Don’t Blame Black and Brown Voters If Democrats Lose Today
When it comes to Hip-Hop and politics, there are few voices as prominent and poignant as legendary Hip-Hop journalist and DJ, Davey D. On Saturday he took to his Facebook page to drop this powerful piece taking Democrats to task for the idea that if they lose the Senate majority, it will be the because of a lack of enthusiasm on the part of Black and Brown voters. This comes on the heels of a must read article by Hip-Hop artist and activist Tef Poe, who’s been holding it down in Ferguson, titled, “The Democratic Party IS Failing Us“. Check out Davey D’s blistering editorial below.
As of late there has been this disturbing and somewhat disingenuous narrative that states the Democratically controlled US Senate is likely to fall in the hands of Republicans because Black and Brown folks aren’t expected to go out and vote in large numbers like they did in 2012…not sure who came up with this talking point, but its a load of bullsh*t…plain and simple.
First, it implies that ungrateful ‘minorities’ will have no one to blame but themselves should there be a sea of change. As opposed to the DNC answering the hard questions as to what they did to motivate folks to come to the polls, stand in line for 3-6 hours and vote in record numbers like they did in 2012?
Its not rocket science. Lets weigh some of the key issues facing Black and Brown folks since 2012, and ask how has the DNC addressed them? What’s been the headway? From police terrorism to immigration and ending mass deportations to making significant dents in communities where unemployment hovers at 20-40%. Whats been the measurable, exciting, or motivating change since 2012 that’ll get folks rushing off to the polls?
Second point, the war cry ‘vote or die’ overlooks the fact that this election is determined state by state. Folks have to look at each state and the Senate candidates there. The states in play where Senate races can flip include: Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Louisiana, Colorado, Alaska and Arkansas. In some of those places we have low numbers of Black and Brown folks. In other places, the real culprits are white working class folks who have always been heavily courted, but have never been loyal to the point of being taken for granted by the DNC. One minute they’re rolling with the Dems, next minute they’re riding for the Tea Party, but the finger is pointing at Black and Brown folks to get them to vote en mass.
Take a state like Kentucky, which is home to Mitch McConnell, who would be in charge of the Senate, if the GOP takes over. He’s been in the Senate since 1985. This means he’s been winning his seat during good and bad times. The question we should be asking is, what has the DNC and McConnell’s opponent Alison Grimes, who served as Secretary of State for Kentucky, been doing for the Black and Brown in her state? What has she done that folks should be compelled to rush out and vote for her? How has she been present in people’s day to day lives? If so, how? Has she championed key issues? What’s her stance on key issues once in office?
Instead of making demands on Black and Brown folks, shouldn’t the call be for white women to get out and vote in large numbers especially with the GOP having a serious war on women? We’ve long heard that single women can flip an election. How is that playing out in Kentucky? How has the DNC empowered women in Kentucky?
More importantly what has the DNC done to ease frustration and fears of Black and Brown folks who have been getting letters and emails warning them of potential voter fraud if they show up to the polls?
In states like Georgia we have David Perdue vs Michelle Nunn the Democrat.. The state of Georgia is more than 30% African-American. The same questions asked about McConnell’s opponent can be asked about Nunn. Either she is resonating with and a known entity amongst Black voters or she is not. If not, why not? What role have Georgia based Civil Rights luminaries played in making her familiar with Black and Brown voters?
We do know that Chevron Oil has folks like Civil Rights icon Andrew Young out in Cali to campaign on their behalf against a progressive slate of folks in the Bay Area city of Richmond. Many of us were shocked and disappointed to see Young, who brags about how he stood alongside Martin Luther King for social justice, riding hard for an oppressive corporation that wants to stomp out social justice programs, and voices. Who would’ve thought? Maybe Young should be at home in Georgia making sure the Senate remains within the DNC…just saying.
In Kansas, we have a former Republican, turned Democrat and now independent, running named Greg Orman. Orman is running against GOP Incumbent Senator Pat Robertson who is a Republican. So we are asking Black and Brown folks to vote for who? Orman? Why? What does he stand for? How are Black and Brown folks being appealed to in Kansas?
In places like Louisiana and North Carolina, where there are sizable Black populations, a big turn out could make a difference. In Louisiana we have two Republicans (one of them is a Tea Party GOP) vying to unseat Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu who has held her seat since 1997. The question to be asked is what has she done for Black folks?
She recently caused some controversy when she stated that the south is not very friendly for Black folks. She was referring to how President Obama has been treated. Question is, how is she a counter to that assertion in her own tenure?
In North Carolina, we have a state that has been heavily courted. It’s been the birthplace of Moral Mondays. It was where the DNC held its 2012 convention, but for whatever reason it can’t seem to motivate folks to turn the political tide. If you recall, Mitt Romney won North Carolina in 2012. The question here is, Can Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan hold off her challenger. Is the message about making sure Black folks turn out in large numbers directed at North Carolina which has been so heavily invested in? The question we should also be asking is where do women fit with Kay Hagan? Will they turn out to support? If not why not??
Similar questions can be asked in all the other races. We know in 2012 the Democrats pulled out all the big guns. They had celebrities, concerts and strong presence in media enclaves frequented by Black and Brown voters. How much of that made a difference in voter participation? What’s been done this time around?
If the GOP takes over the Senate come next Tuesday, we need to be looking at which states saw the GOP win and we need to ask how and why that happened? A blanket statement and blame about low voter turn out is inappropriate and misleading. Some of these races involve folks who have been in the electoral game for a minute. At this point in time they should’ve figured out how to connect and excite voters. More importantly they should have a compelling, undeniable body of legislative work they can point to that will resonate with Black and Brown people. If not who takes the blame for that?