Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to have invested in, traded, or used a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ether, a Pew poll released this month found.
Among Blacks, 18% have experience with cryptocurrency, while among whites, the comparable figure in the survey was 13%.
The finding may surprise those who associate cryptocurrency with faces such as the Winklevoss twins or the venture capitalists at Andreessen Horowitz.
But the Black interest in cryptocurrency — which is, after all, a kind of free-market, private alternative to government-issued money — is a sign of a deeper Black skepticism about government.
That skepticism has political implications heading into the 2022 and 2024 elections.
Already this year, Virginia voters elected a Black Republican, Winsome Sears, as lieutenant governor. She joins Boyd Rutherford, a Black Republican who is lieutenant governor of Maryland. Another Black Republican, Sen. Tim Scott, delivered the party’s response this year to President Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress.
In that address, Sen. Scott denounced Biden’s spending plans as "a liberal wish list of big-government waste, plus the biggest job-killing tax hikes in a generation." He also denounced Democratic voting legislation as " A Washington power grab," and asserted, "Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams."
Scott, 56, who represents South Carolina, is one of the brightest stars in the Republican Party. If Donald Trump decides to run for president again in 2024, choosing Scott as a running mate could help build excitement and potentially win back some of the Obama swing suburban voters who backed Trump over Clinton in 2016 but returned to Biden in 2020.
Among the other candidates highlighted by Bampac, a nonpartisan political action committee that often backs Black Republicans, are a congressman from Utah, Burgess Owens, and a congressman from Florida, Byron Donalds.
Both Owens and Donalds were first elected to Congress in November of 2020.
Owens is a former professional football player, as is Herschel Walker, another Black Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate seat representing Georgia that is now held by Democrat Raphael Warnock.
The liberal media keeps these politicians mostly a secret because their existence undercuts the narrative that Republicans are a bunch of racists determined to prevent Black voters from casting ballots.
The reality is more complicated.
Over the weekend, reading The New York Times’ own review of its new 1619 Project book, I was struck by how many of the racist excesses the review documents were actually perpetrated by big government.
The review mentions the book’s account of Callie House, who sued the federal government arguing "that the U.S. Treasury owed Black Americans $68,073,388.99 for the taxes it had collected between 1862 and 1868 on the cotton enslaved people had grown."
The review recounts, "Her boldness so infuriated the white Southerners of Woodrow Wilson’s cabinet that they saw to it that House and her attorney were indicted for mail fraud. She served a year in prison."
Wilson was a Democrat.
Is there a more paradigmatic libertarian nightmare than to be thrown in jail on a mail fraud charge for challenging the federal government’s overcollection of taxes?
The Times review goes on, "White Southern Democrats demanded that New Deal programs be crafted to exclude Blacks from most benefits. . . . from 1934 to 1962, 98% of Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgage loans went to white households."
No wonder Black voters have a reserve of skepticism about big-government spending programs. This skepticism about central authority can have a downside — witness the lagging Black rates of vaccination against Covid, which echo Republican reluctance to be vaccinated.
A New York Times news article on Black vaccine hesitance described, "a fear that during these uncertain times they could not trust the government with their health."
The article went on to say that those interviewed "described their own experiences living in decrepit public housing projects or with the criminal justice system as leaving them doubtful they could trust the government."
Skeptics may point out that Republicans haven’t always delivered on small government promises, or claim that a Republican "law and order" message is in tension with the drive for criminal justice reform.
Exit polls show Black voters do usually tend to favor Democrats — though not the farthest left ones: credit Black Democrats for preventing Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., or Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., from winning the presidential nomination.
The basic signs, though, indicate a fertile market niche for cryptocurrency entrepreneurs —and for the Republican Party, if it is shrewd enough to capitalize on the opportunity.
Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of "JFK, Conservative." Read Ira Stoll's Reports — More Here.
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