Nonwhite Republicans in Iowa say there is a chance they will win more votes like theirs


Michael Johnson, Jamila Jones, and Jarilis Bogdanov all have something in common: They are Republicans of color who live in Iowa.

Each supported a different candidate in Monday night’s caucuses — Jones was a party leader for Donald Trump, who won; While Bogdanov supported little-known pastor Ryan Binkley and Johnson was a leader for Ramaswamy, who suspended his campaign on caucus night. But they all share another ultimate goal: making sure there is a Republican in the White House after the November election.

Minority voters do not make up a large portion of the Republican base and make up a small portion of participants in Monday’s caucuses, according to exit polls, but President Joe Biden has his own issues with supporters of color.

His approval rating among black Americans has declined since he took office, and reports from 538 show an even greater decline among Hispanic voters.

Johnson told ABC News’ Alex Berisha that he feels Republicans have not done enough to engage minority voters, even though there is a chance to convince some of them.

“I’ve taken on the responsibility of being able to bring some of my family members, you know, because a lot of my African families are just Democrats by default,” Johnson said, adding: “So I feel like I’m the Republican Party of the country.” “The general doesn’t do that when it comes to the minority in general.”

Mary Campos and Wayne Ford have taken on this responsibility to educate as well — for decades, working to unite Iowans and educate nonwhite communities about candidates of all parties.

Campos — a 95-year-old Mexican immigrant who immigrated to the United States as a child — and Ford — who has lived in Iowa since moving from Washington, D.C., in the late 1970s — are the organizers behind the Blacks and Immigration campaign. Brown Presidential Forum in Iowa.

Since 1984, the bipartisan forum has addressed issues specifically facing nonwhite voters — that was until this year, when organizers canceled because only one candidate accepted their invitation: Binkley.

Campos and Ford said they had not heard back from Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley or Trump.

“I was a little surprised by that because I thought, you know, both of our parties represented the people. And I think the timing was wrong for them,” Campos said.

However, Ford said, “We never criticized anyone who didn’t participate. This isn’t our first rodeo.”

When Berisha spoke with Johnson, Jones and Bogdanov, Johnson said he was not aware of the candidates’ forum for nonwhite voters but “would have attended.”

Both Bogdanov and Jones said their policies sometimes provoke a reaction from others.

“Some people say, ‘I’m racist to my community because I’m a Republican,'” Bogdanov said. Jones said her choice to wear a red “MAGA” hat for Trump could be a “conversation starter.” definitely.”

Photo: ABC News' Alex Berisha interviews three Iowa voters on January 15, 2024.

ABC News’ Alex Berisha interviewed Iowa Republican electors Yarilis Bogdanov, Jamila Jones and Michael Johnson on January 15, 2024.

Letters of News

Jones pushed back on some of the language used to describe non-white voters such as “colored voter.”

“We separate ourselves. We’re just Americans,” she said. “And breaking up like that – it’s not good.”

But there are others who do not agree with this opinion.

“Even if I fill out a job application now, it’s going to ask me what my race is, what my ethnicity is, so to pretend that race doesn’t matter, we’re all Americans — I feel like that’s unrealistic,” RJ Miller said.

Miller is currently an undecided voter and last voted for Barack Obama for president but is not sold on another term for Biden. He said he feels more Black votes are up for grabs this election cycle.

“I feel like a lot of Black people, they bet on Biden to be able to put in place some policies that would uplift the Black community, and I feel like a lot of Black people feel like, you know, they were voted to advantage,” he said.

“Once again, we have Donald Trump and a lot of people don’t care about him personally,” Miller said.

He told ABC News that he opposes Republicans because of a lack of engagement with minority communities.

“How can you understand the problems if you don’t interact directly with the people in these areas?” He said.

As for Campos and Ford, they plan to continue their work, organizing, reaching out to and advocating for candidates to engage with blacks and other non-white Iowans.

“I’m tired of hearing the phrase ‘America is strong.’ America has always been strong,” Campos said. America is a nation we can be proud of.” “America is a nation that welcomes everyone and anyone. So I can’t tolerate anyone saying to me, ‘Well, you’re from the wrong side of the tracks.'”

“I can’t stand it,” she said. “And I will do everything in my power to defeat him.”

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