If I hear Donald Trump refer to one more African-American as “My Negro,” you’d better get out of my way and make room before I lose my lunch. Despite the president’s fury over today’s impeachment hearings, and his propensity for ripping off ill-advised tweets, he’s a sly and wily competitor.
With a base of supporters estimated at 24 percent — much smaller than he’s willing to publicly admit — key gubernatorial loses in Kentucky and Louisiana even after Trump sent out the cavalry and recent polls which indicate that 44 percent of registered voters “strongly disapprove” of the president’s performance, No. 45 has had to revise his game plan.
Enter African-American voters, an unknown quantity who, despite ongoing efforts of voter suppression and returning citizens numbering thousands denied the right to vote after having done their time, have the potential to swing the vote for or against Trump who appears willing to say or do whatever it takes to secure a coveted second term in office.
“We’ve done more for African Americans in three years than the broken Washington establishment has done in 30 years,” Trump recently told the crowd at the Georgia World Congress Center while urging Blacks to join the Republican Party so that “liberal extremists” won’t run their lives. He further argued that his economic and criminal justice policies have done more for Blacks in decades of false promises from Democratic leaders who he says, “took [Blacks] for granted” — an assertion that I must admit is close to the truth and the reason why I remain unable to swallow the salutations of any candidate among the dozens of Democratic-hopefuls hook, line and sinker.
So, while Bernie and Elizabeth continue their march to the left, armed with a quiver of policies reflective of their political stances, and Buttigieg enjoys his first time leading his opponents in the much-ballyhooed Iowa sweepstakes, Black voters face a dilemma. Not only do Blacks, in poll after poll, show that they don’t want to give their support to anyone who lacks what’s needed to defeat Trump, but they also bring attitudes, habits and traditions indicative of a conservative collective.
We may not go on public record but in my limited experiences, I find my brothers and sisters doggedly-opposed to voting for a woman, a gay man or anyone with socialist tendencies for president of the United States. This could explain why Blacks are willing to give Biden a pass and look the other way when it comes to his long-ago stance against busing, his failure in overseeing the Anita Hill testimony about Clarence Thomas and his former support of the 1994 crime bill.
For now, I cannot identify a “friend” in any of the leading candidates, including Senator Warren who during a recent rally in South Carolina at the Historically-Black institution Clinton College, distributed signs which read, “Black issues are American issues.”
Sounds great. However, such patronizing “quotable quotes” don’t make life more equitable for people of color — something that she probably realized as she looked out into a crowd of mostly white faces.
Black voters are a lot smarter than the candidates, particularly the front-runners, seem to believe. Even more, Blacks realize that those running for president, Democrat, Republican or Independent, have traditionally made a slew of promises to African Americans in exchange for their support and vote that never come to pass. We need cash in hand not canceled checks or promissory notes, as Dr. King once emphasized.
We are less than one year away from the General Election and the celebration we enjoyed with the successful election of our nation’s first Black president is over. All that remains are overturned chairs, party favors and confetti and empty bottles of champagne.
If the proverbial “American pie” is so delicious, so fulfilling and so large that we can all receive a healthy slice, why are Blacks still being offered a handful of crumbs? And why are we still willing to accept them?