Minority Communities Deserve Better Leadership
(AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY) Photo From The American Prospect
Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have failed communities of color in various ways that either alienate them or take them for granted. No one has tried to stop the Democratic Party power grab and Republicans have disappointed millions of voters by failing to provide an adequate alternative. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, we have reached a turning point. The relationship between the public and established institutions has become strained, challenged, and rebuked by the people. It is evident that the status quo is no longer viable for the citizens of this country.
The Democratic Party has only contributed to the significant disparities in major urban areas by taking communities of color for granted. Democrats have turned a blind eye and only have had a superficial impact on the lives of those in these affected communities. Poverty, crime, and poor education have riddled these neighborhoods for decades, but nothing seemed to change after years of Democratic leadership.
Democratic Party leaders have continued to expect the party will earn votes from communities of color. For example, former Vice President Joe Biden insinuated that if Black Americans don’t vote for him then they “ain’t black” during an interview with Charlamagne tha God on the radio show “The Breakfast Club.” This was even denounced by people within his own party, like Black Entertainment Television (BET) co-founder Bob Johnson who said that Biden’s comments were “the biggest turnoff [he’s] heard from a politician in a long time” and that the Democratic Party views Black Americans as “an appendage of the party.” Vice President Biden also, just recently, again insulted the Black community by claiming that the “Latino community is diverse, unlike the African American community,” which essentially painted the Black community as some sort of monolithic voting bloc. Moreover, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, when referring to Senator Tim Scott’s JUSTICE Act, called the proposal a “token, half-hearted approach.” Instead of coming to the other side of the aisle to work on meaningful police and criminal justice reform, Democrats have continued to put party politics over compromise and guaranteeing results for the people. These Democratic politicians have shown, time and time again, that they only care for their votes and support instead of delivering on the promises made. Job numbers are stagnant, violent crime has increased, children are still left with subpar schools and given less opportunities as a result of their ineffective leadership.
The recent actions by some corrupt law enforcement officers have led the left to embrace the defunding and even dismantling of the police. Calls for defunding or disbanding the police on the left are misguided and woefully irresponsible. Democrats have done nothing to stop the violence in our cities and taking money from our police departments will only worsen these problems. Our police need the resources to do their jobs effectively. While there have been many instances of abuse of power by police, drastically reducing police budgets will only leave our communities less safe. In order to ameliorate relations between the police and their communities, all police officers must be retrained to stress non-lethal force and to de-escalate situations better, which will require MORE funds not less. In addition, police officers with previous records of abuse of power or misconduct must be relieved of their duty, as too many of these officers have gotten off without being reprimanded.
Currently, there is a window of opportunity for Republicans to broaden their coalition, as well as to enact more successful public policy. There are many voters in this country who are voting for the Democratic Party because they don’t see the GOP as a viable option. A recent study at the Pew Research Center found that African Americans consider their views as more moderate rather than liberal. In 2019, 43% of Black Democrats considered themselves as moderate, 29% said they are liberal and 25% called themselves conservatives. This shows that there are voters within the Democratic coalition who hold conservative values, yet the GOP fails to reach into their communities.
At a time where dangerous progressive revisionism is rising, the GOP must step in and stop leftist ideologies from radically transforming our communities and hurting the already disadvantaged minority communities, especially Black communities. The issues that affect these communities range from economic incentivization to school choice. Reaching out to these communities will mean having an honest conversation about race. Systemic racism in this country has plagued the Black community for decades and legacies of racist laws in the past have disadvantaged Black Americans. As conservatives, when we discuss the dangers of big government, we must acknowledge how government can be weaponized to create injustices within our political system. Given current events, championing police reform and criminal justice reform at local levels should be important. Republicans have sought to increase business opportunities and jobs for those in minority communities, such as the Investing in Opportunity Act, which was an initiative added by Senator Tim Scott in the tax reform bill. The goal is to uplift impoverished communities by investing in their economy. The Republican Party should continue to build relationships like these with minority communities and attract voters that extend beyond the typical white electorate and tap into the unaffiliated voters in each state.
Messaging and marketing these ideas will be a challenge, given the perception of the GOP in the Trump era. Republicans have to do a better job of picking minority conservatives that best represent the founding party principles and run strong candidates in America’s inner cities to provide voters a different choice, like Republican candidate for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District Kim Klacik. Her recent ad, which blew up on Twitter, showed the devastation that people face in their communities. While these candidates often face a struggle in deep blue districts, Klacik and others are waging an important battle to offer communities of color new choices in representation.
Conversely, popular social media conservatives such as Candace Owens, Larry Elder and more have dominated messaging campaigns on social media. These types of “conservatives” that belittle their own communities with divisive rhetoric are disconnected from their communities and only seek to profit off clickbait videos on social media. This also goes for any conservative or liberal organizations and news networks who have a history of bringing on minority conservatives for the sake of tokenizing them for political purposes instead of letting them add their own perspectives.
Both major parties in the United States have hurt communities of color in innumerable ways. The Democratic Party has a history of taking for granted the votes of minorities in exchange for increased poverty, unstable job security, bad schools, and false promises. Democratic politicians, and specifically white liberals, have consistently proven this to be true by making inflammatory statements about communities and people of color. Outreach from the Republican Party to communities of color has almost solely focused on economic benefits, and they have failed to address the social disparities and alleviate the relations between these communities and law enforcement. Republicans must work on uplifting good candidates that are running in local levels, especially those trying to make a change in deep blue districts in cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and more. Minority communities deserve to have a true choice on who should represent them. Politics aside, we must come together and unite to institute meaningful reforms that uphold the rights, liberties, and safety of all Americans no matter the color of their skin.
Author: Aklesiya Abebe & Noah Rothstein
The views expressed are the author's alone and are not an official statement of GWCRs