By LeRoi Brashears
It is time African-Americans to form or join a new political party. Our support for the Democratic Party has increased steadily over almost 60 years, yet, our political fortunes and standard of living have not truly improved.
American Blacks identifying as Democrats went from 58 per cent in 1960 to 76 per cent in 2012. In 1960 60 per cent of Black folks voted Democratic compared to 93 per cent in 2012.
Over that period of time, Black unemployment consistently remained twice that of whites—twelve percent for Blacks and six for whites in 1960 to 13.4% for Blacks and 6.7% for whites in 2013 with no favorable “blips” during the tenure of Democratic presidents.
How can such a loyal constituent base be punished so severely by the society the Democratic Party represents?
One answer is that as political parties struggle with issues, factions within the party may leave of their own volition, or be thrown out and discarded.
The GOP jettisoned Northeastern moderates in the sixties, seeking a permanent majority by embracing Southern segregationist whites seething over the success of the Civil Rights Movement. It is now America’s “Angry White Man Party.”
Democrats, once our most virulently racist oppressors, scooped up moderates and Blacks, and with that, the Democratic Party became, as Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report wrote, “not a haven, but an enclosure, which Blacks fear to exit.”
Huddled in the Democratic Party enclosure, Blacks fearfully and reflexively sought protection from the Angry White Man Party. We have no policy expectations or demands of the Democratic Party other than that.
Perversely, the Democratic Party not only failed to protect us, but periodically offered the Angry White Man Party great chucks of Black flesh.
The Black incarceration rate increased 331 per cent between 1960 and 2010, primarily through a crime bill signed by Bill Clinton, a Democratic president. This bill remains unaltered by Barack Obama, also Democrat and our country’s first Black president.
Our public schools are plundered by Republicans and Democrats alike, as they wildly enrich themselves by creating charter schools, and use the remaining public schools as incubators to fill future private prisons in which they hold stock.
Many other factions have been leaving the Democratic Party and the GOP. Gallup reports that now a record 40 percent of voters now identify as independents.
Others have the fortitude to leave their party when it no longer addresses their interests. Why don’t we? If American Blacks ever needed a new and responsive political party, we need it now. Why not have our own political party? Why not engineer our own political freedom?
LeRoi Brashears is a North Carolina-based journalist and author. He will be a regular contributor to DePreist Votes Chronicles.