More than any other election in recent history, Black voters are complaining that their vote is not respected. Democrats seem to feel that the Black vote is, as usual, locked in — a captured electorate.
Electoral capture is what happens when a political party can rely so consistently on support from a non-white electorate, that it is no longer incentivized to appeal to those voters, Reappropriate reported. For the Democrats, this is the Black vote. Black voters have voted with Democrats since the 1960s and for the most part, have rarely strayed.
Black progressives such as Cornel West and Nina Turner and celebrities such as Ice Cube and P. Diddy are asking the Dems, “What’s in it for us?”
Not much, the answer seems to be.
Black voters are routinely let down by America’s political system, according to Paul Frymer, a professor of politics at Princeton, who wrote the 1999 book, “Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America.”
This letdown happens despite the fact that the Black voter turnout is consistently among the highest in the U.S., reaching nearly 60 percent during the historic 2008 presidential election when Barack Obama won the presidency.
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Politicians focus their attention on white swing voters, and the two-party system is structured to push aside the concerns of Black votersbecause they consistently and overwhelmingly favor one party, Frymer wrote, according to Five Thirty Eight.
Despite their support, Black America hasn’t been rewarded. It’s quite the opposite. Mainstream politics fail to address Black interests. Mass incarceration affects Black people disproportionately, Black civilians are shot and killed by police at higher rates and Black communities remain ignored.
Frymer argues that “this occurs because both parties believe that the coveted undecided white moderate is disdainful to (if not outright hostile to) efforts that advance Black representation – a belief borne out by American history,” Reappropriate reported.
Another Princeton professor — Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. — agrees and urges Black voters to take action.
Glaude, chairman of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton, and Fredrick C. Harris, director of the Center on African-American Politics and Society at Columbia University, proposed launching a “Blank-Out Campaign.” Under this plan, Black voters would use their vote strategically to demand better representation, they wrote in a Time article.
“This election matters,” Glaude and Harris wrote. “But African Americans can’t engage in politics as usual. Chronically desperate times call for drastic measures. For too long, African-American participation in the democratic process has been distorted. Republicans show little interest in Black voters, and Democrats simply take Black voters for granted.”
Here’s how a “Blank-Out Campaign” would work. “In red states, Black voters vote as usual in down-ticket races, but leave their choice for presidential nominee blank. In all other states and in particular, in battleground states, Black voters vote in overwhelming numbers to secure a Democratic victory,” Reappropriate reported.
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While some observers say this approach would be risky, Glaude and Harris argued that it would ensure that “Democrats stop taking Black votes for granted by showing how the Black electorate can deliver a presidential election to a Democratic victor but are not captured enough to vote that way blindly.”
In a video posted on twitter, Glaude said, “The game the Democratic party has played, the game the Republican party has played with Black voters, we’re not participating…what I know for sure is we have to do something…This ain’t democracy.”
The video ignited response.
One person tweeted, “One of the only blue checks I respect. This man is so genuine. He gets it!”