inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

What’s it Like for PA Republicans of Color in the Trump Era?

What is it like for Republicans of color in the era of Donald Trump? They certainly aren’t hiding in the political shadows.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) may have withdrawn his candidacy for president, but his voice is one of many being heard – questioning allegiance to a political party whose policies and strategies have not benefitted communities of color.

The Democratic Party’s greatest fear isn’t surging crime in major cities, the threat of Hamas and Hezbollah, or rising antisemitism from coast to coast; it is that more than 20 percent of Black voters in several important battleground states are throwing their support behind former President Donald Trump and that it might represent a shift back to the Republican Party’s historical roots.

Republican businesswoman Janice Hollis, CEO of The Hollis Media Group, said that when speaking with Democrats who don’t know her political leaning, she gets what she calls ‘the look’ when she says she is a Republican.

“I get a lot of raised eyebrows,” she said. “I think they often see Black and Brown Republicans as traitors. My comeback is, ‘What am I betraying?’ Our major cities – Democrat-controlled cities, by the way – are rampant with violent crime, and the public schools are in terrible shape. And let’s not even discuss economic investment in underserved communities. That’s just for starters. Now admittedly, many things Trump has said are just not acceptable, but some of his policies had a beneficial effect.”

Under Trump, domestic oil production increased, and in 2018, the United States surpassed China and Russia to become the world’s largest producer. He cemented closer ties with Israel and, in a 2018 press conference with Nigerian President Mahammadu Bahari, raised the issue of the persecution of Christians in that nation – a problem largely ignored by the Biden administration and national media.

A new poll by The New York Times and Siena College found 22 percent of Black voters in six of the most important battleground states said they would support the former president.

“I’ve been a registered Republican since I was old enough to vote,” said David Dix, CEO and chairman of Luminous Strategies. Dix has more than 25 years of political and electoral experience. He is also a regular commentator on Inside Story, a weekly public affairs program on 6ABC WPVI.

“I’m from Erie, Pa., and the first political campaign I worked on was for Dick Thornburgh. I never got a lot of flak for choosing the Republican Party. I often say I’ve had a personal relationship with every president since George W. Bush. I didn’t have high expectations with Donald Trump, so there was no sense of loss regarding his presidency,” he said. “The fact that we were still intact as a nation four years later and didn’t completely implode was a bright spot for me. We came close to both of those things, but it didn’t happen.”

Calvin R. Tucker, Deputy Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and also the managing director of Eagles Capital Advisors, LLC, has been a Republican for more than 50 years. He makes no apologies for his support of Trump.

“The main reason Democrats and some Republicans don’t support Trump is because he changed the way they do business,” Tucker said. “Trump is a businessman and an entrepreneur. He’s a political outsider. Most politicians of either party will do what they normally do, which is maintain the status quo. Trump turned that upside down – his antics and rhetoric notwithstanding. I’ve been through 10 presidents, but in terms of a real impact in our communities – although it’s not mentioned – the president who made a real impact in communities of color was Donald Trump. For example, during his presidency, he lowered unemployment for people of color.”

Tucker went on to say Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the First Step Act of 2018. That legislation was a bi-partisan effort to improve criminal justice outcomes and reduce the size of the federal prison population while also creating mechanisms to maintain public safety. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created opportunity zones in poor communities to spur investment and economic growth.

“Our people need to vote according to our interests: deep poverty, lack of prosecution of criminals, healthcare disparities, and the problems of public education,” Tucker said. “In a city like Philadelphia, we’ve seen the results of 50 years of Democratic control. Just look at the state of the school buildings, for example. But there’s no real reason to improve conditions because it’s presumed the vote is locked in.”

That is a faulty presumption for Democrats, especially in the light of recent polls. According to them, even with numerous indictments hanging over his head, Trump has intact support from the GOP and independent voters who lean Republican regardless of their ethnicity.

A new poll of Pennsylvania voters by Emerson College revealed Trump leading President Joe Biden by 45 percent to 36 percent, while 11 percent plan to vote for someone else and 8 percent are undecided.

So, what should the Republican Party be doing to pull voters into their camp? Both Dix and Hollis were candid with their answers.

“Republican candidates must be compelled to address the urgent need to overhaul underperforming overcrowded public schools in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Hollis said. “The frauds in D.C. cannot continually sell black children’s education at the expense of keeping the teachers’ union satisfied with incremental pay raises knowing darn well the technology, books, and, sadly, even some teachers are so damn substandard. Voters of color must step up and start demanding measurable actions from elected officials instead of just accepting business as usual. It is time to let our vote represent more than just empty slogans, and Republican candidates should fill this void.”

Dix said that cities like Philadelphia have been Democratic strongholds for decades. There has been too much political capitulation by the Republican Party.

“There’s a couple of things they can do. I can’t speak to how they should or how they would, but they can start on the local level,” Dix said. “The fact that there’s been a kind of abandonment in Philadelphia doesn’t speak well. Finding those locales where there is still a base of Republican voters and putting up candidates who reflect those voters, especially voters of color, would be helpful for them to do.

“I think the Republican Party should figure out what their identity of the future is. Even though many are still wildly supportive of a second Trump term, but what does the post-Trump Republican Party look like?”

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Pennsylvania GOP Still Struggling with Mail-in Ballots

This article first appeared in Broad and Liberty

Just days before Pennsylvania’s 2023 municipal election this month, Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas struck a confident tone on mail-in ballots.

“We looked at all the different methods that were being used for voting by mail and how to promote it. And then we unveiled our campaign and I met with the counties and we’ve met with each one individually and we’ve been working very closely with them. And it’s been, as I said, it’s gone far better than I had expected,” Tabas told Battleground Politics reporter Lauren Mayk.

“Our numbers are much better than they were in ‘21 in a municipal year, and our numbers are probably going to maybe exceed ‘22 as well, which is a general election year with a higher turnout,” Tabas also said.

Whatever Tabas’s expectations were, the 2023 election results plainly showed that Republicans in the Commonwealth are still so far behind Democrats in using mail-in ballots that catching up may take years.


A spreadsheet from the Department of State shows that by election day 2022, Democrats returned 718,744 mail-in ballots, compared to 178,609 for Republicans, exactly four times as many.

In 2023, Democrats returned 550,456 mail-in ballots, compared to 142,921 for Republicans — 3.8 times as many.

Whether Tabas and the state party’s “task force” were up to the challenge of radically altering Republicans’ adoption of mail-in voting is debatable, but what is certain is that Tabas knows that utilizing the new voting method is not a theoretical exercise, it’s existential.

“There are a lot of people who can’t get to the polls either because of maybe health or weather or job or family duties. This is a great way in order to be able to vote and participate in the process. We have a lot of people who have not been voting for a while who find this to be very convenient and supportive of this effort that we’re making here,” he told Mayk.

A request for comment to the state GOP seeking details on its “Bank the Vote” task force was not returned.

Voting by mail wasn’t an option for Pennsylvanians until the General Assembly passed Act 77 in 2019, ushering in some of the largest changes to voting the commonwealth has seen in generations.

When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, the expanded use of “no excuse absentee voting” quickly became a de facto full fledged vote-by-mail system, as both parties sought to win a turnout war while hundreds of thousands of voters still had concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in public places — like local voting locations.

Grassroots Republicans have largely lashed out at their own party’s elected officials who passed Act 77.

But rarely discussed is that the Trump White House and the Republican National Committee were urging passage of the bill for strategic reasons of their own.

“In the communications that were taking place between our leadership and the White House and the RNC, the brass ring for them, in their opinion, was getting straight-party voting eliminated,” state Representative Jim Gregory (Blair County) said in 2021.

“In states that had, had [straight-ticket voting] previously and got rid of it, you saw an opportunity for President Trump to be re-elected by a range of four to eight percent. They did not concern themselves with mail-in balloting, and they were fine with that, in the communications that I’ve been told,” Gregory added.

In the run-up to the 2020 election, President Trump pilloried voting by mail.

“Mail ballots, they cheat,” Trump said at the White House in September 2020. “Mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters. They go collect them. They are fraudulent in many cases. They have to vote. They should have voter ID, by the way.”

Most political strategists and observers still credit Republicans’ reluctance to use mail voting to Trump’s continual disparagement in 2020, although he has since shown a change of heart — somewhat.

“In December [of 2022], Mr. Trump told Breitbart News that the GOP has no choice but to ‘live with the system that stinks,’ while maintaining ‘a mail-in ballot will always be corrupt’ and that Republicans should seek to change laws,” a Wall Street Journal report from March noted.

And Pennsylvania’s Republican leadership seems to be of a similar mind.

At a statewide February meeting in Hershey, Republicans adopted two measures related to Act 77, and mail-in voting.

“The first says the party will encourage more of its members to avail themselves of the mail-in voting Act 77 created in order to be more competitive,” Broad + Liberty previously reported. “The second measure affirms the party will try to undo the law when it has the necessary levers of power in state government — circumstances that couldn’t even possibly materialize for another four years.”

Ahead of Possible Senate Bid, McCormick Blames SVB Crisis on Biden Fiscal Policy

Former Bridgewater CEO and possible 2024 U.S. Senate hopeful Dave McCormick slammed what he said was a “decade” of bad monetary and fiscal policy from government leaders that led to recent bank meltdowns.

McCormick made the claim during a DVJournal podcast interview regarding the historic collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and the federal government’s scrambling efforts to contain the fallout.

Acknowledging that “anybody that’s predicting too much” about the crisis “probably is too confident” about the “dynamic situation,” McCormick—who is widely viewed as a likely Senate challenger to incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey next year—argued there are “a set of root causes” that led to SVB’s collapse.

“We’ve had a decade or more of misguided fiscal policy and misguided monetary policy,” McCormick said. “We’ve had fiscal policy that has been enormous spending, and that spending has accelerated dramatically under Joe Biden.

“Discretionary spending has gone up by about 40 percent,” he continued. “You’ve had the three big pieces of legislation, which have added something like $18 trillion of new spending over the next 10 years, and that’s a huge driver of inflation.”

McCormick further argued that “very low interest rates” have driven financiers to adjust their spending and investment practices accordingly, driving them to “lock in long-duration treasuries and things like that in search of yield.

“And when the Fed raised rates to essentially offset the inflation that they helped create, that created a crisis at SVB because those treasuries that they held in their balance sheet went down in value,” he said. “They had to sell capital to try to close the hole, and that spooked their depositors and their depositors started to take out money.”

McCormick called the present chaos “the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problem,” one that “[won’t] go away until we get our fiscal house in order and back to our normal monetary policy.”

McCormick, who is promoting his new book “Superpower In Peril,” is increasingly being viewed as a favorite for the 2024 Senate race, with many analysts and strategists balking at the prospect of another bid by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who lost his gubernatorial bid against Gov. Josh Shapiro last year.

However, a Public Policy Polling survey this week showed Mastriano with a sizeable lead ahead of McCormick in a potential 2024 GOP primary matchup.

PODCAST: Sen. Dan Laughlin’s Bid for Governor Based on Bringing People Together

Click Here for the Delaware Valley Journal Podcast

On this edition of the Delaware Valley Journal “On The Air,” State Sen. Dan Laughlin talks about his plans to run for governor and the pitch he plans to make to Pennsylvania GOP primary voters:

‘Nobody hates me.’

Is there room in the Grand Old Party of 2021 for a consensus-building candidate? Laughlin thinks there is and he explains why.

With DVJournal News Editor Linda Stein and Michael Graham of InsideSources.