- John Haltiwanger/INSIDER
- Candace Owens is confident Donald Trump will persuade black voters to leave the Democratic Party.
- Owens, a self-declared conservative convert, believes she can lead a mass exodus of black voters from the Democratic Party.
- “The left hates America, and Trump loves it,” Owens said. “That’s why people flocked to him.”
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Candace Owens, director of communications for the conservative advocacy group Turning Point USA, is confident Donald Trump will persuade black voters to leave the Democratic Party.
“I’m telling you, Donald Trump is going to be the Republican president who’s going to crack the black vote,” Owens told INSIDER in late December at Turning Point USA’s annual Student Action Summit here.
“You can put that in writing,” she added.
‘There’s no bad blood between me and Kanye’
In the past few months, Owens has made headlines over a movement she’s dubbed “Blexit,” especially in relation to her interactions with rapper Kanye West. Owens, a self-declared conservative convert, believes she can lead a mass exodus of black voters from the Democratic party.
Earlier this year, West was flirting with embracing the Blexit movement around the time of his infamous Oval Office meeting with Trump in the fall. A few months earlier, in April, Owens gained attention after West tweeted, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”
But after Owens was quoted by the New York Post as saying West designed T-shirts for Blexit, he disavowed the movement and said he was stepping away from politics altogether.
- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Owens has denied saying West designed the shirts, but still apologized for how things panned out.
She told INSIDER she’s promised West not to talk about the situation, given his professed desire to step away from politics.
“You’re not allowed to put one foot into politics,” Owens added regarding West. “If you’re going to be into politics you have to fully embrace this is going to be every layer of your life. I think for him he took it as far as he possibly could before it started maybe perhaps affecting other areas of his life.”
Owens said she thanks West “greatly” for his contribution and said there’s no “bad blood” between them.
“I think he did more for the conservative movement and for black causes than any person that’s come out of Hollywood has ever done,” Owens said.
Despite the complicated situation with West, she is confident black voters can be persuaded to leave the Democratic Party.
‘Telling us the other person is racist is the only way they seize the black vote’
“All I have to do is show black Americans the trend, of how it started from the very beginning. How every four years, [Democrats] don’t talk to us about the issues in our community. … They talk to us about issues they create in our community and tell us to hyper-focus on things they’re never going to fix,” Owens said.
Owens said Democrats repeatedly win over black voters by emotionally manipulating them with discussions of police brutality, which she said is “not a major issue facing black Americans today,” and other racially charged topics.
She rejected the notion she’s painted the vast majority of black voters as an irrational cohort, and she said they’re simply not being “taught the issues.”
“It’s the race issue in general,” Owens said. “Race and scaring us in terms of race and telling us the other person is racist is the only way they seize the black vote.”
“And look, where are we at? Black Americans are doing worse off economically today than we were doing in the 1950s under Jim Crow. How is that possible? We’ve only been voting for one party since then,” she added.
It’s unclear what Owens was referring to in this regard. The black unemployment rate in 1954, the earliest year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistent unemployment data by race, was 9.9%. Today, it’s roughly 5.9%, according to the latest available data.
Owens also went on to say that Trump has already made things better for people of color, referencing the low unemployment rate for black Americans.
But fact-checkers have repeatedly noted the black unemployment rate began to fall drastically under former President Barack Obama, saying the low rate under Trump is largely a continuation of that trend.
‘The left hates America, and Trump loves it’
Owens believes Trump will win over black voters because he has a more positive, appealing message. She’s not concerned Trump currently has a 10% approval rating among black Americans, according to Gallup.
“The left hates America, and Trump loves it,” Owens said. “That’s why people flocked to him.”
“They’re destroying everything through this cultural Marxist ideology, and Trump is the opposite of that, and that’s going to catch because it feels better,” Owens added.
She said the media’s a big part of the problem, as well, and too often makes broad generalizations about Trump, especially when it comes to race.
“Show me where Trump is racist? If he is racist he’s failing at it miserably,” Owens said.
When asked whether she found it problematic that far-right groups have often praised Trump, such as when the Ku Klux Klan’s official newspaper endorsed him for president in 2016, Owens said Antifa is more prevalent than the KKK.
‘The KKK is one of those mirages you guys pretend is back and well’
“The KKK is one of those mirages you guys pretend is back and well. If you want to talk about gangs that actually do have an impact let’s talk about Antifa,” Owens said. “I’ve never in any place that I have spoken … seen KKK members show up in white hoods. This is what I’m talking when I say ‘the politics of fear.’ It’s what you’re doing right now. ‘Shouldn’t we talk about the far right, KKK?’ No, they’re nowhere.”
“I haven’t seen a person in a white hood anywhere in my entire life. I see Antifa every single place that I go to speak,” Owens added. “Let’s talk about Antifa. Let’s talk about people that are yelling at black police officers calling them race traitors. Let’s talk about gangs … where black people are speaking and are eating in restaurants and chasing us out of it. If you want to have a conversation let’s have a realistic one.”
Owens and Turning Point USA’s president and founder, Charlie Kirk, in August were driven out of a Philadelphia restaurant by a group of demonstrators who said they were part of Antifa – an amorphous collective of anti-fascists known to engage in vigilante violence. At one point, the protesters poured water on Kirk. They both declined to press charges.
Antifa was nowhere to be seen in West Palm Beach.
‘All of the violence this year primarily happened because of people on the left’
Owens was also dismissive of recent reports showing hate crimes are on the rise and linked to the far-right.
“All of the violence this year primarily happened because of people on the left,” Owens said. “There’s nothing in the press about people beating and bludgeoning people who support Trump.”
According to a November analysis from The Washington Post, researchers have found at least 20 people have died in 2018 so far in suspected right-wing attacks, while one person has died in an attack that may have been motivated by left-wing ideologies.
‘I don’t think Trump is a Republican’
When the conversation shifted to 2020, Owens said Trumpism would live on even if the president isn’t reelected. She suggested this is because Trumpism, as a movement, is becoming bigger than the GOP.
“I don’t think Trump is a Republican,” Owens said. “He ran on a Republican ticket, but no, I think Trump represents his own sort of emergence of a more independent party that holds conservative beliefs.”
“There’s something happening in this country where people are tired of the mainstream media lying,” Owens said. “People are tired of feeling used and feeling ashamed to be American.”
Owens said the education system is teaching Americans they’re “terrible, horrible people” and that they should “feel guilty about everything,” including being white, male, and straight.
“That’s what the left is selling. It’s not a good feeling,” Owens added. “Donald Trump is returning to America when he says ‘Make America Great Again’ … It’s a sense of pride and of being proud to be American, and we are a country that has done so much, and there’s nothing wrong with loving the country you live in.”