With vice presidential sweepstakes taking over the airwaves, Michael Steele’s announcement that he is looking at (read: going to run for) the Maryland governor’s race is small potatoes. But it would be a big deal if he were to win.
Steele first spoke on his desires to run for office for this story in VIBE, from the interview above. I pitched the story as a look at the transformation of the ousted GOP Chairman–from downed politician to popular MSNBC talking head. But Steele was ready to make news. Aside from revealing his political ambitions, he tore into sitting GOP Chairman, Reince Priebus for being a Judas.
When asked if he feels betrayed by his former friend, Steele sits up in his seat, his face drops, and words rush out of his mouth.
“Absolutely. Without a doubt or hesitation,” he says. “He set this thing up for a whole seven, eight months. He was in meeting with me and then would go and probably have meetings with others telling them what my strategy was and they would counter strategy. He was part of my inner circle and I guess they saw him as the weakest link in the circle.”
I thought Steele made big news in our interview with his announcement. I thought the talking heads would have seized on his rant exposing Priebus. But the media and RNC had moved on.
But like many black Republicans, Steele is an idealist and a believer in the GOP. Unfortunately for him, The GOP doesn’t seem to reciprocate with faith.
He should be used to it by now. Black Republicans are mostly viewed with skepticism by whites inside the party as well as the black community at large. Outside of the church pews or billionaire boardrooms, they have a perpetual side-eye following them. That’s why I have written several stories about black Republican candidates, including this one and that one.
I hoped to show that there was something more to the black Republican than the oft-portrayed caricature of the out-of-touch token or the misguided opportunist.
When/If Steele decides to run for governor, he will have his work cut out for him. He’s one of the few prominent black Republicans who is willing to discuss race and inequality. But from within the framework of the GOP, even as governor, is there anything he can do to fix it?