Black Senator Elbert Guillory Switches From Democrat to Republican – And It Makes Perfect Sense

With the countless African American conservatives throughout this country (Dr. Ben Carson, Herman Cain, Condi Rice, Mia Love, Allen West, Tim Scott, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Angela McGlowan, Erika Harold and others), I’m always astonished that more than 80% of African Americans routinely vote Democrat every election.

But because of that reality, I enthusiastically applaud the courage of African American Republicans for coming out of the closet in their communities and speaking out. I can somewhat empathize with their plight as an open and honest libertarian Republican growing up in the middle of the Democratic Chicago Machine my entire life.

Yet another African American lawmaker – Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory – recently explained his switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in a video that is now going viral:


Guillory boldly cuts straight to the heart of the argument, “(A)nd even more important, this idea [of government control] is a failure. Our communities are just as poor as they have always been. Our schools continue to fail children. Our prisons are filled with young black men who should be at home being fathers.

“Our self initiative and our self reliance have been sacrificed in exchange for our allegiance to our overseers who control us by making us dependent on them.”

I haven’t been this ecstatic to hear such refreshing, pure truth since Dr. Carson’s speech went viral four months ago.

Guillory lays out, in its simplest form, what I have been wondering for years. The same communities that have been dependent on government sustenance for the last 50 years are still dependent on government sustenance today. What has changed within these communities after all these years?

More importantly, why do African Americans continue to almost monolithically vote for one party after decades and generations of the same failed results?

It’s almost as if these communities have been brainwashed from birth to always vote for whoever has the (D) next to their name at the voting booth. You’re not even allowed to entertain the thought of voting for anything else, careless of any lack of results in improving life around you.

Take my hometown of Chicago. Democrats have controlled the 2nd Illinois Congressional District (62.4% African American) for the last 60 years. Until recently, Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D) held that office for the last 17 years. Last year, federal prosecutors and FBI agents in Washington, D.C. investigated Jackson for alleged financial improprieties, including misuse of campaign funds. He plead guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy, making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, and criminal forfeiture. Jackson used $750,000 in campaign money for personal expenses that included a Michael Jackson fedora and cashmere capes.

He then resigned from office last November, but not before being re-elected to his seat in the general election with 63% of the vote. I mean, when voters mindlessly punch the (D) on the ballot every other November, where’s the accountability?

Or take Illinois Congressman Derrick Smith (D), also in a predominantly African American congressional district. He was caught on tape in March of 2012 accepting a $7,000 bribe during an undercover FBI sting operation in exchange for writing a letter in support of a day care center to receive a $50,000 state grant. He was subsequently indicted on bribery charges shortly afterwards and was expelled from the Illinois House of Representatives by a vote of 100 to 6 in August.

He won re-election too by the way, with 62% of the vote last November. He still serves in the Illinois House of Representatives today.

Again, where is the accountability under one party rule? It truly feels hopeless for African American communities in Chicago.

I often hear, “Well, Republicans aren’t even trying in those communities, so what do you expect?” That’s not entirely true. In the special election to elect a successor to the 2nd Illinois Congressional District earlier this year, there were five African American conservatives vying for the Republican nomination: Lenny McAllister, Paul McKinley, Beverly Reid, Dr. Eric M. Wallace and James Taylor, Sr. On primary election day, a total of 3,530 voters in that district cast ballots for Republican candidates.

A total of 59,593 people voted in the Democratic primary.

The general election was a formality after that, as Democratic candidate Robin Kelly easily beat Paul McKinley (R) with 71% of the vote.

In a D+38 district such as the Illinois 2nd, I concede it will be hard to convince Republican Party powers to invest time and money in races that are so clearly lop-sided.

But it will take a lot more brave souls, such as Sen. Guillory, to come out of the closet as open conservatives and champion the fight for less government dependency, private sector growth and opportunity, school choice, fiscal responsibility and traditional family values within their communities. It’s these solutions that lift communities from poverty and grow the middle class.

It won’t change overnight. But maybe enough open minds will some day choose to finally be free of government control once and for all or being beholden to any one party, for as I always keep coming back to: economic freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

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John Giokaris

John Giokaris has been contributing to PolicyMic since February 2011. Born and raised in Chicago, John graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a double major in Journalism and Political Science and is currently earning his J.D. at The John Marshall Law School. John believes in free market principles, private sector solutions, transparency, school choice, constitutionally limited government, and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. His goals are to empower/create opportunity for citizens to use the tools at their disposal to succeed in America, which does more to grow the middle class and alleviate those in poverty than keeping a permanent underclass dependent on government sustenance indefinitely. Sitting on the Board of Directors for both the center-right Chicago Young Republicans and libertarian America's Future Foundation-Chicago, he is also a member of the free market think tank Illinois Policy Institute's Leadership Coalition team along with other leaders of the Illinois business, political, and media communities. John has seven years experience working in writing/publishing, having previously worked at Law Bulletin Publishing, the Tribune Company, and Reboot Illinois. His works have been published in the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, Crain's Chicago Business, Reboot Illinois, Townhall, the Law Bulletin, and the RedEye. He's also made appearances on CBS News, PBS, and Al Jazeera America.

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