Mid-term 2014 elections scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 4, have candidates out shaking hands and running attack and counter attack ads with all of the seats in the House of Representatives and 33 seats in the Senate on the line. Governors will be chosen in 38 states and territories along with representatives for state legislatures and local governments.
Much attention is focused on Congress as the GOP tries to gain control of the Senate and the Democrats try to blunt that attack by not standing too close to President Obama, his agenda and the White backlash that his presence seems to engender. Senate seats are in contention in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
As the Washington Post reported in October, a “confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted ‘crushing Democratic losses across the country’ if the party did not do more to get Black voters to the polls. ‘African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,’ Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. ‘In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.’ ”
Black voters are being counted on by Democrats to pull off Senate victories in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and could impact Arkansas, if they come out in high numbers, and Kentucky. “The GOP currently has a 233-199 lead in the House of Representatives. Democrats outnumber Republicans, 53-45, in the U.S. Senate (with two Independents in the mix). Heading into the election, Democrats control the U.S. Senate while Republicans are the majority in the U.S. House. For Republicans to take the majority in the Senate, they need to take six seats currently held by Democrats and retain control of the 15 seats currently held by a Republican. For Democrats to take majority control of the U.S. House, a Democratic pick up of 17 seats is needed,” ballotpedia.org noted.
The problem is that beyond fear of the GOP boogeyman and appeals to loyalty to President Obama there isn’t a lot being said to drive Black voters to the polls. In some states Democrats are running away from President Obama and would prefer a kind of Black stealth vote–just enough focus to turn the election but not enough to inspire White anger and poll participation as a result of too much focus on Black folk.
And while the Republicans have seemingly decided that gays and Latinos are welcome to help push the GOP over the top with support from White voters, Blacks are unwelcome. Though Republican Rand Paul did some predictable election year meetings with the NAACP and there was talk of the GOP needing to have a place for everyone–nothing is going to change. The GOP needs a majority White vote and just enough of the gay and Latino vote to have victory.
Nobody really wants Black voters and nobody wants to deal with Black issues. Even a president who has enjoyed nearly unanimous support from Black voters and strong loyalty has been reluctant to talk about race and challenge America to be better. He has been strong in calling for Black responsibility but has tiptoed around issues of race and justice. There may be no place for anti-gay sentiment in American society, with laws enacted and enforced to protect gay rights, but racism remains. Whether the racism is overt in anti-Obama protests and appeals or racially coded words and images that appeal to Whites, the ugly side of American politics remains.
So once again Blacks find themselves voting for Lucifer or Satan among the Democrats or hoping for a special political savior to arise from a Republican candidate at the state or local level.
Once again Blacks are being chided to flock to the polls and exercise the right to vote in memory of those who died for the franchise, but there doesn’t seem to be any coherent agenda or demand. Not a singular demand for a federal response to police brutality, not a forceful lobby for an urban policy, not a strident call for foreign policy more favorable to Africa or the Caribbean.
We remain the politically despised and rejected, the politically-Ebola stricken bride at a shot gun wedding who won’t even get a hug and a kiss. We give and give but seem to get less and suffer more.
“The ‘unwritten law’ in politics is that ‘those who give should get.’ How much more should we give before we get what we are justly due?” asked the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at the National Press Club some 30 years ago in the context of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s historic run for the presidency. Now with a Black president, we still suffer disproportionately and the president often is silent on our issues.
“The government of America and the heads of both political parties who say they want Black people included in the mainstream of this society must realize that if Blacks are going to be successful within this society, Blacks must organize to achieve unity and power. … It is time that Black people go free. We cannot ever again tolerate a master-slave relationship. If this is not recognized, there will be constant and increasing clashing between the two people,” the Minister warned.
“The Republican and Democratic parties are saying to Black people that they don’t care for us. You don’t want us. You do not care that we who helped to build your country, who fought, bled and died to keep it free for you, get no justice within your social, economic and political system.
“So if you will not give us justice then you must let us go, that we may do something for ourselves in a state or territory of our own. And you should help us to maintain ourselves in a separate territory either here or elsewhere,” Min. Farrakhan said.
This divine solution may not be the popular thing to say and it may not be the thing those inside the political process want to hear, but none of that stops the words above from being true.
So march to the polls Black America, if you will, and vote in your interests, but know that there is a man and program specially crafted for you and for this country. We will be here after election season and we will see what fruit voting bears. Even bitter lessons can be valuable if they move us to recognize reality and decide we will strike out on our own.