gimme my cash now, please.

    But he’s like Gingrich — he spews out the company line, but he uses big words, so stupid people think he’s a intellectual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  8. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Obviously this sort of list will strike a painful nerve with the lily-white, left-wing Internet demographic. You don’t need a degree in psychology to figure out why.

    Putting that aside, the order of this list is preposterous, which is not surprising given the source. Cain being listed above Rice, Powell, Sowell, etc., is a farce. There also are a few major omissions. D.C. Circuit Judge and former California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown immediately comes to mind. Wallace Jefferson and Dale Wainwright of the Texas Supreme Court also should be on the list.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. MBunge says:

    “Obviously this sort of list will strike a painful nerve with the lily-white, left-wing Internet demographic.”

    Considering that a similar Democratic list would start with the President of the United States and include a whole host of actual elected officials that liberals voted for, instead of talking heads living off wingnut welfare, I’m not exactly sure how their nerves are supposed to be struck in any way. Their funny bones? Sure.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  10. Franklin says:

    @EddieInCA: For the ones I know, you seem to be dead on. But have you read Sowell lately? He used to be smart, but now he’s now a shill, as far as anybody can tell. In fact your description of Larry Elder fits Sowell almost perfectly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. mantis says:

    “Obviously this sort of list will strike a painful nerve with the lily-white, left-wing Internet demographic. You don’t need a degree in psychology to figure out why.”

    Indulge us. Tell us why this is supposed to “strike a painful nerve,” exactly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. Loviartar says:

    Now, I’m painfully aware that the Republican Party, despite its heritage as the Party of Lincoln, is unpopular with blacks. It has been since Franklin Roosevelt won them over in the 1930s. Consequentially, blacks vote something like 90 percent Democrat.

    Misleading to the nth degree.

    ———

    Lets break it down.

    Now, I’m painfully aware that the Republican Party, despite its heritage as the Party of Lincoln, is unpopular with blacks. It has been since Franklin Roosevelt won them over in the 1930s.

    Why? You imply its because Roosevelt won them over, with what I wonder. The Great Society I suppose, in other words by handing out free stuff to the blacks. Another code for big, black bucks collecting welfare.

    Maybe you should have looked to more recent events for the reason blacks don’t vote Republican, like the Civil Rights amendment and the Southern Strategy as practiced by the Republicans since the 1960s.

    Hmm, I wonder which one would make black people turn their back on a political party for over a generation.

    – The implementation of a series of beneficial acts that took place over 80 years ago that originally excluded blacks but eventually expanded to include them long after the originator of the acts had died.

    – A series of ongoing negative actions by one political party against blacks that originated within the lifespan of the current voting population.

    I know which one I would see as being responsible for blacks voting 90% Democratic.

    ——–

    Consequentially, blacks vote something like 90 percent Democrat. Still, that leaves 10 percent of 12 percent of a nation of 310 million people–roughly 3.7 million black Republicans.

    Wrong again, there are not 3.7 million Republicans. African Americans have one of the lowest voter participation rates so your numbers are bullshit. What you would like to say is that of voting age African Americans who actually vote, 90% vote Democrat.

    According to PEW research there at the most, maybe around 1.5 million African Americans who vote Republican and I believe they are being generous in their analysis.

    Dissecting the 2008 Electorate: Most Diverse in U.S. History

    ——–

    Typical hackneyed bullshit post by a Republican. I was kind of expecting to see Doug or Dodd’s byline, slightly disappointed that its James’s byline. Should have expected it though, with an election coming up all the loyal mouthpieces have to ramp up their output of truthiness bullshit otherwise the wingnut welfare will dry up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  13. Sowell is like Paul Krugman; his academic work is stellar, he is a hack while writing newspaper columns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1