Are Blacks Becoming Politically Irrelevant?
By Dr. Harold A. Black
In this election cycle, there has been a notable swing of Latino voters to the Republican party. One reason has been abortion. Fifty-five percent of Latinos are Catholic and the shift has signified the Latinos displeasure with the Democrats’ stand on abortion. Also a shift has occurred amongst Latinos along the southern border as a reaction against the open border policies of the Biden administration. Latinos have also left the Democratic party because the Democrats are largely pandering to blacks while ignoring Latinos.
Black voters have largely remained loyal Democrats even though there has been some movement of black males to the Republicans. Polling has shown that black voters are primarily concerned with crime, inflation, healthcare, and education which should imply a more sizable shift to the Republicans. The surge in crime has occurred mainly in Democrat-run cities partly due to the low bail agenda of many Democrat district attorneys. Inflation was triggered by the profligate spending policies of the Biden administration along with its war on domestic energy. Since education is important to the black electorate, Republicans should emphasize charter schools as an alternative to the failed public school system where most black children are being held captive. That charter schools are important is illustrated by the first campaign for governor by Florida’s Ron DeSantis. He campaigned as a strong advocate for charter schools while his Democratic opponent (who was black) was against charter schools. The percentage of black voters who voted for DeSantis was decisive in a close election. I was amazed that every Republican candidate did not emphasize education in this campaign. Yet few did.
Inflation is an important issue to both blacks and Latinos who generally have lower incomes than do whites and are more adversely affected by price increases given that a higher percentage of incomes are spent on basic necessities. This too seems to me to be an important issue for emphasis. Placing the increase in prices squarely on the Democrats should persuade black voters to reconsider their allegiance. Certainly, inflation, crime and education impact minority populations greater than whites. Every campaign ad should stress these points ad nauseum.
It has been said that black voters have generally been ignored by the Republicans and taken for granted by the Democrats. It is ironic that Donald Trump, roundly cited as being racist by the Democrats and the mainstream media, made inroads primarily with black male voters. Yet Joe Biden still garnered 90 percent of the black vote. Stevie Wonder’s “Big Brother” said it best: “I live in the ghetto. You just come to visit me ‘round election time.”
If the concerns of black voters are obvious the question is why aren’t the Republicans addressing them? They may think it is no use, that black voters will vote Democrat regardless. This is despite that while Democrats make sympathetic clucking noises, most problems faced by blacks are a product of Democrat policies. The failing schools are in large part due to the teachers’ unions being more interested in wokeness than in education. Ninety-five percent of the union’s contributions go to the Democrats. The sharp increase in crime is tied to actions like no bail and defund the police. Inflation is squarely on the Democrats. While the Republicans have emphasized the economy in this election – and the economy is the number one issue for all groups – they have not drilled down to its adverse impact on minorities.
In a sense, both parties are ignoring blacks. The Democrats continue to take blacks for granted while the Republicans are assuming that just a small shift in those who consider the Democrats at fault will be enough to win elections. However, I think the reason is that blacks are on the verge of becoming politically irrelevant. Latinos are now the largest minority in this country and have become more important politically than blacks. Even though they are currently underrepresented in the Senate, House and governorships, that will change going forward. Also where Latinos are a significant number of voters, their politicians have little interest in aligning themselves with blacks. Just like areas where there are concentrations of Jewish voters and areas where there are large Muslim populations, blacks will remain important in some cities and states where they constitute a majority or significant minority. However, their overall importance is being diminished. In the future, even the Democrats may not only “come ‘round at election time.”