Are Democrats really helping Black America?

Photo Submitted by Simone Williams.

The 2016 presidential election went down as one of the most explosive, divisive and possibly criminal elections in American history, giving rise to a president of the same cloth. Now, the nation is gearing up for another election that seeks to rectify the mistakes of the previous election.

The Democratic Party at last count had 18 politicians embarking on either the start of their presidential campaign or the start of an exploratory committee. If voter trends match 2016 presidential election reports by the Pew Research Institute, this means that 59.6 percent of Black America’s active voters will soon be looking into which Democratic candidate best matches their social and political values.

Socially, the decision for black people to vote Democratic is assumed to be automatic. The modern Republican Party has a history of tending more to the values of conservative, rich, white America. The Democratic Party picked up its slack by increasing its focus on poor and minority issues, but when these politicians get into office, how much change do we really see in our communities?

One could easily argue that systematic racism is the largest issue facing Black America. It is the reason why overall incarceration rates are six times higher for Black Americans than white. It is the reason why EdBuild reports non-white school districts get $23 billion dollars less in government funding than white districts regardless of the number of students.

Democrats regularly run on platforms that vow to end these mechanisms of oppression, yet the system still prevails. The issue is that the Democratic Party appeals to who we want Americans to be: unbiased, selfless and benevolent. However this is not the America we live in.

We live in what is arguably the most capitalist nation in the world. A nation that perpetually asks “What’s in it for me?” and expects a dollar amount to be included in the answer. In our nation, politicians can be bought, and legislation can be written word-for-word by big business conglomerates like ALEC.

In short, a party built on a platform of goodwill and moral ideals can not prevail here.

It is an unfortunate fact, but it is one that is proved again and again with each passing election. So maybe it’s time for Black Americans to change the system and start playing their game smarter.

We don’t need politicians whose agendas are centered around adding funding to government welfare. Firstly, according to the Huffington Post, only 28.6 percent of Black Americans utilize government food stamps and only 18 percent are on Medicaid. Moreover, the system is designed to keep its users crippled by providing funding that is temporary, indirectly incentivizes fatherless households, and is taken away the minute an average-sized household starts making any wages over a meager $2,000 per year. That is unsustainable.

We don’t need politicians who offer legislative solutions to mass incarceration, excessive prison sentences, and the underfunding of inner city schools without acknowledging the economic impact and placating those who stand to lose money in the end.

Let’s stop looking only to the Democratic Party for our political candidates. Let’s look at Republican candidates too. Let’s support politicians who lower taxes and give us our money back so that we can pour it back into our own communities. Because let’s face it: the government won’t do it for us.

Let’s pool just a fraction of our 1.2 trillion Black dollars together to build a political lobbying group with the financial backing to give Black America a legitimate seat at the White House table.

This is not a petition to start voting Republican or stop believing in the goodness of people. Instead, it is a petition for us to start making fully informed decisions, stop getting wrapped up in idealist rhetoric and start using our 27.5 million votes to more effectively demand politicians and policies that actually benefit us.