As I offered on this site a while back, Donald Trump has refused to bring the traditional arsenal of GOP nice-nice knives to the Democrats’ down-and-dirty gunfights.
But it is not just Trump’s combativeness which is either refreshing or abhorrent depending on one’s viewpoint that has made him different from previous GOP standard-bearers. He also has the temerity to raise issues heretofore verboten among established Republican Party dicta.
Trump has done the GOP—and the nation as a whole—a service with his outreach to African-Americans…a group long written-off by the GOP, and not without justification. In 2008 Barack Obama received 99 percent percent of the Black vote. By 2012 it was clear that Blacks suffered more than any other identity group under the four Obama years. Yet they still voted for him 95 percent. Certainly racism plays a role in voting for someone who cares less about your problems than you do about his pigment. But so does partisanship as Blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic no matter what. One would have to go back to 1960 to find a Democrat who received less than 70 percent of the “non-white” vote. But the numbers usually are in the high 80s and 90s, even before the age of Obama.
A women holds up a placard with the slogan "Black Lives Matter" as people gather in Brixton, south London to protest against police brutality in the US, on July 9, 2016, after two recent incidents where black men have been shot and killed by police officers. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
And this is where Trump comes in. In the past the GOP approach has been to not squander resources on a group that block votes for their own tormentors. This does 38 million Americans a disservice. Elections should be about choices. After sixty plus years of suffering under monolithic one-party rule, the Black community, especially the inner cities, deserve another option.
Even Michael Moore, hardly a Republican shill, tweeted in March of this year: “Flint [MI] has voted for Dems for 84 straight yrs. What did it get us?”
Some seem to be waking up to a reality that has been obvious for some time: the Democratic Party only cares for minorities on the first Tuesdays of certain Novembers. Democrats have had absolute control over the city halls of every major urban center in the USA for generations and how have these urban centers done?
Take Detroit. In 1960, the last year it had a Republican mayor, the motor city had the highest per capita income of any major U.S. metropolis. After 56 years of one-party rule the population dropped from 1.7 million to 700,000; real unemployment is over 50 percent median household income is $25,193 (half the national average $50,505) and the illiteracy rate is a stunning 47 percent. Mark Steyn points out that last figure matches the illiteracy of the Central African Republic, but in fairness to the CAR, they were ruled throughout the Seventies by a cannibal emperor.
Detroit's decline is not due to economic upheaval in the auto industry alone, although no doubt that contributed. Nine of the 10 poorest cities in the USA have Democratic mayors...some one-party rulings dating back to 1908 (Milwaukee). El Paso actually has never had a Republican at the helm.
Is this a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy? What of impoverished GOP-run states? This is a common counter from the left. But to compare mostly rural states that have always had pockets of abject poverty from their founding to the demonstrable cause-effect relationship that disastrous Democratic policies have had on once prosperous cities like Detroit seems specious.
So as Trump said. What on earth does the African-American community have to lose by trying an alternative?
It’s a tough sell because it’s not the people wallowing in poverty and besieged by rampant violence who have something to lose. Democratic power players in city councils and halls, statehouses and the House of Representatives might lose their jobs if even the idea of an alternative party raises its head. Teachers unions—owned and operated by the Democratic Party as a jobs programs—could lose money, power and perques should the idea of school choice gain real traction. And even preachers who offer themselves up as civic leaders will lose prestige, influence, and donations should Democratic machine be broken.
This is not a partisan slam. Any one-party rule after so many years would most likely yield the same results. If the GOP had been in control unchallenged for decades it is hard to imagine a different outcome. Cliché as it is, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s the nature of political systems. Of the thirty most notable mayoral scandals in the past four decades only four have involved Republicans. The best antidote to corruption and ineptitude is competition.
To maintain their hammer-lock on the Black vote the Democrats must continue to promote the falsehood that institutional racism rather than poor choices put so many Blacks in poverty today. Institutional racism as symbolized by a caricature of the Republican Party as the Monopoly guy elitist that hasn’t been accurate for generations, if ever. Indeed, In 2012 the wealthiest counties voted Democrat.
To even contemplate solutions to the disproportionate poverty rate in the Black community one must first have an honest discussion as to the culture that has caused it. Seventy-two percent out-of-wedlock births is a disastrous figure for any racial group. Consider: the poverty rate among Black two-parent households is a 7 percent. The poverty rate among white single-parent households is 22 percent. So much for "white privilege." Perhaps #BlackLivesMatter ought to be replaced with #BlackFathersMatter or simply #SmartDecisionsMatter.
Don’t expect such common sense dialogue from the party with a vested interest in keeping the Black underclass convinced that racist Republicans have it out for them. In a truly introspective discussion about the problems of the Black community one might be compelled listen to Ben Shapiro who, when confronted in Baltimore about income inequality, argued that culture rather than racism is at the heart it:
“Explain to me why Black kids aren’t graduating high school. Explain to me why Black kids are shooting each other in rates significantly higher than whites; explain to me why 13 percent of the population is responsible for 50 percent of the murders; explain to me why the number of Black kids in prison—not for innocent reasons, not for walking down the street and getting pulled into a prison—is so high; if it has nothing to do with culture explain to me why the single motherhood rate in the Black community jumped from twenty percent to seventy percent in the same course of time that the Civil Rights Movement has made such tremendous strides. Is America more racist now than it was in 1960?”
There is too much at stake in Democratic power circles to ever allow for such an honest dialogue. Yet this is exactly what Donald Trump is attempting to do. And, of course, the same left who view the Black vote as theirs alone have the heads-I-win-tales-you-lose answer ready: When the GOP ignores Blacks they are racist elitists. When they engage Blacks they are panderers and insincere. But for millions suffering in the world one-party-rule has made this is not a game. Entire generations are being lost. Potential squandered. Lives ruined in the name of partisanship.
Yes, Black lives do matter to Democrats...but just one day every two years. Their hash-tag of choice really is #BlackVotesMatter. Donald Trump, whatever his motives, is shining a long overdue light on what decades of Democratic leadership has done for African-Americans. Nothing. Meanwhile the bullets keep flying.
Brad Schaeffer is an energy broker, columnist, historian. Drop him a note at: shafemans@yahoo.
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