Black Voters Delivered for Doug Jones. STOP Thanking Us  — and Start Asking Why Whites Didn’t

Black Voters Delivered for Doug Jones. STOP Thanking Us  — and Start Asking Why Whites Didn’t

Kelly Macias | Daily Kos

This week, Democrats made history with the Doug Jones’ win in the Senate special election in Alabama. Going into the race, pundits across the board decided that black people were “unenthusiastic” and “uninspired” about Jones.

To that end, Democrats wondered if black voters would turn out in high enough numbers to secure a win, while Republicans did everything they could to suppress black votes in the state.   

Republicans were also counting on low black turnout – at least the ones they hadn’t successfully marginalized – considering this was a special election taking place in a non-presidential year.

What we now know is that black voter turnout exceeded all expectations and provided the margin Jones needed to win. While blacks make up 26 percent of the population in the state, they made up almost 30 percent of voters in the election.

A very wise woman – Daily Kos contributing editor Denise Oliver Velez – had something very important to say about this – It is time for Democrats to wake up and smell the black coffee:

“If you think black people are gonna sit on their hands and ignore Roy Moore lauding slavery, that we have forgotten Selma and Birmingham and those four black girls [killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963], and the daily racism we live with just trying to go about our business and live our lives — think again. Wake up and smell the black coffee, folks.”

In spite of concerted and ongoing efforts by white people to suppress and disenfranchise the black vote — not just in Alabama — we continue to be the most dependable Democratic Party voting block. Period.

Especially black women, although our brothers are far more often disallowed from voting due to having a criminal record or being incarcerated.

Whew. This is real. Let’s take a moment to take this in.

If you know Denise – who is a former member of both the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party – you know she always speaks the truths that need telling.

And this is no exception. Despite our reliability and consistency in showing up to vote for the Democratic Party, there has been a lot of mistrust and blame heaped on black voters for recent losses, particularly in 2016.

This is misplaced and incredibly problematic — especially because it means some Democrats quickly shame and vilify black folks while still expecting us to do all the heavy lifting needed to deliver a win.

It also ignores the fundamental fact that, in most campaigns, Democrats fail to reach out to their base and turn us out to vote.

There has been a predictable pattern of candidates and the party expending an enormous amount of energy and effort in reaching out to the voters – mainly white working-class – who haven’t been with us in decades rather than organizing and mobilizing the ones who have, along with the rising electorate – young people, people of color, unmarried women.

One of the things that made turnout so successful this week was the fact that the ground game to get out black votes was much stronger than it has been recently, and most certainly stronger than it was in 2016.

In fact, Doug Jones WON A SEAT that the Democrats didn’t even bother to field a candidate for in 2014. You run, you can win.

The NAACP encouraged local chapters in the state to call registered voters who didn’t vote in 2016 and there was a well-coordinated effort to canvass and register voters, offer rides to the polls, and educate voters in places like Mobile, Huntsville, and Birmingham. This made a huge difference.

But while we are talking about how black voters – especially black women – have saved the day in Alabama and consistently show up and save everyone, let’s also acknowledge that this routine expectation and demand of our labor is toxic.

It continues to absolve white people – as a whole – from voting the right way and from doing the hard work of organizing other white people at a time when it is most needed.

Frankly, this whole notion of thanking black women has become lazy — both intellectually and in terms of an approach to creating actual change.

Right now, people across the country are patting themselves on the back and feeling proud of themselves for thanking black women. Not only is this self-serving, it comes without any thought as to why black women might be voting this way or how, as a society, we can really show our appreciation.

These quotes are from the satirical blog, The Reductress, in a post about how white women are applauding themselves for recognizing black women’s votes.

While they aren’t real, if you were on social media on Tuesday night or Wednesday, you likely saw similar comments coming from people around the country.

“It’s really important that we white women take time to thank black women for overwhelmingly doing the right thing in this election,” said Cindy Mulaney of Oklahoma. “And once we do, we should thank ourselves for overwhelmingly doing the right thing by thanking those black women. We deserve it.” […]

“Black women really deserve most of the credit for voting so influentially,” commented Angela Pierce of Danvers, MA. “And white women deserve the rest of the credit for making sure to publicly thank black women for doing so.”

Here’s the thing everyone should know:

Black women are not voting the right way to save white people or to save the world.

We are actually voting Democratic because we know the Republican alternative is unthinkable — for ourselves and the people we love. We aren’t anyone’s mammies or pets and we don’t go to the poll as martyrs for justice. There is no falling on our swords. Here is the thing:

We know that when Donald Trump says he wishes the police would be “more [physically] rough” with suspects, he actually means it.

And we know that it will have a tangible, negative impact on ourselves and our loved ones.

We know that when Roy Moore says that during times of slavery, families were more unified, this perspective erases our history and does not acknowledge all the ways our families were split apart and our babies ripped away from us for the purposes of keeping us in bondage to grow an economy.

We know that when Republicans talk about cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that it will be harder for us to get necessary medical care and that our poor, elderly, and disabled family members will also suffer.

We know that the days of Jim Crow aren’t all that far behind us and that many of the policies coming out of the modern Republican Party are pushing us deeper into inequality.

We know that when we are taken care of, everyone we care about is. Going forward, Democrats can learn a huge lesson here and invest in us. But this goes far beyond what we can deliver at the ballot box. The country can also benefit from our smarts and commitment by investing in creating opportunities for us to lead, create businesses, and contribute to innovation and equality across the board.

Our votes are about preserving quality of life and creating an alternative reality for ourselves and our loved ones that is greater, filled with possibilities, and more dignified than the one that currently exists for us.

More importantly, this is a time for folks to ask:

If black women and men are so routinely thinking about improving conditions for themselves and their families, why aren’t white people?

In 2016 and this year in both Virginia and Alabama, white people overwhelmingly voted Republican — even when the candidates were despicable and vile – White People Were ALL IN.

So much so that being a sexual predator meant almost nothing when casting a vote for Donald Trump or Roy Moore.

So instead of the hyper-focus on black folks saving the country – especially after what we have witnessed this past year – perhaps, we should really be asking why white folks still insist on destroying it?

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Linda  On 12/16/2017 at 9:26 am

    My take on this article is this. There’s enough information out there that allows black people to make intelligent decisions and enable them to vote for candidates whom they feel would benefit them in the long run. Black people must not wait for candidates to come to their neck of the woods to woe them. Many good candidates don’t make it there because, like any business, they don’t feel that they will get the return on their “time/financial investment” to do so. Forget about the white voters…they will do what they deem fit. You also have to do what you deem fit….you have to be the catalyst for each other and motivate each other to go to the polls with strength in numbers and vote for the person who did not make it to your area but is the best person to make a difference in your lives. Stop talking about what the white people did or didn’t do and do what you need to do for YOURSELVES. Continue to do in every part of America what you did in Alabama…..SHOW YOUR STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.

  • kamtanblog  On 12/16/2017 at 10:55 am

    USA dilemma !
    Racism at its core ….
    Black racism
    White racism

    The judiciary is corrupt to its core.
    Making anti racists laws and enforcing is a step in right direction.

    USA needs a dictatorship …and it has one. Sad fact !

  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/16/2017 at 11:41 am

    The Annotated ‘Nationalist’s Delusion’

    Adam Serwer explains how his argument came together.
    Adam Serwer and Matt Peterson | The Atlantic

    This article is edited from a story shared exclusively with members of The Masthead, the membership program from The Atlantic. Find out more.

    ***
    “Trumpism,” writes Adam Serwer, “is a profoundly American phenomenon.” In his Atlantic feature story “The Nationalist’s Delusion,” Serwer plumbs the depths of that phenomenon.

    He explains, “Supporters and opponents alike understand that the president’s policies and rhetoric target religious and ethnic minorities, and behave accordingly. But both supporters and opponents usually stop short of calling these policies racist.

    It is as if there were a pothole in the middle of the street that every driver studiously avoided, but that most insisted did not exist even as they swerved around it.” Here, Serwer walks us through his thought process. — Matt Peterson, editor, The Masthead

    The Genesis of the Piece

    During the final few weeks of the campaign, I asked dozens of Trump supporters about their candidate’s remarks regarding Muslims and people of color. I wanted to understand how these average Republicans — those who would never read the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer or go to a Klan rally at a Confederate statue — had nevertheless embraced someone who demonized religious and ethnic minorities.

    What I found was that Trump embodied his supporters’ most profound beliefs — combining an insistence that discriminatory policies were necessary with vehement denials that his policies would discriminate and absolute outrage that the question would even be asked.

    It was not just Trump’s supporters who were in denial about what they were voting for, but Americans across the political spectrum, who, as had been the case with those who had backed [Louisiana politician and former Klan leader David] Duke, searched desperately for any alternative explanation — outsourcing, anti-Washington anger, economic anxiety — to the one staring them in the face.

    The frequent postelection media expeditions to Trump country to see whether the fever has broken, or whether Trump’s most ardent supporters have changed their minds, are a direct outgrowth of this mistake. These supporters will not change their minds, because this is what they always wanted:

    A president who embodies the rage they feel toward those they hate and fear, while reassuring them that that rage is nothing to be ashamed of.

    I jotted down the first lines of what would eventually become “The Nationalist’s Delusion” in 2016, shortly after seeing the reaction to Hillary Clinton’s remarks about half of Trump supporters being racist.

    This set of paragraphs, which more or less sums up my argument, wasn’t written until months later. But after attending rallies and speaking to dozens of Trump supporters, I texted my editor Yoni Appelbaum with what would become the core argument of the essay, that Trump supporters didn’t think of themselves as racist but were enthusiastic supporters of the discriminatory policies that Trump was running on.

    The text, from October 1, 2016, is still on my phone. “Getting a lot of good stuff, it’s fascinating. What I really hadn’t understood is that Trump supporters are engaged in the exact ritual of denial about Trump that the press is.”

    It took me the better part of a year to excavate another crucial revelation, that the denial isn’t something recent, but rather a phenomenon that runs through all of American history.

    How I Stumbled On Trump’s Comments About David Duke

    Duke’s strong showing [in his 1990 Senate campaign against Democratic U.S.A. Senator J. Bennett Johnston] … wasn’t powered merely by poor or working-class whites — and the poorest demographic in the state, black voters, backed Johnston.

    Duke “clobbered Johnston in white working-class districts, ran even with him in predominantly white middle-class suburbs, and lost only because black Louisianans, representing one-quarter of the electorate, voted against him in overwhelming numbers,” The Washington Post reported in 1990.

    Duke picked up nearly 60 percent of the white vote. Faced with Duke’s popularity among whites of all income levels, the press framed his strong showing largely as the result of the economic suffering of the white working classes.

    Louisiana had “one of the least-educated electorates in the nation; and a large working class that has suffered through a long recession,” The Post stated.

    Months into working on the story, I happened to read a passage from the historian David Roediger that changed my frame of reference. In The Wages of Whiteness, a book about racism and the construction of the white working class in America, Roediger mentions that pundits in 1989 had blamed Duke’s ability to win a seat in the Louisiana legislature on, essentially, economic anxiety.

    “In a quite meaningless way, the ‘race problem’ is consistently reduced to one of class,” Roediger wrote.

    “One expert commenter after another came on the morning news shows to announce that unemployment was high in Duke’s nearly all white district and therefore the election turned on economic grievances rather than racism.”

    That piqued my interest, and when I started looking more closely at the Duke Senate race, which happened a year later, the parallels became clear — even to the point where I found Trump commenting on the race itself in an insightful way that foreshadowed his own campaign.

    It ended up becoming the intro section to my article, in part because my editors and I felt the parallels were strong enough to hook the reader into what was going to be a long ride.

    Immigration and Partisanship

    Using data from the American National Election Survey, [political scientists Marisa] Abrajano and [Zoltan] Hajnal conclude that “changes in individual attitudes toward immigrants precede shifts in partisanship,” and that “immigration really is driving individual defections from the Democratic to Republican Party.”

    I think many political observers underestimated the salience of the immigration issue in the 2016 campaign, which is ironic because the media bears a significant amount of responsibility for its importance.

    Abrajano and Hajnal, whose 2015 book White Backlash I drew on for this piece, write that “At the aggregate level, we show that when media coverage of immigration uses the Latino threat narrative, the likelihood of whites identifying with the Democratic Party decreases and the probability of favoring Republicans increases. Whites who are fearful of immigration tend to respond to that anxiety with a measurable shift to the political right.”

    Using data drawn from immigration coverage in the New York Times, they write that “news coverage is largely negative, largely focused on Latinos, and largely attentive to the negative policy issues associated with immigration.” That’s just the New York Times, to say nothing of the steady diet of immigration horror stories one sees on Fox News and other conservative outlets.

    This incredible political realignment was happening because of the media, but the media largely (but not completely) missed it.

    Clinton’s 2008 Primary Campaign

    Clinton’s arrogance in referring to Trump supporters as “irredeemable” is the truly indefensible part of her statement — in the 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton herself ran as the candidate of “hard-working Americans, white Americans” against Obama, earning her the “exceedingly strange new respect” of conservatives who noted that she was running the “classic Republican race against her opponent.”

    Eight years later, she lost to an opponent whose mastery of those forces was simply greater than hers.

    I wanted to invoke the largely forgotten racial tensions of Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign rivalry with Barack Obama, with Clinton taking the role of the tribune of the white working class and caricaturing Obama as a wine-sipping elitist.

    A Clinton adviser at the time dismissed the Obama coalition as “eggheads and African-Americans.”

    There was the infamous picture of Obama in Somali garb (a Clinton adviser said Obama shouldn’t be ashamed of being seen in “his native clothing, in the clothing of his country,” even though Obama’s native country is the United States).

    In hindsight it probably shouldn’t have been a surprise that Clinton had trouble trying to win with Obama’s coalition years later. Even though her point about Trump voters’ tendencies toward racism and sexism was defensible, she had never really publicly accounted for the way her earlier primary against Obama played out.

    “The Nationalist’s Delusion” helps explain the Trump phenomenon, but it was never just a Trump phenomenon.

    Pre-2016 Data

    It’s not that Republicans would have been less opposed to Clinton had she become president, or that conservatives are inherently racist. The nature of the partisan opposition to Obama altered white Republicans’ perceptions of themselves and their country, of their social position, and of the religious and ethnic minorities whose growing political power led to Obama’s election.

    In addition to White Backlash, I used Post-Racial or Most-Racial by Michael Tesler to explaining how the Republican base had been radicalized over the Obama years. The first book was about how immigration was driving defections of white voters from the Democratic Party, and the second was about how public policy issues became “racialized” in the Obama years, despite Obama’s best efforts.

    It was important to me that both books had been published prior to Trump’s victory — that is, they weren’t attempting to retroactively explain what happened.

    Instead, they predicted the salience both of the immigration issue and Trump’s overtly racial appeals, and used social science to explain both phenomena. In other words, they pointed to the rise of a Trump-like figure, though not Trump himself. Both books provided ample evidence of the social trends that explained Trumpism, prior to the need to do so, and so I found them more persuasive than any post-hoc explanation.

    How did Trump voters react when I asked them about Trump’s racism?

    “I don’t feel like he’s racist. I don’t personally feel like anybody would have been able to do what he’s been able to do with his personal business if he were a horrible person,” Michelle, a stay-at-home mom in Virginia, told me.

    Most Trump voters I spoke to were quite friendly (the ones who weren’t didn’t want to talk at all). They were also eager to defend Trump’s controversial remarks, and blamed the mainstream media for taking him out of context.

    The irony I kept running into was that even though some people felt that Trump wasn’t being given a fair shake, or that he had made a mistake due to lack of polish as a politician, those people would still generally repeat or endorse the underlying sentiment.

    That is, they recognized that Trump’s remarks could be interpreted as racist, and they thought that was unfair, but they also agreed with what he was saying. That contradiction, and ways it has manifested historically, was really the heart of the piece.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/16/2017 at 11:47 am

    Quotes from the essay:

    I think many political observers underestimated the salience of the immigration issue in the 2016 campaign, which is ironic because the media bears a significant amount of responsibility for its importance.

    This incredible political realignment was happening because of the media, but the media largely (but not completely) missed it.

    “I don’t feel like he’s racist. I don’t personally feel like anybody would have been able to do what he’s been able to do with his personal business if he were a horrible person,” Michelle, a stay-at-home mom in Virginia, told me.

    LOOK: The media dictates what we talk about and think about every day.

    And somebody should tell the stay-at-home mom that she needs to get out more often – the man-child, she believes in is a horrible person.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/17/2017 at 8:56 am

    A woman who had been inspired to seek office after the election of Donald Trump has said she will withdraw from a congressional race following the surfacing of sexual harassment allegations against her.

    Andrea Ramsey, 56, is a retired business executive who was competing to flip Kansas’s 3rd District from Republican to Democratic during next year’s midterm elections.

    Ms Ramsey is alleged to have sexually harassed, and then fired, a former subordinate.

    “Twelve years ago, I eliminated an employee’s position,” Ms Ramsey said in a letter posted to Facebook on Friday. “That man decided to bring a lawsuit against the company (not against me). He named me in the allegations, claiming I fired him because he refused to have sex with me. That is a lie.”

    Ms Ramsey is perhaps the only female public figure to face consequences from a sexual harassment accusation in the weeks since news outlets first began exposing sexual abuses by powerful men.

    Earlier this month, the Kansas City Star newspaper asked Ms Ramsey about a 2005 lawsuit that accused her of sexually harassing a man at LabOne, where she was the executive vice president of human resources, and then firing him after he rejected her advances.

    She has denied these accusations. The suit was against the company, not Ms Ramsey specifically, and was settled in 2006.

    In the statement announcing her exit, Ms Ramsey blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for deciding to abandon her campaign as the allegations resurfaced.

    “In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero-tolerance standard,” Ms Ramsey said.

  • Albert  On 12/17/2017 at 1:40 pm

    One win does not a trend make. Moore was a very flawed candidate yet he came within 1% point of winning. Black turn out is shaky and is usually driven by fear. Trump this time. Would turn out be as high next time around. Hoping I am wrong.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/20/2017 at 1:45 pm

    Trump and Mueller’s Legal Teams to Meet This Week
    – Trump expects ‘Letter of Exoneration’

    Mark Sumner | Daily Kos

    For weeks now, Donald Trump has been precariously balanced at critical pressure. Even as Republicans in Congress work to wrap up their own admittedly pointless Russia investigation so they can get on with the business of more efficiently interfering with Robert Mueller, Trump has been swinging between singing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah and the persecution blues. Meanwhile, not-so-deep underground, the magma is rising.

    If the Trump administration were a movie, we’d have arrived at a point in the film where the soundtrack rises to an ominous crescendo.

    The question is not so much whether Trump will erupt in rage but WHEN, and WHERE he will direct it.

    And the trigger for the coming explosion could well be meetings that are scheduled this week between Donald Trump’s legal team, and the legal team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    White House lawyers are expected to meet with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office late this week seeking good news:

    That his sprawling investigation’s focus on President Trump will soon end and their client will be cleared.

    That’s what Ty Cobb and others on Trump’s teams have been telling the Twitter-in-chief. Trump is even expecting to get some kind of written “Letter of Exoneration” which seems intensely unlikely.

    People familiar with the probe say that such assurances are unlikely and that the meeting could trigger a new, more contentious phase between the special counsel and a frustrated president, according to administration officials and advisers close to Trump.

    Mueller is not done. Not close to done. And certainly not about to hand Donald Trump some kind of written “ALL CLEAR.” Instead, Trump’s likely to be told that the investigation will proceed into 2018, and that both Trump and his advisers should expect to spend more time being interviewed by Mueller’s team.
    Outside Trump’s hovering flock of animated bluebirds, most Republicans seem to understand that Mueller is not only far from done, but moving ever closer to laying serious charges at Trump’s feet. After all, Mueller did not give Michael Flynn a deal on a whole butcher’s bill of crimes just because he was trying to put a bow on the investigation. Flynn’s deal was made as part of strategy to roll up the Trump campaign — with up being the operative word.
    So far, Mueller hasn’t even revealed the information gathered from the deal with George Papadopoulos, much less Flynn.

    Mueller’s interest in Trump’s conversations surrounding James Comey and the construction of Donald Trump Jr.’s “it was all about adoption” excuse, show that the special counsel is not just looking into the direct connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, but also putting together a case for obstruction.

    The charges against Manafort and Gates show that Mueller’s team is digging into money laundering and financial issues that could easily go back through a decade of Trump’s serving as a one-stop-shop for oligarchs looking to ditch some cash.

    All of this is why Republicans have been working so hard to demean Mueller’s team and diminish the importance of what they’re finding.

    Over the last several months, in an effort to delegitimize Mueller’s investigation, Republicans have floated a succession of pseudo-outrages or conspiracy theories purporting to reveal Mueller and the FBI to be fatally biased.

    The pace at which these theories have appeared is accelerating.

    Over the weekend, Trump declared that he didn’t intend to fire Mueller, even as he also announced that it was “sad” that the special counsel’s office had collected thousands of emails from Trump’s transition team. But things are about to get even sadder.

    White House lawyers have told the president he could be exonerated as early as the beginning of the year, after previously reassuring him that he would be cleared by Thanksgiving and Christmas, as The Washington Post previously reported.

    They have stated publicly that all White House interviews are over and that Mueller’s team is no longer seeking White House documents. …

    Legal experts said Mueller would have little incentive to clear the president or other White House aides while he is seeking more information from witnesses.

    Don’t expect to hear much in the way of public statements from Mueller’s team.

    Do expect to read about it on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: