Blacks: The Proverbial Political Piñata

When it comes to politics in this country, there is one thing that seems to be a constant – the Black vote is an important vote that makes a difference.

It is no secret that African Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democratic candidates in mostly every national election, with identical results in local and state elections.

African Americans make up roughly 13% of the overall population in the United States, and tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic in most elections.

Even in elections where the race is supposed to be nonpartisan, Blacks tend to vote for the candidate that self-identifies as a Democrat.

While, this is fine, what is not fine is the way Black people get treated after they vote for many of these candidates – regardless of political affiliation.

I was bothered at the way Black people were seemingly vilified by people who blamed Black voters for the outcome of the H.E.R.O. ordinance failing.

Although there was a huge turnout by conservative voters in this most recent open-seat mayoral election, Blacks were targeted as being the blame for the ordinance demise.

Most of the blame was placed on Black people by many people and many groups that traditionally self-identify as….wait for it….Democrats.

Black people are often sought after and courted, with the hopes of securing their support, when it comes to candidates and issues. Blacks are typically courted with the same methods and with limited resources, but that sacred vote being cast means so much – that is until the vote is cast.

The way Black people are treated, it is as if we have become the Proverbial Political Piñata.

You know what a Piñata is right?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “Piñata” is “a decorated container filled with candies, fruits, and gifts that is hung up at parties or celebrations and hit with a stick by blindfolded persons until it is broken and the things inside it fall out.”

Sadly, Black people are treated like the treats inside the container that get treated any kind of way, except during the times when they are courted for their precious and valuable votes.

When the results don’t go the way they were supposed to go…blame the Blacks for the results.

When the results do go the way they were supposed to go…celebrate the results, reap the benefits and then essentially ignore the Blacks after the election is over.

Because Black voters overwhelmingly vote for Democratic candidates, it would make sense for the Democratic Party to avoid treating Blacks like a piñata and taking them for granted.

History shows us that Blacks used to vote heavily Republican between the Civil War and through the early part of the 20th century.

One key factor for that was Republican President Abraham Lincoln, who passed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Back then, the Ku Klux Klan attacked Blacks and threatened them not to vote and not to support Republican candidates. In addition, the Democratic Party, at that time, did not solicit Blacks to be a part of their party, primarily because the majority of their party members were White, segregationist politicians who governed Southern states.

Most of the Blacks who lived in the South were mostly prevented from voting, and it wasn’t until 1924 that Blacks were even permitted to attend Democratic conventions in any official capacity.

It wasn’t until 1948 – when Harry Truman received roughly 77 percent of the Black vote – that many Blacks began to self-identify as Democrats, but not all Black people.

Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower got 39 percent of the Black vote in 1956, and Richard Nixon got 32 percent of the Black vote in 1960. But when President Lyndon B. Johnson championed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, and his Republican opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater, opposed it, Johnson received 94 percent of the Black vote that year.

The following year President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law and ever since, no Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 15 percent of the Black vote.

Blacks are more than just a vote and have many things to contribute to the betterment of our nation, and to our state and local governments – but we must not be treated like political piñatas.

Black people need to receive the same type of support and political respect as all other groups of people in this country.

If Blacks aren’t respected and are continuously treated like political piñatas, then Blacks may become galvanized to the point where they either switch political parties or create their own – whatever it takes to avoid becoming a political piñata.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at jboney1@texasbusinessalliance.org.