When the votes are tallied. Various interest groups will look at who voted in what numbers and draw their conclusions. Four years ago, Republicans effectively decided to dismiss any hope of effective outreach to Black voters while simultaneously recognizing their need to grow their base and attract Hispanic voters in particular. They had a goal but no plan to implement it. In fact their immigration policies repelled Hispanics.
Then came a hateful candidate who began his campaign attacking Mexicans which he then expanded along the way to attack Black people, Muslims, the disabled, women and more. The net effect was to wake up a previously latent Hispanic electorate that may cost them Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Colorado and one day Texas. The impact of the increased Latino vote is impressive and definitely a factor in the Presidential race. We would do well to remember that it does not exist in a vacuum. Without the Democratic base of Black voters, college educated White voters, women, Asian Americans, the LGBT and others. The Hispanic vote would not be enough.
Two storylines have emerged in this election. Hispanic vote is way up. Black vote is down. The increase in Hispanic vote is clear and is most likely a direct reaction to the hateful language of Donald Trump and the immigration policies of the Republican Party. The decrease in Black vote is part myth and fails to recognize the actual impact of Voter Suppression laws enacted with that specific goal in mind. Reduction of early voting days, unconstitutional poll taxes associated with meeting new restrictive ID requirements, disparate polling locations and number of voting machines in Black areas. All this against us and still we vote.
It is true that to some degree Black voters have been taken for granted by both Democrats and Republicans. Republicans have ceded their chances to attract the Black vote so they offer Black people nothing. Their candidate and thru their support their Party wants to “Make America Great Again” and we do know what they mean. They have rolled back Voter Rights, they base their future hopes on suppression of voters as opposed to policies to attract a wider base. They protect the rich, the male and the White. They have more in common now with white supremacists and the Klan than they do Black voters not named Carson, Cain or Thomas. They offer nothing to attract Black people and get nothing in return.
The Democratic Party is a group of coalitions, each fighting for their slices of a single pie. Within the party we have representation but not always power. Some of the representatives have fallen victim to placing re-election as their highest priority. Perhaps thinking they can do no good if they lose their next election. If they forego their principles to appease special interests that can support them. They may have stopped doing good already. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and we aren’t squeaking as loud as our voting base merits. We have watched great and welcome recent changes for the LGBT for example while things remain stagnant for Black people. Our vote is being taken for granted but there remains no realistic viable alternative.
The one thing Trump was partially right about is that the system IS rigged. Candidates are recruited, partially because of their willingness to conform to their Party values, suppressing their own. Parties require adherence to certain values, superimposed by a vocal or wealthy segment promoting them. The two major Parties have conspired to suppress the ability of a third or fourth Party to rise and present a viable alternative. The media is complicit in terms of who they provide exposure and telling us daily what is possible and what is not.
It should be noted that many of the Hispanic voters voting for Hillary are registered as Independents. While voting for Hillary, a good sized percentage are voting for Republicans down ballot like Marco Rubio in Florida. Their vote in this election is as much anti-Trump as pro-Democrat. It is prudent and advisable to reach out to Hispanics and bring them further into the fold. It is also prudent to remember the ones that are already with you. Someday, a candidate you don’t prefer or a Party you don’t prefer, will offer meaningful change.
Black political leadership has become decentralized. There is no Martin Luther King or Malcolm X. Emerging leaders advocating against the status quo will be no doubt demonized but will also be heard. Were they to align themselves with like-minded Hispanics, the working class and others. We could change this country for the better. Making it representative of the people and not only the powerful.
I voted for Hillary Clinton and have encourage others to do the same. The alternative was do despicable that there was no viable option. My Democratic vote is not to be assumed or taken for granted. My vote and other Black votes matter more than your collective actions suggest. Our leaders do little to bring an end to voter suppression. They haven’t eliminated hyper mass incarceration. Our police forces operate in secrecy and often literally get away with murder. Our participation and support should come with a list of demands. Time for a change!
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