Tag Archives: Democrats

Whether Iowa is the first or last during primary season makes no difference to black political capital…

Aimee Allison, founder and president of the advocacy group She The People, wrote an interesting piece for The Hill.com where she asserts that the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary have an unsubstantiated influence on the Democratic Party’s choice for a nominee.  Ms Allison states the following:

“The Democratic Party’s decision to allow Iowa and New Hampshire to dominate the nominating process for president is hurting the party’s ability to win. Women and candidates of color have been harmed by the myth of ‘electability’ and whiteness of early states deemed vitality important to attracting donors, endorsements and volunteers to win.”

Ms. Allison goes on to argue that instead of focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, the state of Nevada should be setting the tone for the selection of a Democratic candidate to beat President Donald Trump. Ms Allison states that:

“For that reason, Nevada should be top of mind right now for everyone from pundits to donors to voters who want to know who can gain the momentum needed to take the White House. Women of color are a fundamental pillar of the national party’s base, a quarter of all Democrats nationwide, and a similar 26 percent of the Democratic electorate in Nevada. The state was pivotal in the 2008 and 2016 presidential primaries, but it should have even more sway as such a clear mirror of Democratic demographics nationwide.”

The problem I have with the analysis is that Ms Allison assumes that black voters will tag along with the “people of color” posse in Nevada because of the state’s more diverse make up when compared to the whiter states of Iowa and New Hampshire.  The “people of color” label severely dilutes the historical concerns of blacks given that the other major groups within the people of color spectrum, Asians and Latinos, do not share the black experience of racial discrimination.  Rather, blacks may view these groups as current and definitely future competitors for capital, employment, and credit access especially as the Asian and Latino populations increase.

In addition, to make Nevada’s “people of color” choice have a greater impact on black voting, “people of color” in Nevada will have to communicate to blacks in other states the reasons for following their lead.  I think that the “people of color” reasoning will fall on deaf ears, particularly in the states of Georgia and Maryland.  Blacks in Nevada make up approximately 8.93% of that state’s population. When you throw in other races and ethnic groups, the total “people of color” population in Nevada amounts to approximately 28.99%.

Blacks in Georgia make up approximately 31.6% of the Peach State’s population while blacks in Maryland make up approximately 29.78% of the Free State’s population.  I don’t see black Georgians living in Albany, Atlanta, or Columbus, where their economies are driven by agriculture, fintech, and logistics, or blacks in Annapolis, Baltimore, or Prince George’s County, where their economies are driven by federal government employment, finance, and international trade, being influenced by a smaller black or “people of color” population living in Nevada, a state driven by tourism that imports just about all of its food or other resources.

Bottom line, blacks will look at their immediate household needs and local political economy environment when determining which candidate for president will provide the political packages that brings them any relief.  They will not follow the lead of Nevada based on its supposed diversity.


Why I align with BLEXIT …

BLEXIT is a movement that asks black Americans to think critically about their relationship with the Democratic Party.  The movement’s primary premise is that the Democratic Party has taken the black voter for granted, offering nothing of substance in exchange for the decades of significant support the black electorate has provided to Democrats.

Like most blacks I have been put off for years by the brush off Democrats impose on blacks especially during and after election season.  You always know when it is election season when a politician of the white, Democratic hue drops by a black church in search of good optics, electoral support, and donations.  You have to wait two, four, or six years before most of them come around and visit again.

The usual push back from Democrats is, “If you blacks leave us, who are you going to turn to? The Republicans? The GOP hasn’t done anything for you.”  Of course the GOP has not done anything for blacks.  Blacks haven’t received anything from the GOP because blacks haven’t offered a vote in exchange for anything from the GOP.  That is how politics works.  Besides being a blood sport, politics is about an exchange.  If blacks want something from the GOP, they will have to offer the vote or some other thing of value, i.e. donations, in exchange for a political package.

But the aversion blacks display to the Republicans should now be spread to the Democratic Party.  The Democrats and the Republicans have a duopoly on the electoral process having secured their positions as the two most dominant parties and grantors of political packages in America’s politics industry.  They have successfully kept third parties from mounting significant challenges to their market dominance, but as in any consumer society, the rational move for black voters should be to play off the two competitors against each other.  Make the parties compete for the vote and donations.

With 13% of America’s population, BLEXIT has to take on more meaning than just walking away from the Democrats.  BLEXIT should be about holding the vote back until one party decides to offer something of greater value that the other party cannot match.  Effective BLEXIT will require rank and file voters and black political leadership to design a strategy and implement tactics that keeps blacks relevant in a changing political environment.

It is doable, and my intent over the next few weeks is to demonstrate how it is doable.

The GOP demonstrated that political power is not about fairness

The Republican caucus of the United States Senate voted 51-49 to not consider and debate any motion to subpoena witnesses or documents during its impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.  The “trial”, in essence, becomes an appellate hearing where instead of impersonating triers of fact in a trial court, the Republican caucus opted for the de novo approach where it would consider no more evidence than that gathered by the Democratic caucus in the U.S. House during its hearing on whether to approve two articles of impeachment against the President.

With a final vote reportedly set for 5 February 2020, Mr Trump is near assured that the Democrats will not conjure up the 67 votes necessary to remove him from office.  Democrats may then proceed with their real end game, using the results of their impeachment attempts as ammunition against Republican senators who decided to vote against allowing testimony from additional witnesses.  The Democrats likely believe that if they can get control of the Senate, their chances of removing Mr Trump during his second term would improve.

America must be doing real well if Democrats have this much time on their hands to go after Mr Trump.  On the ground level here in Atlanta, Georgia’s democratic stronghold, people here in this Democratic city seem to be doing quite well.  It is a Friday night, after all, and the youthful and credit access-blessed are out and about having a good time.  I am not hearing any anti-Trump hisses and boos by the after-work crowd here at The Whole Foods Market on 14th and West Peachtree.  Unless these people are closet Republicans, people here so far have accepted what was expected; that the Republicans would support the flag bearer of the GOP versus facing the wrath of his base.

The bond market saw yields on ten-year treasurys climb 3.215% while the S&P 500 fell 1.77%.  With the United Kingdom officially leaving the European Union and the coronavirus scaring the shit out of governments and travelers, I won’t blame the markets’ performance solely on the Senate vote outcome.  I would argue that expectations be the opposite, that given the stock market’s relatively strong performance over the last three years that bond yields should have gone the opposite way signaling an affirmation of Mr Trump’s handling of the economy.

In the short term what we can take from the vote and the expectation of an acquittal is that Mr Trump exercises enough political power over Senate Republicans such that most will not defy him lest they suffer in the voting booths either during the primaries or the general election.

The other political power takeaway is the brazenness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take the calculated risk that squashing the trial early without witnesses would not come back to harm senators running for re-election this year.  Mr McConnell and the GOP apparently believe that calls from the voting public for fairness could take a backseat to a preference for a speedy review and disposal of the House’s articles of impeachment.

Many Democrats believe that these moves by the GOP should lead not only to losses in the Senate but to the complete implosion of the Grand Old Party.  For those who believe in the electoral process, they would rather see Democrats beat Republicans based on solid arguments over issues with a little dirt dug up via campaign opposition research thrown in.

I believe the Democrats are in for a surprise.  They have an optics problem.  They are seen as unable to beat Mr Trump in the ballot booth, and if impeachment is a strategy that they want to rely on going forward, they will not look like a party that actually believes in democracy, preferring to allow a few elected politicians reverse the election process.  The Democrats may be the ones who end up imploding.

Pure political power has no room for the phony optics of “fairness.”  The aim is simple: acquire the  power to get what you want, when you want it, from who you want it.  The concept of fairness is not one that has to be served, but, when resources and opportunity permit, be circumvented, especially where there is confidence that the costs of circumvention is lower than the benefits that flow from garnering political power.

I think McConnell’s power play was the right move. If you have political power, you use it.  Whether this move implodes will depend on how well the Democrats campaign this spring, summer, and fall.  An effective campaign means coalescing quickly behind one candidate, the one voice they believe can out argue Donald Trump.

Blacks need to re-direct political capital to local election markets

I caught the last thirty minutes of tonight’s Democratic Party debate. I was able to hear some of their discussion on foreign policy which I did not find impressive.  Overall, these candidates tried to play both sides of the fence when it came to Afghanistan, claiming on the one hand that it is time for the United States to leave the central Asian burial ground of empires while on the other hand satisfying the sentiments of war hawks by considering the deployment of a reduced force, just in case the U.S. needed to re-insert itself.  That sure doesn’t sound like commitment to the idea of departing.

Another sign of a lack of commitment on the part of Democrats was the dearth of ethnic minorities on the debate stage.  Andrew Yang, an American of Asian descent, was the only ethnic minority participating in the debate.  That Mr. Yang is still in contention is a testament to his entrepreneurial savvy and his policy focus, specifically the idea of a $1,000 a month universal basic income payment to every eligible American.

Strong messaging on specific policy measures appears to be the sustaining formula for the debate survivors as they prepare for next February’s Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.  Yang, along with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders are doing well because, in my opinion, they have developed a narrative that they can brand themselves with and sell to the public.

Someone failed to get the important point of narrative and branding across to U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who was not known for any specific policy  agenda, definitely not a black agenda or narrative of any kind.  The same can be said for U.S. Senator Cory Booker who was absent from tonight’s debate stage.  If their hope was to ride the Obama Coalition, that bus is being driven by former Vice-President Joe Biden, and right now appears not to be letting anyone else steer the wheel.

The lack of blacks on the debate stage is not surprising. As the Boomers get older, the sway of the Democratic Party on blacks is decreasing.  It is not unusual to hear younger blacks and even a few older blacks question the efficacy of the Democratic Party when it comes to a black agenda.  And while the Democratic Party harps inclusion and diversity, the reality is that younger blacks are seeing less of an economic and social space for them in American society.  This view will only become more precarious as the demographics continue to change and blacks find themselves an increasingly smaller proportion of the population.

Returns on black political capital will remain flat if the focus remains on national elections. The numbers are just not there no matter what Democratic talking heads keep saying.  More importantly, the issues that concern blacks most; unfair treatment by the criminal justice system, unemployment, gentrification, are not federal issues.  While national leaders maybe able to advocate for block grants and other large sources of capital to be directed toward the States, it is state and local politics that will determine how those funds get distributed to and throughout communities.  Ensuring that West End Atlanta gets its share of federal government funds compared to the affluent north side of turn will turn just as much on local politics as it does federal jawboning.