Congressman Maxine Waters, and several other black leaders, are fit to be tied over the latest Obama bus tour. Media analysts have stated that this bus tour was put together by the administration to secure the white vote. Waters and the other black leaders, are asking their followers if they should criticize Obama for this.
The dirty little secret that everyone knows, and no one mentions, is that the black voting bloc has no political power in modern-day America. For a couple generations now, blacks have voted Democrat to the tune of 90%. Some may cheer this fact, hold their fist high, and say power to the people, but the exact opposite happens when a voting bloc is in the 90% stratosphere.
The Democrats know they have the black voting bloc in the bag, especially with a black president, and the Republicans know they can’t get them in any substantial manner. In other words, blacks are getting ignored by both parties due to their voting patterns. A USA Today columnist once addressed the issue of how blacks could get political power back. He spent a couple paragraphs describing the origin of the problem, a couple paragraphs talking addressing the results of the problem, and a couple paragraphs ruminating over the possible solutions. It was entertaining to watch this columnist dance around the only solution that would most assuredly help black Americans gain political power, and that is to decrease the percentage of blacks voting Democrat. It was like watching a horror movie where the eventual victim screams at the oncoming monster for two minutes. Everyone in the theater is asking the same question, why don’t you just move? Even a tiny percentage, say 5-6% would scare Democrats and embolden and excite Republicans. This would’ve most assuredly been counterintutive to the reason the columnist wrote the column. No, after much soul searching and ruminating, the columnist came up with a solution: A Third Party.
Everyone knows what happens when a third party is developed the result is either total irrelevance or less voice in the political process than that which they started. The whole reason for splintering is lost in the process as the political group they are allegedly splintering from loses the election (see Ross Perot ‘92) (See Ralph Nader ’00). The USA Today columnist was most likely writing more about the threat of splintering, and the effect of such a threat, rather than actually splintering. The question that Democrats would ask if such a threat were actually posed in a substantial manner is: where else are you going to go?
“What’s the Republican party ever done for the black man?” a person on the street asks when asked if he would vote Republican in the next election. The honest answer to that question is nothing…unless you count all of the civil rights acts they voted for prior to the 1964 act, but other than that Republicans don’t usually direct legislation or initiatives towards groups of people.
Martin Luther King Jr. wanted the black voting bloc to have more power in the political process. One of his goals was to have the black vote split 50/50 to have both parties vying for their vote. Unfortunately, 1964 presidential candidate, Senator Barry Goldwater decided that he couldn’t vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Bill that MLK Jr. considered vital to the future of black America. It should be noted that Senator Goldwater was a huge proponent for all of the other civil rights bills put before him prior to ’64, but he believed that the 1964 act provided too much federal intrusion into American life, and he felt it placed undue restrictions on individual businesses. These views cost Republicans not only the 1964 election, but the black vote in all of the generations that have followed. MLK Jr. decided to back 1964 Civil Rights Bill proponent Lyndon B. Johnson, who said, “This will have ‘blacks’ (pejorative term deleted) voting Democrat for the next forty years.” He said this before signing the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Mission accomplished! It’s now been 47 years, and we’re up to 93% as of the last election.
There may be some unrest at this point among the black constituency, but we all know that when November 2012 arrives, blacks will vote Democrat to the tune of 90%, and those in the know know that it will not dip down to 81%, as they are suggesting. Democrats have the black vote in the bag, and Republicans can’t attract them.
Democrats used to, at least, pretend to want to fix the problems that exist in black America. They don’t even seem to be doing that anymore. There used to be issues that Democrats brought up in every election cycle and blacks appreciated it to the tune of 90%. Empirical data suggests that Democrats have never done anything to actually fix the problems that plague black America, but they have always proposed solutions that black America could believe in. The problem for any politician is that if you actually go about fixing the problem, you lose that issue to run on in future elections. If you show you care, if you address it, or pay lip service to it, that’s something a voter can believe in. You don’t necessarily have to do anything about it. You can just demonize those people who call you out on not doing anything by saying at least I tried. You didn’t have a plan. I did.
“What has a Republican ever done for the black man?” the man asks. The answer to the question is that Republicans don’t initiate legislation that favors one group over another. That is called identity politics. Republicans initiate legislation that is generally group free. Republicans initiate legislation that they hope will help the individual and thereby make life better for the greater whole. It’s true, in essence, that Republicans don’t initiate specific legislation for black people, but they don’t initiate specific legislation for caucasians, Asians, Armenian Americans, or Eskimos either. Republican legislation seeks a group blind society that hopes to help the individual, which they hope helps individuals of all races and walks of life. A philosophical, political pursuit of this nature can be a tough sell from a podium however when everyone in the audience is mentally screaming what are you going to do for me?
The question should not be what can a political party do for the black man, but what the black man can do for his party, and the best thing a black individual can do to gain political power is to narrow the gap between Democrats and Republicans. (I hope no one decides to hold their breath until this happens.) As I wrote earlier, if you don’t give Democrats a smidgen of separation anxiety, and you don’t give Republicans a glimmer of hope, no one is going to be beating a path to your door.
I think it can be said, without too much debate, that blacks are a more communal group than most other groups. With this in mind, Republicans shouldn’t get the the least bit excited about the unrest among blacks over Barack Obama, for Republican beliefs obviously don’t sell well in the black community. Blacks appreciate, in voting terms, a candidate that directs attention (see lip service) their way. Most other groups are less demanding in this regard. This has led to a stalemate between black America and the Republican Party. Black America is looking for the Republicans to direct specific legislation to them, and it is antithetical to the Republican party to direct legislation to a specific group. No one wins.