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The case for an African-American Political Party

By Bruce Walker
web posted July 28, 2003

The recent spectacle of three wayward Democrat candidates for president traveling back to the NAACP with sackcloth doubtless made liberal black leaders feel good if only for awhile. But the ugly scene exposes a serious problem for black Americans which no symbolic gestures from leading Democrats can solve.

Stated simply, the vast majority of black voters are an "automatic" part of the Democrat voting bloc, but the Democrat Party has been out of power - save only Clinton and a year of two of a Daschle Senate - for ten years. The likelihood is that blacks will be taken for granted by a party which will not have power for many years.

Moreover, blacks are now a smaller minority than Hispanics, and unlike Hispanics, blacks are not a "swing" group of voters who must be courted. Republicans have won national landslides while losing the black vote by a landslide, and so Republicans know that black voters are simply icing on the cake of political power.

What power blacks have is from the elective offices held by blacks, but Democrats have no interest in creating congressional or legislative districts to elect blacks. Quite the contrary, Democrats in Texas have an interest in direct conflict with both Republicans and blacks: Democrats want to maintain as many districts leaning Democrat as possible, and that means reducing the number of districts certain to elect blacks as much as possible.

The more conservatives are able to get their message to the nation, the more exposure the historical racism of the Democrat Party will be revealed. That will make the reflexive support for the Democrat Party seem increasingly absurd. And the historical hostility of the Democrat Party to blacks is simply breathtaking.

Robert Byrd was a mid-level terrorist in the Ku Klux Klan, and has been chosen by Senate Democrats when Ronald Reagan was president to be their floor leader. The only president to have joined the Ku Klux Klan was a Democrat, Harry Truman. The only Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court to have been member of the Ku Klux Klan was a Democrat.

Jim Crow was adopted by Democrat state governments by officials who held great influence within the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party opposed every effort to truly liberate blacks, because then - as now - the Democrats have a compelling vested interest in blacks being sharecroppers in American society just as they were once sharecroppers in the economy of the South.

The surreal notion that the Democrat Party has ever been a true friend to the black people is almost as Orwellian as if in 1965, if Nazi Germany had survived in power, that the National Socialist German Workers Party might have been considered the special protector of Jews. When the Democrats stopped the de facto enslavement of the black man, it opened the doors of fredom to blacks, it opened the doors of freedom to blacks, but this was possible only because the Democrats had always been the principal tormentor of blacks.

The list of racists within the Democrat Party is long and clear, and there is simply nothing comparable within the Republican Party. In fact, the Republican Party has consistently and for almost one hundred and fifty years not only stood for emancipation of blacks, but also for equal protection of the law for blacks.

Black leaders could join the Republican Party to solve what will become an increasingly difficult political problem, but another option would be to form an African-American Political Party. Consider what would follow if such a party was formed and most black elected officials joined it.

Black members of Congress could vote to organize the House with Republicans, and in reward be given a few committee chairmanships. Black members of state legislatures hold the balance of power in several state legislative chambers. If the black legislators were "in play" then blacks would have more, not less, influence in state government.

Such a party could also be influential in a presidential election, particularly if the African-American Political Party formed an alliance to reform the electoral process in a way that benefited both Republicans and blacks. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey could by state legislative action provide that an elector be chosen from each congressional district.

This would break the big state deadlock that Republicans face. Instead of getting no votes from California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Jersey, Republicans might well win a third of more of the electoral votes of those states. It would also mean that the nominee of the African-American Political Party could routinely win outright thirty or forty electoral votes, giving the party the potential to play king maker in the Electoral College.

These are the interest theory political reasons for a black political party, but interest theory politics is inherently corrupt: democracy is a mechanism to create a vested interested in limited government by everyone. Interest theory is bad enough, but the situation of the chattel-slavery of black Americans is even worse. The interest served is not the interest of the black people, but rather the interest of the black leaders.

Creating an African-American Political Party would force an actual debate within the black community on what blacks really want. Allow blacks candidates to debate the merits of school choice, violent crime, regulation of small business and a dozen other issues in which the real interests of black people are prostituted to the interests of the Democrat Party by mediating figures called "black leaders."

The failure of black leaders and black people to create some breathing room between themselves and the Democrat National Committee will inevitably created a new generation of black conservative Republicans, who cannot be accused of racism. Colin Powell is a deeply respected national leader and a Republican, but he is not a conservative.

Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Alan Keyes and J.C. Watts are conservative Republicans who have earned real power. The number of conservative Republican black officials grows every election cycle. They are lieutenant governors and may soon be United States senators. These are articulate, principled blacks who win the votes of whole states, not just ghettos of votes within black districts of states.

It would be good for America and good for black America is there was a genuine debate within the black community about what is best for black people and what is best for America. This is just what has happened among other national groups in America.

There is a lively debate among American Jews about how to respond to the Middle East and how to prevent anti-Semitism. There is a serious dialog among Hispanics in America about how to approach Cuba, Mexico, immigration and language studies in schools. Chinese in America seek a balance between the dangers of real bigotry and the equally serious danger of affirmative action programs that discriminate against Chinese students.

Black America - like Jewish America, Hispanic America, Chinese America, Italian America, Irish America, Greek America, Polish America and all the other diverse cultural and racial parts of the whole that is America - will not be truly free until blacks seriously argue with other blacks about genuine differences.

Although it may seem like a step backwards, the formation of an African-American Political Party may be the decisive action needed to liberate blacks from the shackles of enslavement to fields within the plantation that is the Democrat Party.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.

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