Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) came to Congress in January and wanted to join the powerful and influential black caucus. Obviously, since most in the CBC are Democrats, Donalds wasn’t going to see eye to eye with them on many issues. But Donalds saw the potential to cooperate on issues such as police reform, where he believes there could be bipartisan agreement.
When he inquired about joining, the CBC never got back to him. They didn’t even show him the courtesy of declining to invite him.
In fact, there are no Republican members of the Black Caucus. One Republican member from Utah, Burgess Owens, didn’t want to join. Perhaps he didn’t want to be insulted.
Donalds’ treatment begs the question: Why not just call the group the Democratic Party Black Caucus instead of making the pretense of bipartisanship?
Rep. Robin Kelly, an Illinois Democrat and member of the CBC, told the Journal that she didn’t understand the candidates’ support of former President Trump, but that they would be welcomed into the group. That was before the Jan. 6 Capital riots engendered a bitter divide, and some Democrats swore off working with Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results.
Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate and a rising star of his party, declined an invitation to join the organization when he was appointed to the House in 2010.
Former Rep. Mia Love, Utah, was the group’s last GOP member, who three years before she joined in 2015 said members of the group “sit there” and “ignite racism.”
Donalds’ struggles with the CBC parallels the travails of Rep. Carlos Curbelo who tried to join the Hispanic Caucus. They actually allowed Curbelo, a moderate anti-Trump Republican, to make a presentation to the group citing the reasons he wanted to join.
A majority voted to reject his application. They threw salt on the wound when they endorsed the Democrat in his House race in 2020, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. She won by a scant 4,000 votes and Curbelo is now out of Congress.
Ask the average black or Hispanic person what the Democratic Party has done for them besides giving lip service to some of their issues and you would probably be met with blank stares.
Minorities have been promised a lot by Democrats and precious little has been delivered. CBC members have latched on to a party that demands obedience and fealty while giving little in return.
Donald Trump appealed to “opportunity” minorities — those who saw the Republican agenda as improving opportunity for blacks and Hispanics. There are no promises. No guaranteed outcomes. But usually, all anyone in America needs is a chance. And Republicans are better at doing that than Democrats.