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5 Things Black Voters Should Demand From the Democratic Party


Black Lives Matter protesters hold a wooden coffin with an upside down donkey representing the Democratic party in downtown Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

The Democratic Party is a white party.

According to Pew research, 59 percent of registered voters who identify as Democrats are white. Only 4 of the state Chairs party chairs are black. It hasn’t elected a black governor in a decade. Only 2 of its 49 Senators are black. Just 45 of the 193 Democratic members of the House of Representatives are black

55 percent of white people voted for John McCain in 2008 instead of Barack Obama. More white people voted for Mitt Romney in 2017 (59 percent) than voted for Trump in 2016 (57 percent). In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton received 10 times more black votes that Donald Trump.

Black voters made Doug Jones a senator and Barack Obama a president. More than 80 percent of black voters voted Democrat in every election since 1972. Without the black vote, the Democratic Party would be as impotent and powerless as Donald Trump in a threesome with Vladimir Putin and Nancy Pelosi.

Yet the Democratic Party only pays attention to black voters during election season. They spend the rest of their time courting and catering to the 49 percent. The independents and the undecided. The moderates.

The white people.

As the 2018 midterms approach, prepare to see a string of smiling Caucasians kissing black babies and struggling to clap on beat in black churches before they run back to their campaign buses and dip themselves in a vat of Purel to wash the negro off their palms and mouths before returning back to their negro-deficient communities to ignore black voices and continue white supremacy.

And, like always, black people will carry them across the finish line and wait for them to take our votes for granted. But this time, we should demand a few things for our votes.

1. Rewrite section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act

This should be the first thing on the agenda of a Democratic-controlled House and/or Senate. Since the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act with the Shelby v Holder decision, states have run roughshod over voting rights. But contrary to popular belief, the Court didn’t rule that pre-clearance requirements in section 4(b) were unconstitutional. They simply said Congress needed to rewrite the old formula that determined whether a state needed federal oversight before changing voting districts and voting laws.

Even if Republicans filibuster or obstruct the revisions, Dems should at least try.Not only would it signal a commitment to their voting base, but it could negate some of the discriminatory voting policies being passed by states throughout the country.

2. A U.S. Commission on Law Enforcement

In 1957, Congress created the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan, independent division of the federal government to investigate and report civil rights violations. Four members are appointed by the President, two by the Senate and two by the House.

While the Justice Department is tasked with investigating and prosecuting law enforcement violations, it can only do so for civil rights violations. There needs to be an independent federal agency responsible for investigating and monitoring law enforcement agencies, including:

  • A national database for police shootings. That’s right. There is currently no official agency that keeps tabs on how many people law enforcement agencies shoot and/or kill every year.
  • Police training standards: Federal funding to police jurisdictions should be dependent on national training requirements.
  • Open records standards: A standard for Freedom of Information Act requests and a yearly review of civilian complaints.
  • Prosecutorial Oversight: State and local prosecutors like Doug Evans and Terra Morehead and should not be authoritarian figures who unjustly convict the innocent and give “get out of jail free” cards to cops.

3. Eliminate state and federal funding for private prisons

Democratic lawmakers on both the state and federal level should pledge to not vote for private prisons that contribute to mass incarceration while profiting off crime. We need to hold governors, state representatives and locally elected officials accountable for mass incarceration, not just the federal government officials.

4. Gun control legislation

Again, this should be a demand for any lawmaker on the local or federal level. Reforms like age restrictions, mandatory background checks, mental health restrictions and outlawing bump stocks all have bipartisan support, even among gun owners.

Most of the laws that govern guns are written on the state and local level.

5. Access to health care

America is one of the few developed countries on the planet without universal health care to its citizens. Whether it be incremental or all-at-once, Dems should fight for health care for all citizens.

Countries that offer universal healthcare
Graphic: Wikimedia Commons

These are not the only things that need fixing. We need increased education funding, legislation that prevents discrimination in banking and finance, an end to the War on Drugs, immigration reform, a working wage and a national ban on Taylor Swift albums. But this is a start.

And there is no guarantee that they will be able to get any of these provisions passed into law. But instead of empty promises, we will at least have a measuring stick to gauge their insincerity.

And what happens if they don’t agree to any of these demands?

Well, they shouldn’t get our vote. And I know there are people who say if black voters discontinue the practice of voting for any candidate with a D beside their names on the ballot, then Republicans will take over the government and we are sure to lose.

To those people, I will point to the Republican-controlled Senate, the GOP-dominated House of Representatives and the Conservative Supreme Court, the way the Democratic Party folded on Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, Nancy Pelosi warning Maxine Waters to act civil, the inequalities in every sector of society and the dead black boys and girls from police bullets and ask:

“Does it look like we’ve been winning?”


Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of “it.” Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.

Courtesy of “The Root”