Houston Forward Times

06 August 2014 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

BLACK VOTERS = BLIND ALLEGIANCE?

 

Why are Black people so loyal to the Democratic Party?

When you look at the voting patterns of African Americans, it’s easy to make the argument that African Americans are loyal Democrats and we seemingly don’t plan on switching that loyalty anytime soon.

In the 2008 Presidential election, African Americans overwhelmingly voted for President Barack Obama by a whopping 96%. Fast forward to 2012 and we see African American support for President Obama dropped slightly, but not much, as Blacks once again overwhelmingly voted for him by a staggering 93%.

So do we even have to ask the question of whether African Americans are loyal to the Democratic Party versus any other party, especially the Republican Party? I don’t think so.

The African American vote, by and large, has consistently been given to the Democratic Party over the last several decades without any true accountability or guarantees.

There is a predictability that comes with the African American vote that makes the two main political parties shun us, as opposed to courting us and pursuing the African American vote.

Neither major political party has a model track record of hiring Black political strategists and consultants; spending money to help get Black candidates elected; advertising with Black media outlets or getting critical information to the Black community before it becomes a crisis.

That is why other groups receive way more attention than African Americans do, because we seemingly have a ‘blind allegiance’ to the Democratic Party. Think about that forObama-and-Black-People-471x3151 a second.

What political party wouldn’t be salivating at the thought of a specific voting demographic guaranteeing them at least 51% of votes annually?

That is the case of the African American vote - minus the salivation and minus the attention.

There are many interest groups within the Democratic Party who have garnered the focused attention that Black people once appreciated. Now, African Americans have fallen to the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to addressing their needs and concerns.

Truthfully, the relationship between African Americans and the Democratic Party has become like a person who is asleep and receives a "2 a.m. phone call" from a guy that has just left the club; rather than the guy wanting a serious relationship that matters, they only want the temporary satisfaction of convenience that really only benefits him.

As African Americans, we need to ask ourselves if we are sick and tired of just being a "2 a.m. phone call" for the Democratic Party or whether we are prepared to demand more out of this relationship that benefits more than one side.

How did this ‘blind allegiance’ come about with African Americans and the Democratic Party?

History teaches me that Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party fought against slavery and provided enslaved Africans freedom through the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.

History teaches me that African Americans experienced tremendous social, economic and political gains during the Reconstruction era, which was driven by the Republican Party.

With that type of support from the Republican Party, how could African Americans have abandoned their loyalty to a political party that seemingly did so much for them? I’ll tell you why and it’s the very thing that could hurt the Democratic Party in the same manner.

The primary reason that the Republican Party lost African American support is because they chose to embrace disenfranchised southern ‘Dixiecrats’ in the party so they could expand the base and their influence in the South. The majority leaders in the Republican Party made it a point to deliberately sacrifice African American support, while adopting the ‘Southern Strategy’ as a means to attracting a base of supporters who were strongly in favor of the continued mistreatment of African Americans.

Because of those circumstances and as a direct result, the Democratic Party capitalized on the new-found opportunity to provide a makeshift home for a disrespected and disillusioned group of African Americans, who had just found themselves kicked to the curb by a Republican Party that no longer considered them politically relevant.

If you fast forward to today, we find the African American community complaining about the lack of attention it receives and seeking to find acceptance in a political party that scooped them up on the rebound like a jilted lover.

The Republican Party has pretty much conceded the black vote to the Democratic Party, but I am not so sure that is a smart move. African Americans seem to be silenced by the voices of other interest groups within the Democratic Party and are becoming like an old relic rather than a non-negotiable fixture.

The African American community needs to realistically ask itself whether their vote is all the Democratic Party wants from them.

Does the Democratic Party really want African Americans to play a major role within their party or does the Democratic Party simply want Black folks to vote straight ticket Democrat and then go somewhere and sit down?

The African American community had better wake up and demand more for their vote. I don’t want to see us wandering around like a transient looking for a place to lay our head. If we are going to be loyal to one political party, let’s make sure they are also loyal to us in the process.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .