Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Black Voters Decisive Again, and Again, and Again

Although this election season, this November, this year is like no other, I can truly say, I feel like I’ve been here before.

First, it was 1976, after the nightmare that had been the presidency of Richard Nixon and his second Vice President turned President Gerald Ford. Then, thanks to a decisive role by Black voters, Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter was elected, ending what seemed like a nightmare — a law-and-order mantra which fueled the “Southern Strategy” that lured segregation-minded White voters and elected officials into the Republican Party.

I was working at the Chicago Daily Defender at the time, and my brilliant boss, Louis Martin — the architect of John F. Kennedy’s “Kitchen Cabinet” of Black advisors who could not be brought formally into the Oval Office — Martin told me: “Why don’t you go down to Washington. Black voters just put Carter in the White House, and it’s going to be a new day for us in Washington.” Carter managed to endure one turbulent term.

In 1992, also thanks to unprecedented Black voter support, Bill Clinton, another Southern former governor ended another, even more conservative White House season of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush policies which had given us the “welfare queen” rhetoric and Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court.

After the next 16 years, Black voters again closed another dismal chapter, this time that of George W. (for worst in history) Bush, who had given us endless wars and even more disastrous tax cuts for the rich, when they pushed Barack Obama over the top, and the nation sighed, “Yes we can.”

Now, 12 years later still, after four years of reversals and presidential humiliations which literally exhausted the book of ugly adjectives and descriptors for him, Black voters have decisively closed the door on the Donald Trump regime. And while each time their role in electing Democratic chief executives has been verbally acknowledged, Black folks have watched each successive Republican president turn the clock back further than before, and it seems like the Black agenda is even further from being fulfilled.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is now poised to take over — if The Donald and his not-ready-for-prime-time cast of characters will ever exit the stage, that is.

Again, the Democratic leadership offered fealty to the Black vote, and maybe will respond with appointments of Black folks to key roles, in addition to his V.P. choice Sen. Kamala Harris, and maybe will even push for policies which make a difference in Black lives. But, don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

Biden seems to want to win over those 73 million White voters who voted for Trump — never mind his own 80 million vote base. Trump is literally a laughingstock in this country and on the world stage, but he’s a White guy.

Biden is reportedly flirting with putting Republicans in his cabinet, hoping such concessions will cause his “pal” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from his Senate days, to play fair and go along with some of his own liberal policies and appointees.

Right! Like he did with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland who didn’t even get a hearing nine months before the election, as compared to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who McConnell rushed through confirmation, just weeks before the ballots were cast.

He’s even suggesting he might be merciful about prosecuting The Donald’s many crimes while he was in office, so the nation can heal.

To that absurd proposition, I suggest there’s still time to impeach the Recalcitrant One again, as he appears to be prepared to use every dirty trick in the book to remain in office after his ugly term expires, even though he lost the election and lost it Big Time, both in the popular vote and in the Electoral College.

Sadly, White Democrats who have relied on Black votes to put them in the White House in every election going back to John F. Kennedy, just don’t seem to get it. The GOP is clear.

Republicans, now led by Trump, are waging war on Black people and their Democratic Party surrogates like they are a foreign enemy, while the Dems, now led by Joe Biden, seem to be approaching this like it’s a crochet class.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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