Larry Elder: The Rise of Young Black Conservatives

This past weekend, I spoke for the second time at the second annual Black Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by Turning Point USA. Turning Point was founded in 2012 by then-18-year-old Charlie Kirk. Its website describes its goal as seeking “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”

In addition to the Black Leadership Summit, Turning Points holds other annual gatherings, including the Young Women’s Leadership Summit, the Young Latino Leadership Summit and the Student Action Summit. Turning Point, according to Kirk, has established chapters at over 1,000 college campuses across the country. In a short time, the organization has become quite a force.

In an interview with Business Insider, Kirk asked: “Have you ever seen a conservative shout down a liberal speaker on campus? Isn’t that kind of strange, though, that the left does that every day and conservatives don’t?” He argues: “We live in a broken culture. Where the conservative movement is making gains really quick and where the left is really struggling right now is that we are offering remedies for a broken culture.”

Not too surprisingly, Turning Point is not without controversy. A column in the conservative Washington Examiner written by a college senior insists: “TPUSA is initially attractive to many young people due to the organization’s savvy marketing using memes, posters, and catchy slogans such as ‘socialism sucks.’ And at first glance, this may seem like a good thing for the conservative movement.

“But everyone should be concerned by the mainstreaming of TPUSA and Kirk. … In reality, it’s an organization that pulls kids too young to know any better into a group that’s deeply troubled and dishonest at its core.”

A piece in the Wall Street Journal written by a senior at Dartmouth criticizes groups like Turning Point for receiving funding by wealthy donors. The student wrote: “These groups are well-organized, well-funded political operations, not grass-roots gatherings or student-led movements. There’s nothing necessarily wrong or unethical about them, but they often convey a deliberately false image of themselves as bottom-up movements when in fact they are top-down, highly purposive national organizations. Students approached by their recruiters — or handed “educational” material by their activists — should ask about their sponsors and objectives.”

What I know is this: Some 400 young blacks recently gathered in D.C., where they heard criticism of Democrats, liberals and the left. Speakers such as former Turning Point Communications Director Candace Owens, now a podcast host for Prager University, questioned blacks’ overwhelming allegiance to the Democratic Party, arguing that the party pushes the narrative of systemic, structural and institutional racism for power and votes. After I spoke, young person after young person came up to me and said things like, “You introduced me to economics professors Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams,” and, “because of you and your books and videos, I began to question the horrible things I was taught about the ‘racist’ Republican Party.”

These young people did not think of themselves as victims. They recognized their good fortune as Americans living in a country of opportunity where their own future will be bright if they work hard. In my speech, I quoted black liberal Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson, who 28 years ago wrote: “The sociological truths are that America, while still flawed in its race relations … is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa.”

At last weekend’s summit, the narrative of “structural racism” by the police was challenged with facts, studies and data. The Democrats’ opposition to private vouchers was questioned, given studies showing that school choice improves reading and math scores, graduation rates and parental satisfaction. Democratic policies of reparations, race-based preferences, government-mandated minimum wage and taxes on job creators were challenged.

I have known Sowell and Williams for nearly 30 years. Their presence loomed large this weekend in Washington, D.C. For years, they were lonely voices questioning blacks’ devotion to the Democratic Party. They have long argued that the welfare state has destabilized families, encouraging women “to marry the government” and men to abandon their financial and moral responsibilities. They have long argued against the job-destroying impact of the minimum wage. They have long argued that one’s fate is determined not by racism but by one’s willingness to invest in oneself through education, hard work and sacrifice.

Turning Point’s Black Leadership Summit shows that Sowell’s and Williams’ books, columns, television appearances and speeches have spawned a generation of hopeful young black men and women who believe in themselves. These bright, energetic young people get it. As then-first lady Barbara Bush said, “Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

What a weekend!



LarryElderLarry Elder is a bestselling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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  1. Hi it is I your favorite Caucasian smart mouthed conservative trouble maker here again to mock the defeated and unrepentant slave holders and founders of the Ku Klux Klan to wit the Democratic Party. I think that President Donald John Trump is an absolute failure he is a failure as an anti-Semite, homophobe, racist, misogynist and he is even a failure at being a failure because he has created the strongest economy the United States of America has ever had. Do you think I am sick because I love watching Democratic heads exploding every day? Further I suggest you look up Frank Forrester Church (Born July 25, 1924 Died April 7, 1984) and the Church Committee he ran. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1956, Frank Church spent twenty-four years in Congress as an advocate for progressive causes, including civil rights, equal rights for women, wilderness preservation, and opposition to the Vietnam War. In the mid-1970s he gained notoriety for overseeing a Senate investigation that exposed some of the CIA and FBI’s more controversial activities. Church’s inquiry paved the way for passage of the Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980, which requires the agencies to report covert activities to an oversight committee in an effort to curb abuses of power. It quite frankly did not work too well because the nonsense is still going on today. Frank Forrester Church was one of the most honorable men I ever observed in my life. By the way he was a Democrat and had served in World War Two as an intelligence officer they were so afraid of him that the National Security Agency was conducting “electronic surveillance” of his personal communications I never accused them of spying on him. I confess I love Diamond and Silk whose commentary is sharper than my S.O.G. Tsunami which can slice a single sheet of paper very easily. School voucher have been challenged by the National Education Association because they are nothing more than shills for the Democratic Party who want to keep black children in failing schools. Remember it is never rape when a Democrat does it! When President James Earl Carter Jr. fired David Weese Marston Sr. the United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and lies that President James Earl Carter Jr. told about it! Marston was appointed by President Gerald Ford to serve as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, serving until his firing by President James Earl Carter Jr. in 1978. His crime? Locking crooked politicians of both parties which back home in Pennsylvania is the equivalent of shooting rats in a bucket with a shotgun.

    • Trump may be the most imperfect president we as a nation have ever had but what would the Republic look like today if the Klinton Klan had set up their dictatorship>