The Black vote wins elec­tions

South Florida Times - - OPINION -

There is some­thing hap­pen­ing in Amer­ica, and it starts with the power of Black women. It started a long time ago when they were queens, and we see the ev­i­dence in their work ethic and their abil­ity to achieve un­der im­pos­si­ble odds. When Black women are be­hind you, their pas­sion and drive can move moun­tains.

In the 2017 Alabama se­nate race, the largest vot­ing seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion was Black women, in which 98% of that group voted Demo­cratic. Black men voted at 93%, and to­gether they were the largest core group of Democrats in the elec­tion, and many ex­perts think this was the rea­son Doug Jones won the elec­tion.

“We learned valu­able lessons last month and last night – we in­vest early and in our com­mu­ni­ties, we win. The DNC knows black vot­ers are a force to be reck­oned with at the bal­lot box, and that’s ex­actly why we used a nearly $1 mil­lion in­vest­ment to mo­bi­lize Alabama’s African Amer­i­can, mil­len­nial, and faith com­mu­ni­ties. And to help boost turnout, we made sure we had our own staffers on the ground en­gag­ing Black lead­ers and im­ple­ment­ing or­ga­niz­ing pro­grams,” said DNC Black Cau­cus Chair, Vir­gie Rollins.

Democrats now have a tem­plate that they can use around the coun­try to get the Black vote out. In­vest­ing a large part of $1 mil­lion into the Black com­mu­nity is a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money that will change Black vot­ing habits dur­ing mid-term elec­tions. When Black vot­ers are in­formed and mo­bi­lized, they vote.

Ac­cord­ing to the New York Times, “the Black vot­ers turned out in force, hand­ing Mr. Jones a de­ci­sive lead in Alabama’s cities and pre­dom­i­nantly Black ru­ral coun­ties. In Jef­fer­son County, home to Birm­ing­ham and its whiter sub­urbs, turnout ex­ceeded the 2014 gov­er­nor’s race by about 30 per­cent, and Mr. Jones nearly matched Hi­lary Clin­ton’s vote total there. Other pop­u­lous, heav­ily African-Amer­i­can coun­ties, in­clud­ing Mont­gomery and Dal­las County, where Selma is, also ex­ceeded their 2014 turnout.”

As I talk to many African Amer­i­cans in Or­lando, many have a pes­simistic at­ti­tude about or­ga­niz­ing and mo­bi­liz­ing the Black vote in 2018. Many think we have lost our ex­cite­ment with the vot­ing process, and even with the Demo­cratic Party.

But I be­lieve the prob­lem in the Black Com­mu­nity is lead­er­ship, fi­nanc­ing and sup­port­ing the Black me­dia. In or­der to gal­va­nize our com­mu­nity, our lead­er­ship must agree on a strat­egy, com­mu­ni­cate the in­for­ma­tion with our me­dia, and stay or­ga­nized and be de­ter­mined.

“And so for all lit­tle girls out there who need some­body to be­lieve that you’re bet­ter than your cir­cum­stances. I need you all to re­mem­ber that Black girl magic is real,” says newly elected Mayor of At­lanta, Keisha Lance Bot­toms.

Many ex­perts ex­pected Keisha Lance Bot­toms to lose this elec­tion to a White can­di­date, but she won by 800 votes. She won with help from the hip hop com­mu­nity, and a col­lab­o­ra­tion of pro­gres­sive Whites, Black women, His­pan­ics and the LGBT com­mu­nity.

The African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity is mak­ing the dif­fer­ence if a can­di­date wins or loses an elec­tion all around the coun­try. The Demo­cratic Party un­der­stands the power of the Black vote, but Black folks are not in the pow­er­ful ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions and the lead­ers are re­luc­tant to spend money in the Black com­mu­nity.

But if the Demo­cratic Party dur­ing the mid-term elec­tions spends mil­lions of dol­lars in the Black com­mu­nity and treats us as the cor­ner­stone of the party, the re­sults will be phe­nom­e­nal. Democrats have the op­por­tu­nity to win back the Se­nate, and make the House more com­pet­i­tive and closer in terms of num­bers.

There is power in the Black vote, and the Black com­mu­nity is not tak­ing full ad­van­tage of their in­flu­ence and power. Once the Black com­mu­nity takes full ad­van­tage of their power, there will be a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Our lead­ers must work for the ma­jor­ity of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, as op­posed to the rich and ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions.

Democrats and African Amer­i­cans, in par­tic­u­lar, are re­joic­ing over Doug Jones’ stun­ning de­feat of Roy Moore for the open U.S. Se­nate seat for Alabama, a state that had not elected a Demo­crat to the Se­nate in a gen­er­a­tion.

Moore was a deeply flawed can­di­date, whom nu­mer­ous women have ac­cused of stalk­ing them while they were teenagers and, in at least one case, of as­sault­ing a girl who was 14. But, sadly, those com­plaints in them­selves would not have de­railed Moore’s cam­paign. Don­ald Trump proved im­mune to al­le­ga­tions that he sex­u­ally as­saulted sev­eral women. He was caught on cam­era boast­ing that he grabs women by their pri­vates, then claimed that was just “locker room talk” or, as his wife, Me­la­nia, put it, “boy talk.” Yet he went on to win the pres­i­dency.

Jones’ 1.5 per­cent mar­gin of vic­tory came be­cause of his cred­i­bil­ity among Alabama’s African Amer­i­can vot­ers, who gave him 98 per­cent of their bal­lots. They ap­par­ently re­warded him for his role in the con­vic­tion of two of the Ku Klux Klan ter­ror­ists who bombed the Six­teenth Street Bap­tist Church in Birm­ing­ham on Sept. 15, 1963, killing Denise McNair, 11, Ca­role Robert­son, 14, Ad­die Mae Collins, 14, and Cyn­thia Dianne Wes­ley, 14.

But it did not take long for Jones to say what sort of “Demo­crat” he will be in the Se­nate, telling CNN’s State of the Na­tion on Sun­day, less than a week after his elec­tion vic­tory and even be­fore he has been sworn into of­fice, that he could vote with the Repub­li­cans “if it will help my con­stituents.” Which con­stituents?

There is, of course, noth­ing wrong with vot­ing across party lines but the Democrats have a rea­son why they op­pose Trump and the Repub­li­cans in Congress en bloc. It is partly be­cause of ide­ol­ogy, which is see­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­man­tling pro­grams and poli­cies in place for years to pro­tect the rights of African Amer­i­cans and oth­ers, curb the abuses of fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and tackle global warm­ing. But the re­sis­tance is also due to the alarm­ing po­lit­i­cal cli­mate which is be­ing nur­tured as the new normal.

Moore’s de­feat in Alabama is, there­fore, just a small glitch in the other­wise smooth op­er­a­tion of the po­lit­i­cal ma­chin­ery which the Repub­li­cans are ca­pa­ble of de­ploy­ing. Steve Ban­non, the ar­chi­tect of

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