The Loneliness of the Black Female Republican

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NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania—On a warm night in August, a live bald eagle spread its wings behind Kathy Barnette in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Barnette, the Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 4th District, was hosting a meet-and-greet at a zoo in a diverse suburb about an hour’s drive from downtown Philadelphia. The towns of Montgomery County typify the changing American suburbs that have been getting so much attention in 2020: This was once a GOP stronghold, but Hillary Clinton soundly defeated Donald Trump by 21 percentage points here. Since then, Democrats have grown their voter-registration edge, and even the county commissioner’s office is now run by a Democratic majority.

But you might not know from Barnette’s tone that she’s running in a district rated “solid Democrat.” She is campaigning, unapologetically, under the banner of Trumpism.

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