The “we eat our own” mentality was in full effect with comments ranging from “You’re a self hating Black man,” to “How dare you give this man a platform,” making us wonder if they’d even read the story, as the thrust of the piece addressed these topics head-on. A pick up in The New York Post gave the article a lot of traction, but as Booher heads into the nitty gritty of the campaign, we caught up with him to see how he has and hasn’t changed and how he weathered the backlash and pernicious commentary from the LGBT and Black communities.
Photo above: Booher and Republican political activist and social media star Candace Owens.
GayNrd: What’s been the feedback you’ve received since the first time we spoke? Thanks so much for sitting down with me again. Honestly, it has been somewhat of a cluster…you can finish it. As a pretty successful black gay man who has created my own path based on excellence, it’s been shocking to learn how little of established politics is a function of excellence. More accurately, it’s based on the preservation of established hierarchies. Something which for our people cannot stand. As I have had conversations across the political spectrum the resistance is truly amazing. Trump ain’t felt nothing yet…try being in a room with an upper middle class woman who sees you as the second coming for the Republican Party until you tell her that the other black Republican who’s married to a white woman and has an Ivy League degree isn’t the norm for black America. And that he might not be the best person to carry the message of addressing the browning of America.
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The other thing that has been interesting is to watch the competition of our political system…as I call it our Coke/Pepsi, McDonald’s/Burger King, GM/Ford model. It is the function of this divide and hate filled climate that seeks to destroy anyone and everything that is not all in. By the way that last pairing is fortuitous—when American car makers were the only 2 options and took their customers for granted is when the foreign car companies came in and walloped us…it was the ascension of Mercedes, BMW, and ultimately Lexus.
I do maintain my original position that the Republican party as a whole has been extremely supportive of me and forgiving of some of my envelope pushing transgressions. I suppose after we spoke, I have subconsciously tested out just how much they really can deal with diversity. Trust me, I have pushed every button in the party, and for the most part they see it has a new kind of Republican. I have spoken across all age groups, ethnicities, socio-economic demographics in my district and my state and have started to build quite the organic following. That has made me happy. My greatest appeal has been with the youth, in particular the group that helps support Dan Crenshaw’s election (Hey Dan!). Dan really opened the door for what a modern conservative Republican is and continues to develop and define it. I was happy to support his youth event with voter registration last month. That being said, my relationship with the Republican leadership that is less evolved is toxic as ever. I must be honest that a great deal of my interactions with them have that X-factor… something that makes you feel like you are a guest in your own home. But as Karl Rove said, they are fossils in a dying version of the party. I don’t take them very seriously. For them, party leadership is a ring that lets them attend cocktail parties and for the most part they are ineffective.
Politics is dirty—really dirty—almost like [notorious East Village gay bar] The Cock at 4AM, when it was on 12th Street in NYC—a dark room of plastic bags and bathroom stalls without doors. However, I see a new day coming—a Tuesday night at Bowery Bar in the late 90’s before 9/11. Ultimately, I think if you are good you can make it. I am excited for the next 12 months.
Above: Booher and U. S.ambassador to Germany, Ric Grennel’s pooch, Lola.
How have you changed since then—in terms of policy prescriptions? What I have become resolved with over the campaign is that Government’s role is not to provide handouts. I think the vast majority of handouts are not necessary with good policy. What does that mean? If we had a system and set of regulations that allowed small businesses to prosper, if we had a set of government agencies set up to encourage, reward and support entrepreneurship then people would be able to create their own jobs, participate in commerce on their own terms and supply opportunity for their family, friends, and community at large. We would not need to do career fairs that result in people getting in debt because the people who sponsored the fairs are for profit schools making false promises. Speaking of, I think we need to rethink the last 2 years of high school. I think people should be able to take courses at the Community Colleges and let those credits count to their high school diploma.
Tell me about how you were hacked and by whom? [Booher’s personal Facebook was hacked with posts that appeared to by him suggesting cocaine use and sex with hustlers when he lived in NYC.] I have been joking about this violation of our campaign. I love to quote Rahm [Emmanuel] on this one “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
I have fans who created fun memes, and even some youtube videos with the whole “It wasn’t me theme.”
But make no mistake, it was a very difficult time for me. We lost some of our financial sponsors who were looking for a reason not to support a gay Black guy, but knew it would look bad if they didn’t. Now they have one. I truly wish I knew. I would ask why? I think if we knew why we could get to the bottom of a great deal of issues in our culture and make us Strong Again.
I don’t want to believe anyone I know could have done such a thing, but we have had to part ways with a number of people who initially worked on the campaign. People who would have had access to our passwords on the email, social media, and messaging accounts. One of these persons was extremely disgruntled as evidenced by a series of aggressive emails sent to the people working on the campaign at that period of time. The person went on to send multiple emails to mutual friends, even some United States Ambassadors who I had been building relationships with to bring international business to the district, and other random people I did not know. We became aware of just how unstable the situation was when one of the people reached out and let me know he and his father had been harassed for over 10 years by this same person and offered the proof of his family’s experience if this turned into something. But again, the reality is there are many people with the skill set to hack an unsophisticated campaign, and in our angry political climate, I don’t put it past anyone. As a result, I don’t think it fair to accuse anyone. Just because a person is batshit crazy doesn’t make them a hacker. I understand that there is now a cloud hanging over the issue of my stability, but we will work to weather this storm and demonstrate our ability to deliver.
Above: Booher and conservative pundits Diamond & Silk.
What’s the next step in your journey towards victory? We are hoping to raise our profile both locally and nationally. Our campaign is an important test for America. The issues that I have faced as a poor black gay kid from Texas who went to Yale, Columbia Business School, worked on Wall Street and now wants to be a politician should be shared. My failures, my fears, my ups, my friends, lovers, family, what I support, how I got here. We are working to develop a number of ‘Now This’ type videos so people can really understand the human part of me while at the same time understanding the issues I will advance and my philosophy of life.
Who are your potential and extant opponents? The current occupant is Senator Boris Miles. He is currently recovering from a kidney transplant. I had heard rumors about his health prior to his announcement. I am so happy that he will be strong again by the time of the general election. I would very much like to have a robust conversation with him about the district next summer. Hopefully we can find an opportunity to debate in the district a few times. I want people to know the difference between an entrenched old boys’ politician and the future.
How do you see your campaign’s meaning writ large in terms of the National Republican campaign for the presidency? Texas Senate District 13 is among the most diverse district in the United States of America. What happens in our district with a black gay Republican candidate will be a blueprint. Internal numbers tell us that we can expect 17% of the vote as Republican. I intend to win, but even if I can get 35% of the vote my race will serve as a guidepost of how Republicans should understand engaging in a browning America. And perhaps they will throw some money behind campaigns like mine and create best practices for the larger party.
Above: Texas Senate District 13
Will impeachment help or hinder your efforts? Like me, the president is a man of his own standing. In so much as the impeachment will expose the corruption that is pervasive in the Democrat party, it will help. However, I think the shitshow that it is will not be good for anyone. We are all watching a mud fight, and I promise you we will all get dirtied by the end of it. I just hope the new generation of politicians like Dan Crenshaw, Ron DeSauntis, AOC, and myself can put America back together again as this dying destructive set of older politicians moves on from power soon enough.