Journalist Roland Martin, host of the podcast “Roland Martin Unfiltered, likens the voting rights atmosphere today to that of 1890 in Mississippi when Black people were stripped of the right to vote by Dixiecrats.
Voting rights are in danger today because of efforts by Republicans, Martin said during a July 10 discussion with hip-hop legend Luther Luke Campbell. The discussion on Campbell’s weekly Twitter Spaces room focused on whether it’s wise for Black voters to continue to support the Democratic Party.
Martin gave what one Twitter user described as “masterclass of why it’s important for us to vote.”
Black voters have been loyal Democrats for decades but has this been beneficial to Black America? Some experts say that Black voters are so loyal that they are “captured” — ignored by one major party and taken for granted by the other, Five Thirty Eight reported.
Princeton political scientist Paul Frymer was the first to put forward the captured voter theory in a book first published in 1999, “Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America.”
Frymer argued that politicians focus their attention on white swing voters while ignoring the concerns of Black voters because they overwhelmingly favor one party.
“We generally think all voters have influence,” Frymer said in a 2016 FiveThirtyEight interview. But just as voters in battleground states are more heavily courted during a presidential election, he added, modern politicians have focused their efforts on “moderate, disaffected whites in the middle — whether you call them soccer moms or NASCAR dads.”
There are other groups that vote heavily Democratic — Jewish voters, for instance — that are not ignored by either party, Frymer continued. “Both parties make strong appeals to Jewish voters with regards to Israel, for instance, without fear of destabilizing their broader coalition.”
Martin told Campbell otherwise.
“Black voters have always been among the smartest voters in America,” said Martin. “We’ve always been that way. You go back to the early 1900s when African Americans were voting Republican because we understood the Dixiecrats and their opposition to civil rights.”
Southern Democrats were sometimes known colloquially as Dixiecrats.
As time went on, Black voters veered to the Democrats who were beginning to address concerns of Black America, Martin said. He said he warned people off the Republican party because as America is browning, with whites becoming lower in population numbers, “Republicans want to solidify white people.”
According to Martin, voting rights are in danger because of efforts by Republicans today. He likened the atmosphere to that of 1890 in Mississippi when Blacks were “stripped” of the right to vote by Dixiecrats.
“This is the same thing they are trying to do just (in a) more sophisticated manner,” Martin said.
In 1890, the Mississippi Democratic-dominated legislature drafted and passed a new constitution which effectively disenfranchised Black voters, The Washington Post reported.
Some on Twitter agreed with Martin.
“Please search Roland Martin and get you some good laughs. They are big mad he schooled their asses,” Candidly Tiff tweeted.
TB replied, “Roland Martin was a hero yesterday on that panel Uncle Luke had on Twitter. The hoteps/Trumpets/Coons couldn’t get one lie out without him exposing them. It was informative and entertaining at the same time. #RolandMartinUnfiltered is truly his name.”
“For Black ppl who are listening to others convincing you not to vote? @rolandsmartin gave a quick masterclass of why it’s important for us to vote. Replace your ‘feelings’ with knowledge,” GC4* tweeted.
Campbell has questioned why Black people have remained loyal to the Democratic Party. On Twitter in May, he posted, “Give me five reasons why Black people should Vote in the next election. Give me five BLACK promises that has been fulfilled by politicians in the last election.”
Campbell, whose group 2 Live Crew was known for raunchy lyrics, has been known to take on a fight for issues. In 1994, he testified before the Supreme Court over the censorship of artists.
Photo: Roland Martin attends the premiere of Dave Chappelle’s documentary at the Tribeca Festival, Radio City Music Hall, June 19, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)