Louis Capozzi | Interview with West Philadelphia RNC Delegate Calvin Tucker
Calvin Tucker is an RNC Delegate representing Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a part of a Pennsylvania RNC delegation that has strongly supported Donald Trump. 70 out of 71 delegates voted for Trump, even though 54 of the state’s delegates were unbound and could choose whatever candidate they wanted. I sat down with Tucker for an exclusive interview where we discussed the RNC, the division of the GOP, and Trump. Since Tucker is a black delegate and the PA 2nd Congressional District is over 60 percent black, we also discussed Trump’s miniscule support with black voters. Also, Tucker gave his take on why black voters should support Donald Trump.
LC: The media is widely reporting that there is serious division with the Republican Party and that there is little enthusiasm for Trump. How divided do you think the Party is?
CT: No I don’t think it’s divided. That’s why you have a Convention, so that people can get together and share concepts and ideals. And ultimately, at the end of the day, on Thursday night after we hear our candidate for President, you’ll see that the Party will coalesce behind him and we’ll go out of the Convention very unified on to November to elect Donald Trump the next President of the United States.
LC: So you would say that the media is overstating the extent to which the Party is divided?
CT: Oh absolutely. I think they are; they don’t see what I see as a delegate. They’re looking for stories and many of them are fabricating some stories. All that I’ve seen is that people are trying to understand how to work with a candidate who’s outside the Party, what that’s going to mean when they go back home so they can carry a unified message about our candidate.
LC: There are also media reports that the Trump Campaign is applying pressure to the delegates to support him. Has the Pennsylvania delegation encountered such pressure?
CT: Obviously, every delegation wants to make sure they have the sufficient votes to cast and to know what those votes are. We want to make sure we know how people are going to vote for a particular candidate. But as you saw on the floor the other evening, every candidate got their share of votes that were earned in the primary.
LC: All but one of Pennsylvania’s delegates supported Trump, even though most weren’t formally bound to do so. Why is Trump so popular with the PA delegation?
CT: I can speak for Calvin Tucker, and I serve and work within an urban community and an underserved community. And I think what he offers as a builder is right on target for what we need to eradicate the deep-seated problems in our community: economic distress, unemployment, underemployment, lack of entrepreneurs, health disparities, wealth that’s non-existent on average when you talk about places like West Philly, South Philly North Philly, lower Germantown. If we can get a candidate that’s business-oriented, that knows how to create companies and employees, that will help eradicate some of the problems that exist, not only in Philadelphia but in all urban centers around the country.
LC: A recent NBC poll of Pennsylvania voters found Donald Trump earning 0 percent of the black vote. So speaking as a black delegate for the GOP, why should black voters in Philadelphia consider voting for Donald Trump?
CT: Well first off, NBC didn’t call me, because I’m supporting Donald Trump. So I think that disproves your theory that no one supports Donald Trump. African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans should support Donald Trump because he’ll help provide the solutions to many of the problems that we face. For 64 years in Philadelphia, Democrats have been in charge, and yet we are #1 in poverty and deep poverty of the ten largest cities in the United States. Now, if the Democrats were so magical, then these things would not exist. Some of Trump’s urban initiatives — and they’ll unfold additional urban initiatives — will help alleviate the economic pressure we face every day. And if you can ease the pressure economically, you can ease the pressure socially. Some of the social unrest that we see, blacks killing blacks, and other ills that are affecting our society can be alleviated by a man and a woman having a child. We need to look at Donald Trump.
Secondly, it’s about political leverage. If 95 percent of us are supporting the Democratic Party, they’re going to take us for granted, as they have been. And if you’re 5 percent in the Republican Party, you don’t count, since you’re not a block of votes. So we need to be more politically equal so that we have some leverage, we can force, through our electoral process, both Democrats and Republicans to the table to deliver services that are badly needed in our community.