The Democratic Party has failed African-Americans.Ultimately, she argues, both symbolism and substance matter.
Ever since blacks forcefully abandoned the party of Lincoln in 1964 and turned out 94 percent of their vote for President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrats have enjoyed a cozy relationship with a dedicated constituency that has demanded very little in return.
Blacks have repeatedly given the Democratic Party a blank check to do whatever it chooses and still guarantee voter turnout of an average of 88 percent. Thus far, blacks have seen minimal economic return on their investment.
Yes, Trump spoke the truth. Too many African-Americans are living in poverty. Too many of our schools are no good. We have too few jobs. And large numbers of our youth are unemployed.So what the hell do we have to lose by voting for him, he asks? But the question most African-Americans have for Trump is what the hell would they gain?
African-Americans have no idea because Trump has been too much of a coward to look them in the eye and tell them. He turned down several opportunities to speak directly to African-Americans, declining invitations from the NAACP, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Urban League.
Blacks are left to assume that he has no workable solutions to the unique problems that plague African-American communities.
So far, what the Democratic Party has done for blacks has been mostly symbolic. Maybe when the Republican Party figures out a way to put another Barack Obama at the head of its presidential ticket, rather than someone who fueled the birther movement, blacks would happily flock over to the other side.Substantively, Mr Obama has been a failure, certainly overseas, but the two-lies-for-the-price-of-one Affordable Care Act and the non-stimulus stimulus, both enacted with the help of reconciliation, a filibuster-resistant Senate, and a few political favors to Nebraska, for good measure.
In the meantime, it's certainly going to take a better candidate than Donald Trump to make that happen.
And the gentry leadership of the Democrat coalition has been little help to the masses rendered helpless by fifty years of the Great Society and Model Cities and all the other Good Intentions. "Somewhere along the way [Democrats] stopped fighting for the little guy and became the party of the smug, educated elites who look down on those with less education and deem them unable or unworthy of being able to make personal decisions for their own lives." Wishful thinking. There has, all the way back to Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson, been this strain of Four of Five Experts Agree, backed up by, inter alia, policy research demonstrating that a properly informed planner can produce Pareto-preferable outcomes. (Yes, and if such proper information existed, somebody who had it could get very rich, with or without the government as facilitator, but I digress.)
The author, tax attorney Nikki Johnson-Huston, is on a roll.
For so long, as a Black American, I have been told that the problem is Conservative Republicans. While I’ll admit they may have done little to try to improve African-American lives, they also don’t promise to every election season like the liberal elites. Instead we have given our loyalty and votes to Democrats, who paternalistically tell us they want to help us, but we have little to show for it since blacks started voting Democrat back in the 1960’s. I have never lived in a city as an adult that was run by Conservatives or Republicans, but I live in the biggest poor city in the country, Philadelphia. A city, for decades, run by liberal insiders.There's a lot in that passage for a more libertarian aspirant to national office to work with. Stop and frisk, zero-tolerance drug policies, quality-of-life crimes as a way to meet the city payroll come to mind. And yes, having a criminal record doesn't help with the job prospects: neither does presenting as a street thug because some virtue-signaller got tenure in culture studies speculating (there being no such thing as theory when it comes to the humanities) about "authenticity."
The City of Philadelphia is going through a Renaissance thanks to the demand of young White millennials who want to live in vibrant urban areas. We have a thriving higher education community, one of the country’s best restaurant scenes and home values and rent prices are going up while 10 year property tax abatements make owning new and renovated homes in the City an attractive financial investment. We are an unapologetically liberal city and you cannot be elected in this City without black voters. But why is it that the black community is not benefiting from this same Renaissance as their white liberal counterparts?
While the children of our liberal contemporaries attend expensive private universities, how many black men are getting pulled into the prison system because of stop and frisk searches in these supposedly liberal cities? How many so called white liberals have really fought for those civil rights violations to be ended? My own city has a stop and frisk policy in place (even after promises of stopping it), but is also a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. It’s ironic that the liberal elites proudly proclaim the inhumanity of deportation which could break up the families of these immigrants, but they are more than happy to justify the need to send black men and women to prison for minor infractions, thus separating the families of American citizens. Where is the outrage for our families? Oh yeah, you can take the African-American vote for granted, so you don’t need to do more than pay lip service to our concerns.
White liberals posting on Facebook about #blacklivesmatter, white privilege and supremacy are not cleansed of their hypocrisy and elitism because they use the right hash tags. I would urge these same people to get off their iPhones and look around to see the issues they ignore in their own lives. If you’re one of these people, before you cry out in offense, ask yourself where you chose to live and how many of your neighbors, that you know, are people of color. Where do your kids go to school? Who are your friends and colleagues? Who do you see next to you while you’re in your meeting at work? What have you done to change those inequalities? Have you recommended a black friend for a job at your company, or told them about a house for sale in your neighborhood or recommended a talented black child go to your child’s school? Answer these questions honestly and you’ll realize that you might not be who you think you are when it comes to racial issues in this country. Are you are part of the group I’m referring to as smug white liberals and you don’t even know it?
If I were to ask what issues of the Democratic Platform from this Presidential Election would address the issues of the African-American community I’m assuming most liberals would point to criminal justice reform. However, the push for criminal justice reform is coincidentally occurring parallel to the epidemic of opioid abuse in white communities. I would argue this is what is actually driving the policy shift from incarceration to treatment, because the sweeping tragedy of drug abuse that has gripped the black community for the last 30 years, is now affecting the same liberal elites that referred to our family members as predators and criminals rather than addicts deserving of compassion.
Suggesting that blacks stop being Democrats or Liberals would be a waste of my time, but what I am suggesting is that we require white liberals to do more than pat us on the head and tell us they know better. Free programs aren’t enough, nor are they actually free for African-Americans. How many stories have we heard of African-Americans being excessively fined for minor civil infractions or misdemeanor criminal matters? Those fines are used for running a system that not only doesn’t work for our community but many times exposes us to a criminal justice system that causes us to become unemployable or financially decimates our families.
And this American Interest essay suggests both parties are missing an opportunity. The back story: a few people in California are discovering that it's poor government schools, not the minimum wage, rendering the young unemployable.
Many Democrats will join the California Board of Education in regretting this decision, but the political establishment that runs the Democratic Party will stand solidly with bad teachers and against innocent children—because that’s where the money and the power are. For now."Hegemony of regressive socialism." I like it. Perhaps the best policy response is for the suzerainty of the Wise Experts to end. That might be a byproduct of the fracture between vassal and squire, but we're not yet there.
The reason is that the producers of government services—people like teachers, cops, and city hall bureaucrats—tend to be organized, either in unions or in lobbies or both. But the consumers of government services—the kids who depend on public schools and the parents who love them, the clients of dysfunctional welfare bureaucracies, the inhabitants of poorly run public housing projects, the victims of a criminal justice system that routinely puts the convenience of judges and lawyers and the protection of brutal police and prison guards—are not.
The Republican Party, for its part, hasn’t been willing or able to organize the unorganized in American cities and communities, largely because so many Republicans represent those who neither depend on nor produce government services, but rather those who want to pay as little as possible for them.
As a result, with neither party helping, we’ve seen the longterm subjugation of a disorganized majority in many urban areas by an organized minority.
Groups like Black Lives Matter, for all their flaws, at least represent the interests of the people who are badly served by dysfunctional Democratic urban governance. However, these groups generally lack the political ability to do more than protest specific grievances, and the hegemony of regressive socialism leads them to support economic ideas that would only make the cities worse off.
Until that happens, the system will continue to privilege the interests of producers of government services over those who depend on them. That is not OK, and it’s no way to prepare this country for the challenges of a new century.We have much to look forward to.