Markeece Young just celebrated his 20th birthday on Monday. By that ripe old age, his voice has already reverberated across the national political landscape through viral online activism. A college student studying political science at Wake Tech in Raleigh, North Carolina, Young has built a major following across social media platforms as a rising voice for young, African-American conservatives.
Young told Opportunity Lives he has been politically active since 2012; he’s amassed more than 33,000 followers on Twitter at his handle @YoungBLKRepub. He said the highlight of his time so far was this past spring, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president via YouTube. Clinton’s video garnered 1 million views and 90,000 retweets in the first few hours.
But Young responded with social power of his own, creating the Twitter hashtag WhyImNotVotingForHillary, which he reports trended number one in the United States for five hours, even while she was announcing. Media outlets from The Blaze to the BBC interviewed Young about the upset. Democrats didn’t like the pushback, and unleashed a torrent of vitriol at the young pundit.
“I’ve always been a calm guy,” Young said. “I’ve even been attacked in person. I know most people aren’t born with the calm demeanor I have, but I take attacks as a sign I’m doing great things.”
His current pinned Tweet knocks down a stereotype about Republicans and race:
Young told Opportunity Lives that he became Republican because of the first black president, President Obama, who garnered overwhelming support among African-American voters.
“Watching the worship of Obama by other black people scared me a lot,” he said. “I’ve always been the kind of person that sits back and doesn’t jump on a bandwagon. As a kid it seemed like I was the only one who asked what the change Obama was offering was.”
Describing himself on Twitter as a “blogger, activist, visionary and volunteer,” Young explained he believes Republicans have the best solutions for the country because fiscal conservatism “has been proven to work time and time again.”
“States with GOP governors rank at the top for the ‘best places to do business,” he said. “Reagan’s economic plan was able to spur economic growth at huge levels, created nearly 20 million jobs. Liberals tax-and-spend policies are hurting small business owners. We need growth in this country; this is why I believe in the conservative message.”
Young says he grew up in a Democratic family. “I wouldn’t use liberal,” he said. “Many blacks are conservative but they vote Democrat only out of conditioning. My family has moved closer to the Right thanks to me. Many voted Republican for the first time in their lives recently.”
While some may have made a political shift quietly, Young explained that what he called “open bias from my teachers” instilled in him a desire to let other conservative Millennials know “we don’t have to be quiet and sit on our hands. Many minorities including myself would have made the switch faster if we weren’t subjected to attacks for doing so.”
Young said he’s always been “a bit disappointed” with how the Republican Party reaches out to black voters, and especially how early primary states tend to be heavily white (with the exception of South Carolina).
“They don’t put out African-American voices out in the public,” he said. “They don’t make an effort to reach out to minorities; I’ve also heard that they have slashed black outreach budgets.”
“The primary process is outdated,” Young added. “I would love to see more primaries in liberal and conservative states, not swing states. It will benefit both parties as it makes them build an infrastructure in states their parties have given up on.”
Young said he thinks African-Americans are one among many groups that support the Democratic Party in great measure without seeing the whole picture.
“I think many people, not necessarily African-Americans, are Democrats because of exploitation,” he said. “Democrats have done a great job of manipulating basic facts from the past to make them look better among blacks. Many minorities: blacks, Latinos and LGBT are used as pawns today.”
Though he’s achieved results some grizzled political consultants could only dream of, this young activist is just getting started.
“My long term goal is to build a huge youth movement all across America, a movement against big government and the status quo,” Young said. “Success for me is an uptick youth and minority votes for Republicans. I hope to one day be a strategist for the party.”
Criminal justice reform is key issue to reach black voters, Young argues.
“There is no way that you can call yourself a conservative and be against looking at some unfair and oppressive government policies and perhaps changing some,” he said.
“We need to go after black media markets, radio and television. Let’s not show up at minority houses every four years; let’s go every year,” Young said. “Let’s talk straight at them and not sugar coat why the Left has destroyed us for years and why the Right will be better for them.”
Read the original article here on Opportunity Lives…
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for American Enterprise Institute scholar Edward Conard. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.