Meet The Black ‘Trumpsters’ Who Helped Fire Up Minority Voters In 2020

Meet The Black ‘Trumpsters’ Who Helped Fire Up Minority Voters In 2020

For the first time in their lives, Reggie Carr and Johnny Thomas registered as Republicans and voted for Trump in the 2020 election — and they aren't stopping their new mission any time soon.
Helen Raleigh
By

Reggie Carr and Johnny Thomas wear their support for Trump in a loud and daring way. For the six months before the 2020 election, the duo traveled around Colorado in a 45-foot passenger bus, wrapped with their giant photos and “I’m A Trumpster” logo.

Their goal? Winning black voters for Trump in this blue state. In a year race-related issues were front and center, their bold support for Trump stood out, which also explains why leftist media largely neglected them.

Carr is a Colorado native. On the first night after his family moved from Denver to Northglenn, a suburb 10 miles north of Denver, his mother awakened him and his brother because someone threw bricks into their bedroom windows. At the time, Carr was only seven years old.

The first several years living in Northglenn were very challenging, he says. He was the only black kid in his new elementary school until his younger brother was old enough to join him. Then his parents divorced.

Fortunately, Carr has a very strong mother, Jackie Carr. She worked hard to ensure her children received a good education. Reggie Carr credits his mother with keeping him out of trouble, teaching him good values, and most importantly, instilling in him a love for music.

She taught him how to play piano and bass guitar and to write lyrics and vocal harmonies. Carr began to thrive in Denver’s music industry. He later moved to Atlanta and founded his own music production company.

Thomas, who is also black, had a much different life. He was born in Florida and grew up in Atlanta. He told me that, growing up in the South, he was surrounded by so much love and southern hospitality that he doesn’t recall ever experiencing any discrimination.

Thomas says he has a loving and deeply religious family, and his grandparents built a church his family still attends every Sunday. His dad is the reverend, and his mom sings in the choir. Thomas thrives in Atlanta’s vibrant music industry as a singer. He was first signed by Bill Lowery Music Publishing and later by Sony.

Carr’s music production company signed Thomas for a while, and that’s how the two met and became friends. Neither Carr nor Thomas were political before 2016. Neither had registered to vote nor joined any political party. Their political awakening came in a very unexpected way.

Becoming The Trumpsters

One day while working in the studio with the TV on in the background, Carr heard then-candidate Donald Trump discussing the need to protect American intellectual property (IP) rights in China. This caught Carr’s attention because his production company had lost a lot of money in China due to the country’s rampant music piracy. Carr immediately called Thomas, who also felt strongly about IP.

“Selling our music without paying us is like stealing food from our children’s plates,” Thomas told me in an interview. “It is just wrong.” They were glad Trump took a stand against China’s IP theft, and decided to do some research on Trump. They liked what they found.

They agreed with Trump’s policy proposals of putting America first, building a strong border, and being tough on China, and they saw him as a tough leader with a strong backbone, willing to fight for what he believes. The duo even found Trump’s communication style endearing, appreciating a leader who sounded like a straight-shooter and spoke what he thought with little regard for political correctness. Trump, they concluded, was the “real deal.”

Their research on Trump also led them to develop a better understanding of conservatism. They told me black people have been conditioned to vote for Democrats, but they found conservatism’s emphasis on faith, family, country, and personal freedom to match the types of values they had been brought up with. By the time they finished their research, it was too late for them to register to vote in the 2016 election — but they were thrilled Trump won.

About a year or two into Trump’s first term, Carr was glad Trump was delivering his campaign promises on criminal justice reform, trade, immigration, and the economy. He was shocked, however, by Democrat and leftist media’s hostility and relentless attacks on Trump. Carr decided he must do something to help his president.

Carr and Thomas founded the I’m A Trumpster website, a platform to combat fake news and distribute clothing and accessories with the “I’m A Trumpster” logo. Once word got out that they had become Trump activists, many of their personal relationships took a hit. Carr said his family stopped inviting him to family functions, and while Thomas still has his family’s support, he says he did lose some friends.

Their activism took a giant leap on Nov. 8, 2019, the day the Trump campaign launched the “Black Voices for Trump” initiative in Atlanta. In a packed conference room inside the Georgia World Congress Center, Carr and Thomas joined hundreds of like-minded black Trump supporters in listening to the president’s call to action: Go to blue states and swing states, and win over minority voters.

From the Ground Up

Carr and Thomas took Trump’s call to action to heart. They decided to get a bus, wrap it in photos and their Trumpster logo, and turn it into a motorcade for the “Minorities for Trump” campaign tour in blue Colorado. Without any support from the state’s Republican Party or big donors, their tour was a financially challenging endeavor from the beginning. The duo had to fund their campaign, including the bus and its wrap, a professional bus driver, and other campaign materials, either by themselves or through grassroots fundraising.

Kim Monson, a local radio show host, helped spread the word and organize a number of fundraising events. Eventually, Carr and Thomas got their bus and wrapped it the way they wanted.

Just when they were ready to hit the road, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but still, the duo was undeterred. In the six months leading up to the 2020 election, they traveled all over Colorado in their giant bus, stopping by minority neighborhoods, handing out campaign materials and masks with their “Trumpster” logo, and talking to voters about Trump’s policies and conservative values.

They told me one of their best experiences was last summer at the Bandimere Speedway racetrack, where they were invited to park their bus at the finish line. The audience welcomed them with endless cheering and applauding, and everyone wanted to take a picture with them and get their autograph. It felt like a homecoming.

Of course, they have also had plenty of bad experiences. Carr told me that when their driver was taking the bus for a test drive around the block in their neighborhood near downtown Denver, a white woman in a car followed the bus, blasting a “F-ck Donald Trump” song from her stereo. When a Latino driver used his SUV to block her from following the bus, she began to shout profanities at all of them and called the police for help.

“She probably supports defunding the police,” Carr said, chuckling. “But guess what was the first thing she did when she was in trouble? Calling the cops.”

‘Fight for Our Future’

Speaking of cops, I asked Thomas and Carr how they felt about this summer’s protests against police brutality. Both men have family in the police force, and the duo told me unequivocally that the men and women in blue uniforms are the real heroes in our society.

Carr even got a little emotional, saying, “They [police] put their lives on the line every day. Other people run away from dangers, but they run toward dangers.” Thomas added that he knew that cops kill in the line of duty more white people than black people, and that more black Americans die in black-on-black crimes than at the hands of law enforcement officers. He wishes people would do more independent research and learn the truth rather than believing fake news media and Black Lives Matter activists.

When I asked them what they believe is the biggest challenge for America’s black community, Carr answered: “Our community lacks economic freedom. Democrats want to rule minorities by keeping them dependent on their handouts. Democrats give you fish so they can always control you, but Republicans want to teach you how to fish. True freedom is economic freedom.” He added that he wishes black people would work together, develop black entrepreneurs, and grow black-owned businesses, so their communities can accumulate wealth and thrive economically on their own. Thomas agreed.

For the first time in their lives, Carr and Thomas registered as Republicans and voted for Trump in the 2020 election. They believe their activism made a difference. Post-election data indicates more minorities voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016.

While the campaign season has come to an end, Carr and Thomas are not going to stop their activism. They just started their own radio show and launched IMA Super PAC. They plan to use the PAC as a platform to produce music and documentary films to “educate minorities about the value and benefits of being a conservative.” Carr said the GOP still doesn’t do a good job of attracting young minority voters, which is where he and Thomas can add the most value.

“We know how to get young minority voters,” Carr told me before we parted ways. “We must energize the youth and fight for our future!”

Helen Raleigh, CFA, is an American entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. She's a senior contributor at The Federalist. Her writings appear in other national media, including The Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Helen is the author of several books, including "Confucius Never Said" and “Backlash: How Communist China's Aggression Has Backfired." Follow her on Parler and Twitter: @HRaleighspeaks.

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