In Alabama, an interesting political battle is taking place, and it’s poking holes in the notion that Americans should identify with and remain loyal to only one political party.
Darius Foster is hoping to be elected as the District 56 state representative for Alabama, and his biggest opponent isn’t even another candidate – it’s the perception people have about Black Republicans.
While Democratic candidate Louise Alexander is more than a worthy adversary for Foster, Foster’s label as a Black Republican may still be his most troubling opponent.
Foster released a YouTube video titled In a Box, where he officially declared war on people’s attempts to put him and the rest of the Republican Party in a box.
“With me, unfortunately, everything is Black Republican,” Foster said. “Not Darius did this, but the Black Republican did that. So, you know.”
The problem, according to Foster, is that many people associate the Republican Party with rich, white men who have no interest in helping the Black community.
Foster insists, however, that that narrative just isn’t true.
The 33-year-old business consultant told NPR that he wants to represent the “fight-for-the-people Republican.”
“That’s what they were,” he said. “I’m not sure where the Democratic Party was able to hijack that narrative from us, but they did. And they have it. I’m trying to bring it back.”
Foster is exactly the kind of candidate that the GOP has been looking for lately in an attempt to earn more support in Black communities.
Black voters have shown an overwhelming amount of support for the Democratic Party since the civil rights era, and the GOP hopes to convert some of those voters.
As Foster has already explained, however, that will be no easy feat.
He explained that when he went to go vote for the first time with his grandmother, she forced him to vote a straight Democratic ticket.
Being raised by his grandmother, he did as he was told, but that didn’t settle his curiosity.
Foster told NPR that he rushed home and did research on the different political parties.
“I read through and went through all of them; I got to the Republican Party and I was just reading through the principles,” he told NPR. “My grandmother hates taxes. She doesn’t do gay marriage. She’s always talking about defending yourself and strong defense. And I said, ‘Mom – you may be a Republican.’ And she looked at me and walked off.”
Several residents of his own community admitted that they didn’t have a great perception of Black Republicans at first, but Foster has actually managed to make some rather impressive strides in combating the misconceptions about Black Republicans.
One local woman, Juanita Graham, said Foster absolutely has her vote.
While she said she still considers herself to be Democratic, she also viewed him as a great candidate – despite the fact that he represents a different party.
That could be the strongest impact of Foster’s campaign – not converting people to another political party but simply reminding voters that they need to look at individual candidates and what they stand for, not vote blindly for the political party they affiliate themselves with.
In the meantime, Foster will also have to battle with other Republicans who are continuing to build a less than respectable name for the party.
Foster explained that “TV Republicans” are the real problem for his party. Republicans like the state senator who referred to Blacks as aborigines and the Congressman who said there is a “war on whites” are the ones that Foster is concerned about.
He also believes it isn’t necessary for every Republican to focus their debates on taking aim at President Barack Obama.
“It’s not saying that I agree with President Obama,” he said. “I’m just saying that I can show somebody and talk to them about what it means to be a Republican and not mention President Obama’s name at all. This is what being a Republican is. This is what being a conservative is.”