Hanging With Young Black Republicans on Election Night


Brandon Brice and Tiffany Shorter, young Republicans

Last month, the Voice watched the VP debates with a group of young, black Republicans. So the members of extended an invite again to watch the election night returns with them at Dewey’s Flatiron, where the all-inclusive McCain Manhattan had reserved the top balcony.

The night was to go as follows: hang at Dewey’s with the Republican majority, then win or lose, head to Harlem to bask in the night’s historic event with “our people,” explained 25-year-old junior economist Brandon Brice. Here’s how it actually ended up.

9:30 pm. Brice and Javier David spoke with reporters from the international press about the election, why they voted McCain and what might be in store for the country with Senator Obama as president.

McCain/Palin banners hung from the balcony of Dewey’s Flatiron.

By 11pm, the banners had become placemats. And Brice’s hopes had been deflated.

“Goodbye democracy, hello Socialism,” says a dejected Brice. Don’t worry, there are captions.

12:11am. Grappling with the outcome, Brice retreated to Londel’s Supper Club in Harlem’s Striver’s Row for free drinks and soul food and where a few of Brice’s Democratic friends were watching the results. Aside from Brice, there wasn’t a Republican in sight.

The scene was emotional. The African-American crowd remained glued to the TV as President-Elect Barack Obama made his acceptance speech.

Not even in office yet, Obama has already sparked a merchandising boom. Here outside Londel’s, this man suggested the Voice pay him $10 just for taking his picture.

12:30pm. By now, Brice opted to head home. (The night—and defeat—was getting to him.) Wanting to see the scene in Harlem, the Voice headed to 125th’s State Building where a JumboTron screen and bleachers had been erected for an outdoor viewing. On the corner of Frederick Douglas and 125th, now closed to traffic, independent businessmen made a killing selling Obama shirts, hats, and buttons. It felt like New Year’s Eve.