The 2016 November election is swiftly approaching and the race to become President of the United States has become a spectacle to witness.
While there are two other presidential candidates vying to become the next U.S. President, representing the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, recent polls show that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has built up a huge lead over Republican presidential Donald Trump. These two polarizing candidates, who represent the top of the ticket for the two major political parties, have been going after one another practically every day with contentious rhetoric and scathing rebukes, whether at campaign rallies or through social media. The theatrics surrounding this 2016 Presidential election have been nothing short of a political circus.
While Clinton and Trump have been going to blows lately, interestingly Black people have become a central part of each presidential candidates’ campaign strategy, as each candidate has highlighted the importance of the Black vote through their campaign speeches and as part of their overall communications and messaging to potential Black voters.
To delve further, national polls show Clinton holding an extremely large lead among Black voters compared to any other presidential candidate, while Trump holds a lead, howbeit smaller, among White voters. The seemingly insurmountable lead Clinton has among Black voters has not stopped Trump, however, from making a pitch for Black votes in what has come across as one of the most bizarre and seemingly disrespectful ways to do so in recent memory.
At a recent political rally in Michigan, Trump criticized Clinton and the Democratic Party of “taking Black voters for granted,” appealing to Black voters, while in an audience of primarily suburban Whites, saying:
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed – what the hell do you have to lose?”
Trump then doubled-down on his unconventional appeal and pitch for Black votes by telling Blacks, although attendees at the rally were a majority White audience in Iowa, that Clinton was a bigot and that the policies of the Democratic Party were to blame for the current conditions in inner-city neighborhoods, saying:
“As a father, as a builder, as an American, it offends my sense of right and wrong to see anyone living in such conditions. They (Blacks) are living in terrible, terrible conditions. Beyond belief: bad, bad, bad.”
Clinton has since gone on the attack against Trump, accusing him of being a racist and of supporting racists groups and individuals without apology. She has created television ads, sent out emails and produced radio spots that level these accusations against Trump.
In a recent interview, Clinton said:
“From the start, he has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. And it’s deeply disturbing that he is taking hate groups that lived in the dark regions of the Internet, making them mainstream, helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. And what I want to make clear is this. A man with a long history of racial discrimination drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and these kind of white supremacist, white nationalist, anti-Semitic groups should never command our military. If he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?”
This election has literally become a “tug-of-war” for the Black vote.
According to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, “tug–of–war” is defined as “a struggle for supremacy between two people, groups or antagonists to win control or possession of something.”
The two primary people or antagonists vying to win control or possession during this election cycle are Trump and Clinton. The two primary groups are Democrats and Republicans. The thing of value that they are looking to win control and take possession of is the Black vote.
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.
The question is, do Trump and Clinton, as well as the two major political parties, truly want to see Black people become more engaged in the political landscape beyond the upcoming November election, or do they simply want Black people to get out the vote, stay in their lane and then go somewhere and sit down without having their voices heard or issues addressed?
In the midst of all the 2016 presidential race theatrics, the one group that has always been loyal, especially to the Democratic Party, and is often sought after to help push a candidate over the top to victory, have been Black voters. It is no secret that Black voters are the proverbial key to unlock the door for any candidate, especially Democratic candidate, who is running for office – especially those seeking to become the president of the United States.
African Americans historically tend to vote for Democratic presidential candidates in almost every national election – with identical results being mirrored at the local, county and state levels. Although his intentions have been questioned and his method of delivery has been unconventional, many Black people tend to agree with many of Trump’s assertions that the Democratic Party has taken the Black community for granted and has disrespected Blacks, especially when it comes to truly addressing Black issues.
Over the last several decades, Black people have voted for Democratic candidates roughly 94% of the time when it has come to federal and state elections.
I don’t know any political party that would not be salivating at the thought that a specific voting demographic would guarantee them at least 51% of their guaranteed votes every election. That has been the case when it comes to the power of the Black vote – minus the salivation of course. At least until now with the antics of Trump and Clinton and their pursuit of the Black vote.
Prior to Trump, the Republican Party had pretty much conceded the Black vote to the Democratic Party, but Trump has now seemingly put the Black vote back in play again.
Remember, Blacks overwhelmingly supported the Republican Party of old, thanks to President Abraham Lincoln and a Republican Party that fought against slavery and provided Black people freedom through the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. Times did change, however.
It was the Republican Party that chose to embrace and solicit disenfranchised Southern ‘Dixiecrats’ to join their party, in order to expand their base and influence in the South. It was the Republican Party that made it a point to sacrifice Black support by adopting a ‘Southern Strategy’ to expand their base by embracing disenchanted Southern ‘Dixiecrats’ who were strongly in favor of the continued enslavement and ill-treatment of Black people.
As a direct result, the Democratic Party capitalized on an opportunity to provide a new home for a disrespected and disillusioned group of Black people who were kicked to the curb by a Republican Party that no longer considered them politically relevant.
Today is a new day, or at least it appears to be, as we look at this political love-fest for the Black vote. Blacks are more than just a vote. Black people have many things to contribute to the betterment of this nation, politically, and through their involvement with the federal, state and local governments. If Blacks are not respected and continue to be ignored by both major political parties, America may begin to see another mass exodus by Blacks to another political party.
While the President of the United States gets the most attention during a presidential election season, the office of the president is not the only important position on the ballot. Judges, District Attorneys, State Representatives and others help shape the course of the life we live.
Do Black people want to play a major role in politics or do they just want to be told to vote straight-ticket and then go somewhere and sit down somewhere until it’s time to vote again?
The Black vote is crucial to the success of any presidential candidate and candidate for elected office, and the November general election is almost here.
It is beyond time for Black people to analyze who has their best interest and vote wisely.