Coreco Ja’Quan Pearson, C.J. for short, is not your typical 18-year-old African American college freshman. Pearson, like many of his peers, comes from a long line of Democrats in his family. This loyalty can be traced back to the civil rights movement in the previous century.
C.J. has reached adulthood in an atmosphere of heightened awareness of racial tension. He enters college in the wake of tragic incidents of police brutality and the raw emotions expressed in the last presidential election. You might think that this young man would be a loyal Democrat.
But Coreco Ja’Qyuan Pearson is a strong conservative voice in a sea of Democratic Party loyalty. He is asking a pertinent question: If loyalty to the Democratic Party is tied to Black success, why haven’t conditions improved in Black communities?
Pearson, smack-dab in the center of Gen Z, is a part of a generation that is more liberal than any generation before them according to polls. But, and this is a big but, they are also more skeptical of the political system and its established leaders than any generation before them. For Pearson, his skepticism trumps loyalty to any party, even the one dear to his parents and grandparents.
It is worth contemplating whether this same train of thought will multiply among more of his contemporaries. And, what will happen if Biden’s reign of power ends without lasting change?
“You know, a lot of people make the argument on the left that conservatism is the antithesis of Blackness, but I think conservatism is Blackness,” Pearson said. “When you look at my story, as far as being raised by Democrats and things like that, it’s weird. It’s crazy. But it wasn’t a huge leap for me. Conservatism, I believe, spoke to who I was, where I was, and what my upbringing was.”
Pearson’s popularity is linked to his strong web presence. Like some other Black members in the Republican Party, he has denounced Democratic politics as they connect to race. And he has touted accomplishments within the Republican party during President Trump’s time in office.
“It’s interesting to me when Democrats call him (Trump) a racist, or they say that he’s not doing a single thing for Black people,” Pearson said. “My question to them, then, is what have they done? Because did they do economic opportunity zones? Did they do the First Step Act? And why did it take so long for a so-called, quote-unquote ‘racist’ president to accomplish all these things for Black people?”
C.J.’s commitment to the Republican Party is also tied to the conservative values that are a part of his family’s root system. In a study done in 2019, Pew Research found that liberals do in fact make up a large percentage of the Democratic voting bloc, but 43 percent of Black voters identified as moderate and 25 percent identified as conservative. The Republican Party share these values with many Black voters: faith, fiscal responsibility, and hard work leading to advancement.
The skepticism that is growing among young Black voters is tied to the mindset that Democratic policies have been unhelpful and sometimes detrimental to Black communities.
“I do think that at some point we have to ask ourselves, when are we ready to change the system that we have enabled?” asked Javon Price. He is a Georgetown University senior and a Director for Gen Z GOP, a national organization of young Republicans. “Black people are arguably the most loyal supporters of the Democratic base. And we’re still talking about the same issues we talked about in the ’60s,” Price said.
If we come to the end of a Biden presidency and there has not been any real change for Black communities, will the growing skepticism among young Black voters tip the scales typically weighed down by loyalty to the Democratic Party?