The American economic system is not working for far too many Black voters and communities. This reality is going to cause a major drag on voter participation come November, as has too often been the case in the past.
And while we’re considering the potential for Black voter participation in November 2016, it appears that Black ambitions are threatening to undermine chances for the re-election of Rep. Alma Adams or any other Black in the newly gerrymandered 12th Congressional District. With no run-off in this year’s Congressional races, the more Black candidates that run the less likely it is that either of them running will win the nomination.
Last week I wrote that much of the appeal of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is driven by economics. People need and want jobs and economic opportunities and the candidates making their appeal to voters on these issues are being very successful and finding very responsive audiences. It appears that Black voters are rightfully lining up to vote against Donald Trump because of his unvarnished bigotry. However, Black voters would be well served to continue to press candidates to present a platform that includes economic opportunities.
The Democratic Party stands to receive the lion’s share of the votes that Black voters cast. However, there is a growing fear that many Black voters will stay home in November and not vote at all. I’ve previously written about the twin threats to Black voter participation. These threats are voter suppression and voter apathy.
The North Carolina NAACP and Democracy NC are coordinating major voter mobilization efforts leading up to the November General Elections. Churches and other community based organizations that recognize the threat of voter suppression should join the efforts of the NAACP and Democracy NC and help them to protect our voting rights.
Candidates depending upon an inspired turnout by voters of color will have to make jobs and economic opportunities a highly visible part of their campaigns. Historically, the economic needs of people of color have not been spoken to with any specific plans, if spoken to at all.
I know many Black elected officials are considering and embracing our initiative to get public bodies to adopt Diversity Plans and fair share initiatives to ensure all segments of our communities benefit from public hiring and spending. Unless there is another strategy in place, the issue of fair share in public spending should be pursued in a much more aggressive fashion.
It is my opinion that only our Black elected officials can provide the level of support and leadership needed in this effort. I also believe that without such an effort, many Black voters will not recognize any visible efforts to address their economic needs through our political system. Through the years our voters have done a lot of voting but rarely done it with well-defined economic objectives in mind. We really need to end that practice and end it now. I continue to believe that voters of color should “vote their economics.” And as always, I welcome suggestions to the contrary.
That being said, this year it appears to be more likely than not, that our public spending initiative will provide Black communities a viable economic objective to vote than any I’ve seen before. Of course, for it to have the effect that our candidates need it will require very aggressive promotions. Without those efforts, sad to say, many of our favored candidates are going to lose.
Those officials or candidates that don’t serve on public bodies that have direct control or influence of budget decisions, should become ambassadors for our proposal for equity in public hiring and spending. In North Carolina we have nearly 700 elected officials of color and many more elected officials that depend upon voters of color to get elected. They should be working in coalition to insure fairness and equity when public funds are being spent.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on political, social and economic justice. To support our efforts, to unite our politics and economics, please “Like” and follow us at www.facebook.com/greaterdiversitynews, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites www.GreaterDiversity.com. He is available for radio commentaries upon request. Follow Peter ontwitter.com/yourrighttovote. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page.