Black voters are getting tired of politics as usual. We need real solutions to pressing problems like income inequality and violent crime, not meaningless posturing and policies designed solely to assuage white guilt.
In the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans received just 8 percent of the Black vote, consistent with historical patterns and identical to President Trump’s share of the Black vote in both 2016 and 2020. In 2022, however, 14 percent of Black voters cast their ballots for Republican candidates—a 75 percent shift in just two years.
It’s likely that Donald Trump’s absence from the ballot drove some of this shift. But it’s also true that Democrats received a smaller share of the Black vote in 2022 than they have in decades.
That’s not even the full story. In addition to the significant number of Black voters who switched their votes from Democrat to Republican candidates, overall Black turnout in 2022 was at its lowest level since 2006, indicating that large numbers of Black voters sat the last election out because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for either party.
The solution to economic inequality, for instance, cannot possibly be more government handouts. We know this because that approach has been tried over and over, at the state, local, and federal levels, and we haven’t made any real progress toward solving the problem.
What we really need are policies that help us to build intergenerational wealth. That wealth doesn’t come from barely keeping your head above water; it comes from seizing opportunities to thrive.
Successful entrepreneurs hand down productive assets to their children and teach them valuable life skills that enable them to succeed on their own. Instead of stimulus checks, food stamps, or more public housing, we need policies that make it easier for Black and brown Americans to start and grow businesses and become homeowners.
One thing that makes it difficult to start a successful small business in many Black communities is the pervasiveness of crime—both violent crime and property crime. Unfortunately, most Democrat politicians today are fixated on policies that make life easier for criminals, such as eliminating pre-trial detention and reducing sentences for serious crimes.
No wonder Black voters, who live in the communities that suffer the worst consequences from soft-on-crime policies, are questioning their loyalty to the Democratic Party.
The same goes for education. Safe, high-quality schools are essential for any community to thrive, but far too many Black students are trapped in failing neighborhood schools without access to adequate instructional materials. The situation continues to deteriorate as talented teachers flee those schools to escape crime and a lack of institutional support.
Unfortunately, instead of championing solutions to these problems, most Democrat politicians reflexively side with their allies and donors in the teachers’ unions, allowing Black students to fall further and further behind.
The Democrats are aware of the problem, but they aren’t willing to listen to the actual concerns of Black Americans. Instead, they’re pouring their energy into political theatrics, like trying to make South Carolina the first primary state. Black voters in South Carolina already play a meaningful role in the Democratic nominating process, and moving them up a few slots does nothing to create intergenerational wealth or make Black communities safe places to run a business or raise a family.
The rise of Independent and independent-minded politicians like Kyrsten Sinema and Tulsi Gabbard only intensifies the danger for Democrats. If they don’t start listening to what Black voters actually want and need from our government, they’re going to find that the Black voters they depend on to win elections are no longer there for them.
DaQuawn Bruce is the executive director of Concerned Communities for America, a 501(c)(3) advocacy group that promotes economic empowerment, public safety, free and fair elections, and quality education for the Black community.
by DaQuawn Bruce. Newsweek, 1/18/23