Why Do Blacks Not Show Up To Vote?

The New York Times has a piece out claiming that many blacks don’t show up to vote because they are disgusted with the process and past problems. According to Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist “This notion that elections are stolen and that elections are rigged is so common in the public sphere that we’re having to go out of our way to counter them this year” (New York Times). It is important because in order to win Democrats need to do two important thing. The first is get the black vote out and the second is to convince the blacks that do vote the Democratic party is the one for them.

While there might be some disillusion on the part of the blacks because of perceived voter fraud, the Democrats have to look beyond that in order to get the vote out. In the first place, claims of voter fraud are harped upon by those very Democrats and it has soured their base. Additionally, though claims are made there is little evidence to support that blacks, or anyone else, are disenfranchised. Sure there are problems and that should be expected when humans are in charge of getting a hundred million people or so to the polls. The claims of fraud though, often exaggerate a small problem and make it appear much larger. The Democrats have become the boy who cried wolf and it is now coming back to haunt them. Sure there have been terrible incidents of fraud. Some cities are known for that quality (Chicago) and the 1960 election was rife with fraud in an election where Richard Nixon probably won.

Another nagging problem the Democrats fail to address is the increasing attitude among black voters with regard to the way they are treated by the party. Larger numbers of blacks and an increasing number of black groups are stepping back and asking what exactly the Democrats bring to the table. The black voters have been conditioned to disregard Republicans as a party of racists (despite the fact that the Republican party ended slavery and passed the Civil Rights Act), an attitude that leaves them with a dilemma. They do not want to vote Republican but they only hear from the Democrats around election time. The Democrats have taken the black vote for granted for so long that they actually get upset at any idea that they will not get the support. Decades of failed policies have caused many blacks, many of whom are getting older, to take a look at what the Democrats are actually doing besides asking for their vote.

The war on poverty started in the 60s and trillions of dollars later a similar proportion of the population lives in poverty. Some of this can be attributed to the change in definition and criteria of poverty but the end result is, there is still quite a bit despite spending so much money. The educational system is in a shambles, especially in the inner city where many blacks attend school. Teacher’s unions have become obsessed with financial gain and have left the students behind. Money is not the problem wither. Per student spending has increased greatly and many of the poorest school systems spend more per student than in other jurisdictions. The fact is, throwing money at problems will not solve them.

The Democrats have cried foul with regard to elections and that has caused some of the base to stay home. This is not in question but the fact is most of the allegations were proven false but the constant harping on the subject has left its mark. The fact that Democrats can not get over the 2000 election shows that they are not ready to make the system better, they just want to cry loudly enough in hopes that the black vote will return. It has had the opposite effect. The larger picture that needs to be addressed by the Democrats is the black vote that stays home or votes Republican because of broken promises. The Democrats have courted the vote but very few blacks get elected to high positions in government. The white Democratic machine in Maryland spurned Kweisi M’fume for Ben Cardin. The Republicans have a black candidate. Incidentally, he is the Lt. Governor of the state selected by Robert Ehrlich, a white Republican.

The Maryland ticket has several black candidates and it is beginning to become clearer to many black votes that Republicans are not a bunch of redneck crackers who hate non whites. The black voting base is tired of being taken for granted and is crossing party lines. This could be the beginning of a change in attitudes that will turn the tide of black voters away from the Democrats. It won’t happen all at once but it looks like we might be seeing the beginning. After all, blacks have given Democrats 40 years to get things done. It is about time to change horses and see what the other side has to offer.

Robert Ehrlich will get more than 20% of the black vote in Maryland. Steele will get a higher percentage and both will win their respective elections.

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