Whomever the Democrats nominate for president in 2020 from the list of their most “electable” candidates is bound to lose. It’s a fool’s errand to think that the Democratic path to victory follows some dude who promises to win back disaffected whites who may have voted for Barack Obama.
No. In fact, the reason Obama won, and the reason Democrats win nationally, is because of tsunami-like participation by Black voters. A majority of whites have voted for the Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan — Bush #41, Bob Dole, Bush #43, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and now Donald Trump. It was massive Black voter support which pushed Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to victory. That’s the way the white vote rolls.
In order to win the presidency, the Democrats will have to excite the potential Black vote like never before, because the Republicans are working night and day, by legal means or otherwise, spending millions of dollars at this very moment, in order to suppress the Black vote. That’s part of their winning formula, along with fanatic loyalty, in the 80 percent range among their GOP (white) base.
There must be a resounding Black presence at the polls if the Democrats hope to have a chance to win the White House next year. That’s because if the election is anywhere near close, the GOP has already made provisions to cheat and steal the election.
Without someone like Michelle Obama or Oprah on their ticket, the Democrats are going to the 2020 hatchet fight armed with a pocket knife. That’s because Trump brings a new, rowdy, unpredictable, armed-and-dangerous element into the game. He inspires white tribal fanaticism among his “deplorable,” race-hating followers in the military and “Bikers for Trump,” and he predicts they will literally wage a war if he’s not reelected.
The Democratic front-runners — Joe Biden, Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Corey Booker (N.J.) — and all the rest have bought into the electability myth, which is “white supremacy” in disguise.
“First of all, we have to understand that when they talk about electability or talk about how a candidate appeals to Middle America, that is a euphemism for white people, and we know that the Democratic Party’s base and their success depends on Black and minority voters. And so asking candidates to appeal to white voters, it’s not only a little bit contradictory, but it ignores the value of the party and the people who support the party on local levels, on state levels. And on the national level” — Black people, Michael Harriot, a senior writer for “The Root” told me in an interview.
“So for Democratic candidates, for progressive candidates to be successful, there’s no way, there’s no historical reason, there’s no statistical history that shows that white voters will determine the success of a Democratic candidate,” Harriot continued. “What it depends on is the enthusiasm and the turnout of Black and minority voters. So it would seem that the logical conclusion would be you have to send up candidates and you have to put candidates up for election who appeal to the Democratic Party’s base voters, the Black voters. But instead we use this argument of electability to say that that is more important. And that is by definition, white supremacy, that the ideas in between the needs of white people are more important to fit the needs of Black people.”
“And it’s that combination right now,” said Dr. Angie Maxwell, who teaches Southern Studies at the University of Arkansas. “If you express racial resentment as a white person in America or you express what we call modern sexism as a white person in America, man or a woman, or if you express this kind of Christian nationalist spirit among whites in America, that accounts for 95 percent of Trump’s vote.”
Furthermore, Democrats will not be able to depend on white women to save them, Maxwell said.
“You know, this anti-feminist spirit is really held by a high percentage of white women in the South,” she said. “Not all, but a high percentage. At least 75 percent of white women did not vote for [2018 Democratic Black female gubernatorial candidate] Stacey Abrams in Georgia.
“So that means that we need to build different coalitions, right? We need to make sure that we are reaching out to nonvoters, that we are working against voter suppression — all of those things,” Maxwell said.
Democrats need a strategy to inspire a massive turnout among Black voters, or be prepared to witness a seismic, perhaps permanent shift in the outcome.