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Black Americans Must Examine the Numbers

I am at that age where several doctors are required to keep me functioning. During a recent appointment with one of those doctors, the conversation briefly turned to golf. He mentioned his handicap and I said I just play and have not bothered to record a handicap. About.com defines the golf handicap as “… a numerical representation of a golfer’s playing ability. The lower a golfer’s handicap, the better the golfer is.” This thoughtful doctor encouraged me to establish a handicap. He explained that watching the handicap and striving to lower it encourages a golfer to focus on the game more intently resulting in better play.

It seems to me this principle of watching numbers and thinking through what they mean is relevant in every aspect of life. Whether managing personal finances or one’s weight, numbers matter. I encourage black Americans to examine the numbers from the 2014 midterm elections and commit to some actions that very reasonably follow from even minimal review of those numbers.

This review must be conducted against the backdrop of black Americans in recent history voting in overwhelming numbers for candidates of the Democrat Party. My thinking is that when Republicans are able to win elections with an insignificant number of votes from black Americans, we risk having little or no influence with Republican elected officials and possibly even less opportunity for impacting the party’s direction.

However, if the extraordinary allegiance of black Americans to the Democrat Party is based on thorough examination of the policies, values, and actions of both the Democrat and Republican parties, I have no problem with the commitment of so many black Americans to the Democrat Party. The fact of life is this is not the case. I do not doubt for a moment that there are black citizens who base their affiliation and support on some thoughtful examination of facts. I have read too many articles and talked with too many black citizens to accept that this amazing commitment is based more on thoughtful examination than on less reasonable considerations.

Here are just two of my recent experiences. I asked one black gentleman why he would not even talk with me about Republican candidates and he responded, “I am a life-long Democrat.” Where in that statement is there any indication of thoughtful examination of the political parties? A young black lady who was passing out information for a Democrat candidate said, “I don’t know what I am going to do now that I can’t vote a straight ticket. I always voted a straight ticket.” She surely voted Democrat straight tickets (one action to vote for all Democrats on a ballot.) I see nothing in that statement to indicate interest in learning anything about Republican candidates or any others aside from Democrats.

Add to all of this the ridicule heaped on black Republicans by so many black citizens who are Democrat supporters. Beyond this is the always present painting of Republicans as “racists” who care little or nothing about the plight of black Americans.

Factoring in the possible consequences of all this alienation of Republicans, including black Republicans, by black Americans, there is extremely good reason for black Americans to examine the numbers. Here are some of those numbers taken from an article written by Jennifer Agiesta and Jesse J. Holland that appeared in the Fayetteville Observer on 7 November 2014 under the headline “Democrats hurt by shift in white votes.” These statements refer to the 2014 midterm elections:

  1. Per Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta, ‘“The rule of thumb was Democrats could win with 90 percent of the African American vote and 40 percent of the white vote.”’
  2. “Nationally, Republicans running for seats in the U.S. House won 60 percent of the white vote, while Democrats won the backing of 89 percent of African-Americans and 62 percent of Hispanics.”
  3. “…in 10 Southern states with an election for Senate on the ballot, Republicans won the white vote by an average of 42 points. Democrats garnered so little support among whites in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas that a majority of those voting for the Democratic candidate were non-white.”
  4. “White voters under age 30 backed Hagan by close to a 2-to-1 margin six years ago as they helped to sweep President Obama into office. This time, in a midterm election, the younger white voters who cast ballots in North Carolina broke just as decisively for Hagan’s opponent, state House Speaker Thom Tillis.”

These numbers say to me Republicans won in spite of the overwhelming support of black voters for Democrat candidates. The principle of examining numbers dictates giving attention to these numbers by focusing on the policies, values, and actions that define the Democrat and Republican parties then thinking for oneself and choosing how to proceed. The future of America is at stake. This is serious business.

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