Feedback
News

OpEd: Party Leaders, if You’re Reading This it’s Not Too Late

The problem with politics is... it's politics.

The two party system that dominates our democracy has yet to figure out the value of African-American voters and both parties are at fault.

To a degree, African-Americans might best be described as a people without a party. Yes, I know, African-Americans historically vote democratic but that habit remains unbroken because no other party has come around to seriously challenge it.

In Tuesday's election, according to NBC News exit polls, 88 percent of black voters went for Clinton and only 8 percent voted for Trump. (In 2012 Barack Obama won 93 percent of the black vote, and Mitt Romney took 6 percent. In 2008 Barack Obama 95 percent of the black vote, with John McCain garnering 4 percent of black votes.)

The Democratic party creates an "enthusiasm gap" by disappearing and reappearing when there is a Presidential election. Democrats treat African-American voters like a foregone conclusion. As a result of this approach, the Democratic Party doesn't work hard enough in non-Presidential election years to earn and engage black voters.

When you are treated as a monolithic voting block, there is a lack of a sustained effort in our communities. No relationship building. My grandmother's generation counseled everyone in the household to 'vote the ticket' in every election.

Counting on blind allegiance should be a thing of the past. We are smart and eager to hear ideas, appeal to us as individuals. Work for support. We want to know who we are voting for and what they are offering.

The Republican Party has yet to prove it is serious about attracting African American Voters. The GOP treats those who look like me as a lost cause. Where there is "outreach" it is most often poisoned by offensive rhetoric and stereotypical assumptions.

President-elect Donald Trump frequently painted this singular, bleak picture of life for African Americans in this country when he was campaigning: "The violence. The death. The lack of education. No jobs. We're going to work with the African-American community and we're going to solve the problem of the inner city," he said. "We're going to bring safety back. You can't walk out the street, you buy a loaf of bread and you end up getting shot. "

I want a Republican Party and a Democratic Party that will work for my vote in a meaningful way. Earn the vote - not in blocks - with one voter at a time.

If you are affiliated with a political party and the only time you find yourself in the black community, speaking with residents, visiting a church or shaking hands is when there is a President at the top of a ticket, you are too late.