Saturday, September 27, 2008

Voting by Race: Is it Fair and does it Help?

By Tiffany Shorter

Black Republicans are extremely unpopular this election season since Barack Obama may be the first African American president. If he wins the White House, it would be a momentous occasion in American politics. Regardless of who becomes president in November, this campaign presents a troubling paradox. Some want to misrepresent the election as a black and white picture that all open-minded tolerate individuals will vote for Obama and the rich and white are behind John McCain.

Many African Americans say that every black voter should support Obama because he is black. White Democrats should vote for him despite that he is black.

At the same time, for centuries we have fought for equal treatment in this country. We want to be looked at, as Martin Luther King Jr. describes, by the “content of our character”.

However, black supporters of John McCain are attacked and labeled as race traitors and Uncle Toms. Is it only acceptable to ask society to be colorblind as long as it is in favor of liberal views?

I, along with other black conservatives, am proud that Obama is making history. All Americans should be pleased to see a live example that political leadership is open to all races and ethnic groups. Knowing that he is just like any other white presidential candidate, the American people are going to evaluate him similarly to his predecessors who have run for office.

Many blacks and whites are going to vote for Barack Obama because they agree with his policies. Race will be an insignificant factor. This is ethical voting, selecting a candidate mainly on his or her policy positions is the epitome of American democracy.

Judging Obama as I would any other candidate, his inexperience and left-wing ideology fails to get my vote.

How can any African American vote for McCain over Obama?

McCain is getting my vote for three reasons; he is a moderate conservative, he has an outstanding record of leadership and he knows foreign policy. As a moderate Republican, I appreciate that McCain knows how to work with Democrats to move legislation. He has a history of placing partisanship aside even when it cost him conservative votes. His support for the United Nations to intervene in Darfur, proves his compassion. I feel secure in knowing that he will create an exit strategy in Iraq that will avoid future national security risks.

Regarding crucial African American issues, I know that neither John McCain nor Barack Obama will make our issues a top priority. Whoever wins office; the black community must be self-reliant and be rigorous in advocating the issues that matter to us most, as we have always done throughout our history. It will be naïve and ridicule to contend that the skin color of the next president will definitely improve the black community without grassroots activism. Furthermore, many of our challenges cannot be simply resolved by government intervention.

Better family unity, education and commitment to self-empowerment, are key to our progress, but these actions are out of the government’s scope.

Some Black Democrats assert that a vote against Obama means betraying our race. Several blindly believe that a President Obama will significantly improve black communities across the nation.

If this is true, then the many black Democrats who are already in public office can be blamed for the problems in our neighborhoods. As one of Obama’s constituent in Illinois, I have yet to witness a sudden surge of blacks moving from the disadvantage areas of Chicago’s south and west sides to homes in the suburbs.

Can we fault our leaders for too few of us with college degrees and too many of our children being raised without fathers? Perhaps these politicians should be responsible for people having unprotected sex, and thus adding themselves to the increasing number of African Americans inflected with HIV?

As a black conservative, I overall support our leaders in the government and the community regardless of partisanship. However, I disagree on the methods and ideas that can best address certain problems.

I am confident that one day the Republican Party will nominate a black presidential candidate that I can vote for because I agree with his or her policies rather than just skin color. The GOP has generated some of the most commendable black leaders such as Martin Luther Kings Jr., Booker T. Washington, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Alan Keyes, J.C. Watts and Michael S. Steele. If black Democrats choose not to vote for a black Republican presidential candidate in the future, I will not question their loyalty and support for our community.

Tiffany Shorter is the Director of Communications for YPFP in New York. She works for the Hudson Institute. She moved to New York after graduate school at the University of Kent in Brussels, Belgium. Her focus is on the United Nations as a international security institution.


alec j said...

Very well said......A message that should be heard by all....

Democrats have failed the African American community time after time yet they receive 90% of their vote.

Ill never understand why.

If Barrack Obama is elected President he will continue to look out for his own interests just as he has his whole political career. His concerns are not for his community but for his personal ambitions.....he has proven that.

Just look at the few things he did do in Chicago....disgraceful---

Keep fighting the good fight....

NSangoma said...

Simple solution, all whites vote for Obama; all Negroes vote for McCain, no one then has voted for the person of their own race.

Anonymous said...

a wonderful commentary!

Bianca said...

Republicans and Democrats have both failed the Black community. What many people fail to realize that Barack can't focus on the black community only. He's running for the president of the United States not the NAACP. As for Mccain having a good voting record..Pleaseeeeee...He voted no for things that are really MLK day..the G.I bill then lied about it in the debate...He is so out of touch with Average Americans period...He was apart of the current economic downfall..I am sorry he won't do anything for anyone not in the top 5% tax bracket. Good Luck only time will tell

Constructive Feedback said...


You appear to be more concerned about a candidate who did not vote for the MLK holiday than you do a candidate who as an entrenched member of a machine that presides over a failed public school system (Chicago) that has 408,000, mostly Black children.

I have chosen to vote "Present" in my choice for president when I vote this year.

As I listen to Black people it is clear that there is a need for some independent force to get us to pause and take a look at where we now stand as a people. Bianca Blacks entered politics for the primary reasons of insuring:

* Quality Education for our people
* Safety for our people
* Economic opportunity for our people
* Healthy Living for our people

After more than 45 years of allowing Black folks to make the choice on terms largely based on "Democrat" or "Republican" most of us have chosen the candidate who is most aligned with that which WE BELIEVE TO BE in the best interests of the Black community. Sounds good.

Bianca - when do you take a pause upon the plateau on the mountain that you are climbing and realize that BELOW YOU - all of the plateaus that you have scaled in your UNITY effort ARE NOW DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED - just as you have been working for?

But wait Bianca - did that which you wanted as a RESULT of your vote ever transpire? Thus one is forced to ask - are you working for the advancement of your PARTY/IDEOLOGY or are you working for the actual attainment of that which you originally set out for?

Think about it - in nearly all of the large population centers for Black people - the local school board was said to be failing provide quality educational services to Black kids. They were said to "not care" about our children and certainly the charge of racism was levied upon them.

From this time a serial purging of these old administrations and the replacement of them by people who were POPULARLY CHOSEN by the Black community took their places to represent the community's interests. Bianca where as the other group's consequence for FAILURE to deliver for the Black community was a purge - today we have the popularly chosen people in place and CONTINUED FAILURE yet they are not purged.

Instead the power structure WITHIN the Black community, never having to stand accountable have shifted the focus. Instead of failure borne upon the local system and its administration they have chosen to NATIONALIZE the failure and make it an argument about resources. In Barack Obama's Chicago - despite the state already paying 44% of the public school $3.6 bill for the City of Chicago - several operatives have called this "low" amount a CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION!!!!!

What they are doing is taking an issue of economic failure of a city that is functionally insolvent and "nationalizing" it (at the state level) and making it a racial issue. They FAILED to deliver just as the people they had purged before but they now SUCCEED because they can make it an issue of race.

Go to the US Census and plot out the list of the top 25 population centers for African-Americans. As a general rule - when the Black population is at or above 40% - there are no district wide REPUBLICANS who can get elected. For some "Democrats Who Are Black" this is good news. They will say "this shows how much our people know what is best for them and who is a THREAT to our Black Interests".

Bianca I as a Black man choose to look at the same data and turn it on its head. I see this fact and say "THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOW DOMINATES ALL ASPECTS OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY WHERE WE ARE BEING HURT THE MOST AS A PEOPLE. In their domination THEY MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE RESULTS that are being registered".

Bianca - Image the power that a machine has when they can proclaim POWER and yet blame the OTHER GUY for the failures largely because their constituients HATE THE OTHER GUY more than they seek to have the DEMAND to have the DELIVERABLES which have them active in political advocacy in the first place? You have an easy job don't you? All the internal operative needs to do is to have the masses focused on the ADVERSARY rather than the promised deliverables.

We as a people are now on a "boil the ocean" campaign. Instead of looking for benefit after the acquisition of yet another political district that is under popular control - we have been convinced that we must focus upon the big picture and not be side tracked by local failure.

You appear to be more drawn by the symbolism of the MLK Holiday (which most Blacks don't do anything meaningful with), whether Sarah Palin participated in Juneteenth in Alaska (something that most Blacks don't do), Affirmative Action as a litmus test for support of Black interests (there are far more Black students that COULD BE made into college material if they had better managed schools than there are Black kids who benefit from Affirmative Action)

I have learned that without a structured dialogue among Black people - our popular biases form the primary rationale for our action. in this environment - the Democrats win and the Black Community's core interests of education, safety, economics and health LOSE out.

Anonymous said...

The idea that we should vote Obama because he's black is one that I've been fighting since he GOT the Dem nominee.

If people cared enough about the black community, they'd vote purely for a system that will give blacks the oppurtunity for greatness, NOT just voting on the color of the guy who represents an idea that I'd argue, will oppress blacks (and America as a whole) further.

If I had to vote for the lesser of two evils, I'd vote McCain.

Drew D. said...

It's great to see a blog that backs up my outrage of many years. The Dem's have absolutely taken advantage of and taken for granted the black community. They pander to them and insult their intelligence every step of the way, and unfortunately all too many ignore or deny this fact.

A tolerant liberal is an oxymoron. Yes they are tolerant, of everyone that agrees with them. If you disagree, especially if you are a minority you are a racist or a "Uncle Tom". This is the homonym/bumper sticker responses that liberals depend on. They can not win legitimate argument because the facts will prove them wrong again and again. So in order to cancel out any fair discoarse they change the debate all together.

If you are black and disagree with Lord Obama, then your an Uncle Tom. If you don't like how are borders are like swiss cheese and want them enforced, you are an intolerant hater of Mexicans. If you disagree with same-sex marriages, then you are a hate mongering homophobe.

See what this tactic has achieved? It lays the trap that far too many conservatives fall into. When a conservative makes an argument the liberal will retort with a choice homonym. This in turn changes the debate that is at hand into a debate about whether or not the conservative is a racist. While the conservative spends so much time trying to prove otherwise it distracts entirely from the original issue. This is the liberals hope, because if forced to actually debate the issues they will be proven to be wrong and sometimes brain dead.

I urge all black americans and all minorities to THINK FOR THEMSELVES. Do not buy the socialist propaganda that is fed to you through MVT/BET. IT's INSULTING, they think you will buy it blindly and not find out the truth for yourselves! PROVE THEM WRONG! Get informed on your own, find out the real facts. Not the "facts" that are found on those networks.

Voting for a person solely on race for EITHER party is ludicris and down right dangerous. Personally I can't see how someone could be so blind and ignorant. To not even research their candidate and just pull the lever of the same color is mind boggling and will lead to a horrible out come.

I have written several pieces on this very subject. From the crock that is "Barack the Vote" to "Anti-Obama = Racist". You are not alone in these sentiments. I have added you to my blog reel because you are a breath of fresh air. Take care.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]The Dem's have absolutely taken advantage of and taken for granted the black community.[/quote]

Drew D:

As a Black Conservative independent - I have to strongly disagree with your statements.

The Democratic party DID NOT 'take the Black community for granted'.

It was the Black community that failed to come to the table with sufficient demands in exchange for our collective votes. Thus - we got all that we ever asked for.

You have to understand the psychology of all that went down. Black folks "hated their ideological adversaries - the conservative - more than we loved to see that which we initiated our political activism for in the first place". Thus when you have a constituency that the favored party does not have to show advertising to as a means of CONVINCING them to vote for the said party over the other.....but instead the advertising is shown to get them to SHOW UP TO THE POLLS and do what the operatives already know that they are going to do.......we have a situation as I noted above.

As I said in my prior post - the time is now for Blacks who are not affiliated with the prevailing party within our community to STOP BEING SILENT. The threat of being called a "Sellout", "Uncle Tom" or "White Boy" and thus not making mention of what is clear - will only insure that our community will endure yet another generation as we have today.

There is no other force in America that can gain MORE POWER over a given people and yet increasingly blame their IDEOLOGICAL ADVERSARY for the failures within. Once again - this can only be done with complicity. The circular reference is made that in order to obtain the big fix - Black people must not "fracture our vote!!". We must stick together and remain unified.

In truth what this is saying is "DON'T ASK QUESTIONS regarding short term failure. The jackpot will be received at the end of the ride".

For me - I prefer - earnest money. Give me my reward in increments along the way and then I will have faith that one's credit is good. I can then make adjustments if I start receiving bounced checks.

Drew D. said...


How is the Democratic party assuming that every black person that shows up at the polls will vote their way NOT taking them for granted?

You said yourself they don't even HAVE to or WANT to advertise to them because why? Because they take their vote for granted. They simply mark them up as Dem votes and move on.

While I totally agree with you on your points in terms of the responsibility lying in the hands of Black voters, this much is true. The Democratic party has routinely exploited this "guaranteed" demographic. They pander to them and feed them propaganda ,and all too many go with it in order to fight their conservative nemesis. How is considering a particular demographic a "guaranteed" vote for their side NOT taking them for granted?

As far as the psychology of the Black community goes, your right, I don't understand it. Hating the very party that gave them the right to vote, and was responsible for the Southern Reconstruction Act doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Dwight Miller said...

I have decided to vote for Senator Obama because I agree with some of his policies and I believe in his character. I believe he will bring the best and brightest to Washington (sorely needed considering the many hacks and cronies of the last 8 years, example Brownie) and may go down as a great president.

It's interesting with me and the Republican Party, I agree with many of the parties policies, balanced budget (agree), strong military (agree) support of entrepreneurship (agree), lower taxes (agree in principal but irresponsible given the current financial conditions) so I agree with Republicans on many issues.

So, why can't they sell a successful entrepreneur like me.

Two reasons, not promoting black candidates (not many black Republican role models) and the continued tolerance for derogatory racial comments. A simple Google search "Republican racist comments" returns just some pretty offensive comments.

I am not so naive that I don't believe racism spans all groups (black & white) it's not speaking out that I find repugnant and until I see that happen in the Republican party, they can't close the deal with me. Period

Anonymous said...

Bianca said...
Republicans and Democrats have both failed the Black community
After growing up in an affirmative action nation, I'm sick to death of hearing how everyone "fails" black people. Their character does chount and it has been found lacking. Blacks haven't been treated equally in the U.S., they have been treated like spoiled children, while white people bend over backwards taking crap in order not to look prejudiced. Blacks are the racists and anyone with any courage at all must speak the truth before we end up like other third world countries. Blacks who supposedly had a conservative world view jumped ship and voted in a racist Marxist simply because he was black. I don't trust blacks anymore because of their racism, and I'm not going to submit to any more false guilt or extortion. Whites put a black man into office, who may well destroy the country, now the ass kissing is over.