For now it has been taken for granted in American political sphere that racial minorities stand with the political Left and vote for Democratic Party. It’s like a gospel truth that most Blacks and Hispanics always identify with liberal policies and recent immigrants are expected to follow put.
But it is beginning to change in Nigerian American community and some of them are stripping away their liberal identity and replacing it with GOP conservative cards and MAGA caps. With their status as the most educated community in America and income exceeding the average national benchmark, these changes are bound to happen.
Despite the stereotype of Blacks as liberals, Nigerian Americans on paper are quintessential conservatives, but they still vote in great numbers for Democratic Party. But slowly and steadily, it is changing as considerable numbers of them are commencing to reflect their ideology and are now voting GOP.
A prime example is Ejike Okpa, who has become a staunch member of GOP.
“Ejike Okpa, a Nigerian American commercial real estate developer in Dallas who started a PAC called Africans for MAGA, gave his first major political donations to Trump’s reelection: $35,000 in 2017 and $10,000 in 2018. He has always preferred nontraditional candidates, he said — he gave $250 to Obama in 2008 — and he likes that Trump is a fighter and disrupter in Washington.”
“Okpa is now a bundler for Trump Victory and boasts a collection of selfies with the president’s family, a signed copy of Donald Trump Jr.’s book and an autographed thumbs-up photo with Trump. “
“What he stands for, the way he has approached doing things for America, just kind of intrigues me,” Okpa said. “I vote, but when you match that with a financial contribution, it’s an additional show of support and commitment.”
So, what’s happening?
Besides the driving forces of religion and economics; the most important and greatest compelling momentum for the political locomotion in the community is self independence. Nigerian Americans in general and especially those of them with Igbo heritage pride themselves as independent thinkers and abhor herd mentality, to them individualism is everything.
Because minority communities are expected to vote one way will not compel average Nigerian American to follow suit. The confidence of self reliant, hard work and independent can be vividly buttressed on the educational attainment of the community.
“According to U.S. census data, 37 percent of Nigerians in the U.S. had bachelor’s degrees, 17 percent held master’s degrees and 4 percent had doctorates. In contrast, the same census data showed only 19 percent of white Americans had bachelor’s degrees, 8 percent held master’s degrees and only 1 percent held doctorates”
And “among Nigerian-American professionals, 45 percent work in education services, the 2016 American Community Survey found, and many are professors at top universities. Nigerians are entering the medical field in the U.S. at an increased rate, leaving their home country to work in American hospitals, where they can earn more and work in better facilities. A growing number of Nigerian-Americans are becoming entrepreneurs and CEOs, building tech companies in the U.S. to help people back home.”
Many Nigerian Americans are now in higher income bracket and are venturing into private business. Therefore conservative economic policies become attractive especially on taxes and regulations. Nigerian American community is mostly ecumenical Christians which started from their original country and are now passing it to their American children. To certain extent, those liberal subscriptions including abortion on demand, redefinition of marriage and removal of Bible in schools never sit well with majority of Nigerian Americans even among those that vote for liberal candidates.
Despite all these developments, it will still take some work to adjust the liberal voting pattern of the community.