Time to Get Real – African Americans and the realities of political interests

By Hon. Carroll G. Robinson, Esq

There is an old saying that “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”. The election of Donald Trump may be such an opportunity for African Americans to hold the Democratic Party more accountable to the black community, if they are willing to do so.

Democrats can’t win in 2018 or retake the White House in 2020 without major support from African American voters.

Will African American elected officials, community leaders and academicians take advantage of this opportunity to hold Democrats accountable based on a substantive policy and political agenda?

When Democrats retake the House or Senate or both, will issues of importance to the African American community and minority business owners and entrepreneurs be at the top of the agenda?

Even though they are now in the minority, will Democratic members of Congress hire more African Americans in leadership positions on their personal and committee staffs? Will Democratic campaign committees and PACs at the federal, state and local levels hire more African American political consultants, campaign advisors and vendors? Will these entities deposit funds in black owned banks and financial institutions? Will they invest in year round voter registration and education activities in African American communities across the country through existing African American led grassroots community based organizations?

Democratic campaign committees and PACs also need to advertise through the black media year round not just during the last few weeks of an election cycle.

Democrats need to understand that they can’t take it for granted that black millennials will be voting for Democrats in 2018 or 2020 just because of Trump. Opposing Trump alone is not going to be enough.

Democrats need to understand that they can’t take it for granted that black millennials will be voting for Democrats in 2018 or 2020 just because of Trump. Opposing Trump alone is not going to be enough.

Where do Democrats want to take our nation in the coming years and where do African Americans fit in?

If a Democrat is elected President in 2020, will she (or he) nominate an African American woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court?

Would the new Democratic President nominate an African American to serve as Treasury Secretary?

If either of these were to occur it would be a first in our nation’s history.

What about access to federal contracting opportunities? Would a new Democratic President be willing to hold A National Black Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Summit? Would she or he be willing to develop a Wealth and Prosperity Public Policy Agenda for the Black Community? Black America needs policies focused on lifting our community into the Middle-Class and beyond to upward economic mobility. This is not a special request or unique situation. This has been the reality of government decision making from the drafting Constitution and its protection of intellectual property and private “property” to government contracting from The Black Codes to Jim Crow and beyond.

African Americans need Democrats to put the same level of policy innovation, creativity, energy, imagination and intensity that they are putting into the fight for Sanctuary Cities and against Trump’s immigration ban, Betsey DeVos and Jeff Session into rebuilding inner city communities, reforming the criminal justice system, strengthening public schools in black neighborhoods and eliminating the racial wage and wealth gaps.

If Africans Americans don’t take advantage of this opportunity to get A Better Deal from Democrats when it comes to public policies and contracting as well as political opportunities during Redistricting in 2020, whose fault will it b

♦ Carroll G. Robinson is an Associate Professor at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University. He is a former General Counsel of the Texas Democratic Party, a Past President of the Texas Association of Black City Council Members and served as an At-Large Member of the Houston City Council.

More articles by Carroll G. Robinson ►►►

1 Comment on Time to Get Real – African Americans and the realities of political interests

  1. Mr. Robinson is confused. That’s understandable since his career seems to have been tied–at least in part–to the fortunes of the Democratic Party. Mr. Robinson calls for a New Deal for Blacks, essentially he wants a redistribution of power within the Democratic party.

    Mr. Robinson ignores the reality and it appears that he would have his readers do the same. The reality is, Democrats have relied on the Black vote since the Great Depression and very little has been gained. (I consider Obama to be aligned with the old Democratic machine.) What do Black voters want to say to Mr. Robinson?

    Localities controlled by Democrats have a high incidence of police brutality–as well as fatalities. Localities controlled by Democrats, in many cases, have a high incidence of residential segregation. Some Democratic cities rank with the most segregated municipalities on earth. Districts controlled by Democrats often have school segregation, (Charter Schools which are an additional layer of school segregation.) Black Mayors have had members of their city council turn their backs; that is, paid municipal employees have publicly expressed disrespect and contempt for African American mayors–similar to what the police did to the mayor in New York City. Now, about voting for a Democrat?

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