Black Delegates at GOP Convention at Lowest Level in History

Only 18 out of 2,472 delegates in Cleveland are Black, the lowest percentage in over a century.

The percentage of Black delegates at this year’s Republican convention in Cleveland has dropped to its lowest level in recorded history — around 0.7 percent — with only 18 Black delegates out of a total of 2,472.

The RNC does not break out Latino or Asian delegates, and the breakout of those delegates does not appear to be tracked by third parties.

The data compiled by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which has recorded the number of Black delegates at every GOP convention back to 1912, found that the highest number and percentage of Black delegates at a Republican convention was for the re-nomination of President George W. Bush in 2004. During that gathering in New York City, 167 Black delegates represented 6.5 percent of all GOP delegates, a number that has since plummeted.

During the last presidential election in 2012, 47 Black delegates represented 2.1 percent of the total GOP delegates at the convention in Tampa, and in 2008, when Sen. John McCain was nominated to run against then-Sen. Barack Obama, 39 Black delegates represented 1.6 percent of GOP delegates in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The fewest actual number of Black delegates at a GOP convention was 14, or 1 percent, of the 1,308 total delegates at the 1964 convention that nominated Barry Goldwater shortly after passage of the Civil Rights Act, which he staunchly opposed.

The strained relationship between the Republican Party and Black Americans has been exacerbated this year with increased racist overtones by Trump and others in the party — such as comments from Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa as recently as Monday saying non-whites have not contributed to the advancement of human civilization.

Related Story: Is Rep. King the Biggest Bigot in Congress?

The rhetoric continued on the convention stage Monday night when two Black speakers criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and praised the acquittal of the Baltimore police officers charged with killing Freddie Gray.

The overwhelmingly white delegates in attendance seemed unable to contain their excitement with rousing applause as Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. said Black Lives Matter was contributing to “a collapse of social order” and described its protests as “anarchy.”

Meanwhile, Darryl Glenn, a Black county commissioner from Colorado, drew even more applause from the audience when he said, “Somebody with a nice tan needs to say this: All lives matter!” He added, “If we really want to heal our communities, more men need to start stepping up and taking care of their children … safe neighborhoods happen when fathers and mothers are in the home.”

A Quinnipiac University poll this month showed Trump earning 1 percent of the Black vote nationally, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that zero percent of Black voters in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania are supporting Trump.

For example, in Ohio, 11 percent of the 848 registered voters in the NBC/WSJ poll were Black and chose Clinton over Trump 88 percent to 0 percent. In Pennsylvania, 10 percent of the 829 voters are Black and chose Clinton over Trump 91 percent to 0 percent.

Despite the small amount of people of color at the GOP convention in Cleveland, viewers of the convention on TV commented to DiversityInc that there were noticeably more minorities seated close to the stage and wondered if those people were placed strategically for the purpose of the television cameras capturing and showing the wide diversity.

Upon closer inspection, however, it appears the seats up front belong to the delegations from New York, New Jersey and California, and those delegations just happen to be bigger in number and have more diverse populations. The seating priority was given to states that delivered well for Trump in the primaries, while states like Texas that voted for Ted Cruz were relegated to the back. Host states traditionally have front row seats, but since Ohio’s delegates supported Gov. John Kasich, those delegates were given less-than-stellar seats.

 

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11 comments


  • Darryl Glenn, a Black county commissioner from Colorado, drew even more applause from the audience when he said, “Somebody with a nice tan needs to say this: All lives matter!” He added, “If we really want to heal our communities, more men need to start stepping up and taking care of their children … safe neighborhoods happen when fathers and mothers are in the home.”

    How exactly is this racist, and what is not correct in the statement.

    • It’s more foolish than anything. As a reader pointed out in another comment, saying “all lives matter” in reference/response to BLM, is like saying “all cancers matter” at a Susan G Komen rally.

      Foolish. Ignorant. Rabble-rousing.

      • Frequently those responding to BLM with “all lives matter” are those who oppose BLM and discount the validity of the movement, essentially taking the position that Black lives don’t, in fact, matter.

    • That Mr. Glenn would describe himself as someone with a nice tan says all it needs to say, in my opinion. Tans fade, natural skin color does not. By the way, the African-American men and women murdered by or who were jailed by law enforcement officers were fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, cousins, uncles, etc. In other words, they belonged to a family and their lives mattered. BLM.

    • Additionally, the snide comment about fathers and mothers in the home really has nothing to do with neighborhood safety. That was simply a dig towards single parent households, and pointedly, gay and lesbian households.

  • The TV cameras focused on Black delegates much more than 0.7% of the time.

    • I don’t blame the TV camera people, it’s kind of like finding a video of a snowball in hell on YouTube. You can’t believe what you’re seeing.

  • Rafael Brathwaite

    Who is Darryl Glenn his only value at the convention is to reinforce what all those Republicans in the room already believe by hearing it from a black man who was probably getting paid

  • I’ve been struggling with this for some time. And as I hear news bites from the RNC (I can’t bring myself to actually watch the circus) I just don’t understand how a person of color, ANY color other than white, can support this wannabe dictator. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around it. Well, that and why women would support him. (sigh)

    • I don’t think you needed to clarify your statement with “other than white”. I don’t understand how any person at all can support this scary buffoon. Of course I’ve never blamed anyone else for my own failings and that is the kind of person that seems to be drawn to him – the lets blame someone else mentality.

    • Charity Dell

      To Sheri T.–The reason you can’t wrap your brain around The Donald is:

      YOUR BRAIN’S CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT ACTUALLY WORKS!

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