Originally published on August 2, 2023.
Republicans have a new shining star for the 2024 presidential election in the way of Georgia State Rep. Mesha Mainor.
Mainor, an African American who has been serving the Georgia state legislature since January 2021, announced two weeks ago that she is leaving the Democratic Party and becoming a Republican.
This is a decision of notable courage in that District 56 that she represents, located in the area around Atlanta, is deep blue.
Writing an open letter to the nation in the New York Post, she talks about leaving a Democratic Party that very much defined her roots growing up around Atlanta, remarks that ironically strike a note similar to the famous quote of Ronald Reagan, who began his political life as a Democrat.
Reagan’s famous line: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.”
Mainor talks about her concerns principally about education, her support for school choice that Democrats oppose, but in addition her disillusionment with a Democratic Party soft on crime and soft on law enforcement.
Poll after poll shows overwhelming support from African Americans for school choice.
Most recently from EdChoice, 78% of African Americans said they view education savings accounts favorably, 79% vouchers favorably, 74% charter schools favorably and 78% open enrollment favorably.
According to the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s report card, less than a third of fourth and eighth grade students in Georgia are proficient or better in reading.
It’s also clear that Black Americans are not on the same page with the Democratic Party on the woke issue.
On the question of whether a child’s sex is genetically “determined” at birth, per Pew polling, 68% of Black Americans say “yes,” compared to 38% of those identified as Democrat or “leaning Democrat.”
Mainor’s honesty and courage are worthy of admiration and respect.
But what will Republicans do with this?
Georgia is a key swing state, won by Donald Trump in 2016 and then recaptured by Joe Biden in 2020, winning by a margin of three-tenths of one percentage point.
The Black vote constitutes some 30% of the overall vote in Georgia and is critical.
Commentator Karl Rove recently observed that a one-percent drop in Black voter turnout will flip Georgia back to Republicans.
But Republicans should not be trying to figure out how to get Black voters to stay home. They should be working to support the courageous and principled Mainor and should work to get other Black legislators and voters, in Georgia and nationwide, to see and appreciate the truths that she now articulates.
It is instructive to view polling over time regarding Americans’ trust in government.
In October 1964, per Pew, 77% of Americans said they trust the government to do what is right “just about always” or “most of the time.” By April 2022, this was down to 20%.
Of the 20%, 16% were white and 24% black. Back in 1964, both 77% of whites and Blacks expressed trust in government.
In 1964, federal government spending took 17% of GDP. By 2022, it was up to 24%. In other words, as government has expanded, trust in government has diminished. And this is true for all races.
In latest Gallup polling, only 18% express satisfaction with the direction of the country, half the historic average.
When asked, “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” the highest response was “government.”
Mesha Mainor is a heroine who sees that too long Black Americans have bought into the distortion that government is the answer rather than the problem.
Republicans and all Americans that care about the state of our free nation under God must help get her message out.
Photo credit: By Adolph Scott – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, link
Star Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and author of “Necessary Noise: How Donald Trump Inflames the Culture War and Why This is Good News for America.” She hosts a weekly show called “CURE America with Star Parker.”
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