As I have stated many times, the Republican Party rarely misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Right now, they are ignoring yet another chance to begin reconnecting with the black community, and it makes one wonder when they will finally learn.
There are already areas of commonality between conservatives and the black community. Indeed, many African Americans believe deeply in capitalism, Christianity, school choice, and other issues that the right also values. But one issue that both communities have in common is a deep distrust of the government – especially when it comes to the push for COVID-19 vaccines.
The numbers show that black Americans are not exactly on the vaccination train and their reticence to take the jab has flummoxed Democrats and their close friends and allies in the activist media. Vox observed that minorities are refusing the injection at a higher rate than whites. Samantha Artiga, Vice President and Director of Racial Equity and Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said:
There have really been persistent gaps between white people compared to Black and Hispanic people, with Black and Hispanic rates lagging behind pretty consistently across states.
The Vox report noted that “at the start of July, the vaccination rate was about 15 percent lower for Black people than for white people in the US.” The rate of Latinos getting the vax was about 3 percent lower. Furthermore, while making up about 12 to 13 percent of the population, blacks represent only nine percent of those who have taken at least one dose of the vaccine.
The article gives a number of reasons as to why black Americans might not be as gung-ho about the jab as the Democrats would like. The author suggests that it might have something to do with the fact that a big chunk of those who are unvaccinated are poor and might be concerned about potential costs even though the vaccination is free.
But the bottom line is that black Americans are distrustful of the government. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in February revealed that 35 percent of blacks said they did not plan to take the vaccination because they did not trust it to be safe. During an interview with WebMD, Wynne Stovall-Johnson said:
I’m educated. I have a graduate degree. I read a lot. I’m informed. I’m not a person who clings on to conspiracy theories, but I simply do not trust the government at this point.
The WebMD report points to the Tuskegee experiments and Henrietta Lacks case as examples illustrating why black people do not have confidence in the government when it comes to medical issues.
Conservatives are also suspicious of the vaccination. Many right-leaning Americans have decided not to take the jab and conservative politicians and influencers are fighting tooth and nail against the Democrats’ push to impose vaccine mandates at the local level.
This is an area of commonality that Republicans should be pursuing.
If Democrats manage to make vaccines mandatory at the local level, they will be forcing millions of black Americans to put something into their body against their will. The Democrats that are in charge of cities with high black populations will be the ones responsible for African Americans who experience adverse reactions after becoming inoculated.
The Republicans’ message to the black community should sound something like “the Democrats want to force you to take an injection regardless of how you feel about it – we are making sure this does not happen.”
It’s not hard. A simple acknowledgment of what the left is doing along with expressing the desire to stop them is enough.
Now, this does not mean that this one issue will cause black people to flock to the GOP in droves. As I’ve said previously, winning over the black community is a marathon, not a sprint and it will take time to make inroads in urban areas. However, the vaccine issue could be one of several ways in which the Republicans can show black people that they have their best interests at heart.
Many conservatives know that most black people have conservative leanings. Indeed, Pew Research found that most blacks (71 percent) identify as either “conservative” or “moderate.” Republicans could begin making progress with winning over black voters if they focus on areas where the community agrees with them. Solid messaging without silly tropes and stereotypes will make all the difference. The question is, when will the former Party of Lincoln start taking this seriously?