Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why Do Blacks Vote Mostly For Democrats?

*This post goes hand in hand with the post below. If you haven't read that post, please scroll and down and do so, and then come back to read this one!

Several commenters on my blogs have been asking me why I think blacks started voting for Democrats in such great numbers. I was sitting in my living room Sunday morning thinking about this and as I was thinking about it, the answer literally came on the T.V. screen.

CNN was interviewing Jesse Jackson. They were asking him if Obama was doing enough for the black community and inner city problems. Jackson smoothly muted his criticisms of Obama, and said that just as the banks received stimulus money, the urban areas need stimulus money as well. Interestingly, I saw Jackson interviewed on BBC world news when I was in Mexico. His criticisms were the same, but were not in muted tones. He was openly critical of Obama. It was a stark difference, and I wondered why he decided to tone down his rhetoric so much.

But I digress. The CNN host played the speech that Jesse Jackson gave at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. At this time Jesse Jackson was THE leader of the black community, barring none. He was charismatic and sincere. Remember, Jackson had been standing beside Dr. Martin Luther King when he was shot. He had held Dr. King's body. Dr. King's blood was on his suit. The black community was completely connected to Jesse Jackson. They looked at him as continuing Dr. King's dream. They looked to him for leadership, and saw him as a point of true change in politics for blacks.

In this rousing riveting 1984 speech, Jackson urges black Americas to vote for "progressive whites." He said, "When black folks vote in large numbers for progressive whites, we win. When progressive whites win, we win, and when when we win, mothers win, children win. We all win." He had been this kind of leader to them for 20 yrs before that, and had been preaching this same message for blacks that entire time. Jesse Jackson had spent years in cities across the country personally bringing blacks to register to vote in their hometowns. He brought hundreds of blacks to the court house in Jackson Mississippi in 1974 (I think that was the year) to register to vote for the first time. I know this because my father was Circuit Clerk at the time, and ran the courthouse. He kept the courthouse open after 5pm in order to register them all. I passed out voter registration forms to the crowd. Now, who do you think those blacks voted for when they did vote? Liberal Democrats of course.

So here was the answer I was pondering. You can think what you want about Jackson now, but at the time he was the personification of the continuing dream of black Americans to succeed and to prosper. Jackson urged black Americans to vote for liberal Democrats and they did. In droves. I don't think we can measure the profound impact Jesse had on the future of blacks in the Democratic party. Meanwhile, Republicans were ignoring the black community and allowing Democrats to paint Republicans as racist. It all adds up to what we have today in voting patterns in the black community.

But the segment on CNN got even more enlightening. As CNN is interviewing Jackson they put up a graph of poverty, unemployment, and single parent numbers in black America today compared to the numbers in 1984, when Jackson made that famous speech. The numbers were almost exactly the same. The CNN host asked Jackson, "Does this mean that there is still so much to be done?" After that, they played another part of Jackson's 1984 speech where he was encouraging the black youth to strive for success, urging them to not drop out of school, not to use drugs, don't let poverty keep them from a greater purpose. CNN then played a clip of Obama's speech to the NAACP last week with similar language and the same message. The CNN host asked Jackson, "Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or does this mean we just have far to go for real equality for blacks in America?" Jackson just stayed on message about the needs in the urban community for stimulus money. The real question that needed to be asked, wasn't asked.

What was ignored in this interview was the glaring fact that after Jackson implored black Americans to vote for liberal Democrats in that 1984 speech, and they did, NOTHING has changed for them regarding poverty levels, unemployment, and single parent households here in 2009. So much the same, that the speech Obama gave to the NAACP last week almost mirrored the speech Jackson gave in 1984.

And this clarifies exactly what I have been saying all along. Jackson turned out to be completely wrong in that 1984 speech. Blacks didn't win. Black women and children didn't win. The are still mired in the same problems today that they were mired in in 1984.

So, despite Obama's historic election, Republicans today have that truth to use to encourage and ask the black community to return to the party that did effect great change for them in history at one time. When Republicans were fighting for blacks in the 1800's and through to the 1950's and early 60's, it was then that blacks won the most equality, the most freedom, and the most liberty.

This should be our message. We are the party that will lift the urban black out of poverty, drugs, and broken homes. The Democrats have clearly shown that they cannot do this.

If we can clearly articulate this and, most importantly, address the problems in urban and poor areas, then we can bring black Americans home to the Republican party.

Lastly, I stumbled upon this while surfing today. I think you will enjoy it:

Letter From a Black Repubican