I am a young (sort of), politically active, Black Man. I have been watching the 2016 election coverage and analyzing the available options which are not very encouraging. Of course as a black man I am expected to and assumed to vote Democrat. However, that is not necessarily the case. But why do the overwhelming majority of black people lean Democrat? Contrary to the disrespectful claims of some talking heads we are not just a bunch of brain dead zombies shuffling along behind the DNC, rather much like most Americans we have been manipulated into believing that we only have two options. That is the lie.
WHY NOT REPUBLICANS?
On one hand we look at the Republican Party which acts dismissively and contemptuously of black issues, sometimes with overt hostility and blatant racism. When Trayvon Martin was murdered the Republican media made a folk hero of his killer even seeming to assist in raising funds for his legal defense. The Republican media accepted without question Zimmerman’s self-serving assertions that he acted in self-defense. This is the same Republican media that claimed to support the Second Amendment and Stand your Ground until a black woman named Marissa Alexander used the same defense. Suddenly there was a deafening silence by the advocates of gun rights and the Stand your Ground law, who defended Marissa Alexander’s conviction and made excuses as to why she should receive a twenty-year prison sentence.
And then there are the Black Republicans, many of whom go out of their way to make the most outlandish, disrespectful and racist statements about other black people while their white counterparts nod their heads in faux contemplative agreement. For example, Sheriff David Clarke (although he does not identify as Republican, he does identify as a conservative) is notorious in his contempt for black people as evidenced by his tweet that the Black Lives Matter movement would join forces with the Islamic State to bring down the American republic and his calling them “subhuman creeps”. Crystal Wright, another black conservative who identifies as Republican recently tweeted the following: “Black men act like savage criminals.” Additionally, she is shamelessly shilling a book about how stupid black people are for consistently voting democrat at the same time as she acknowledges Republican’s contempt for blacks. By her own admission the Republican party has no interest in reaching out to black people and only keeps tokens around. She has stated that Sheriff Clarke is the GOP’s favorite black for the moment. So why in the world would black voters support a party that has no respect for them? Then there is the black white-supremacist Jesse Lee Peterson who at one point in time thanked God and white people for slavery. He has called black people soulless and evil and even defended Dylann Roof’s murder of nine black people in 2015 as being the fault of Black people.
DEMOCRATS GOT GAME
On the other hand, the Democrats pay lip service to Black voters, going to black churches, appearing at black colleges, and speaking about issues of importance to black voters. Even if their policies don’t actually help black people, by and large black people only feel valued by the Democratic party which is why the overwhelming majority of Black people vote Democrat if they vote at all. A perfect example of this is Bill Clinton who has been described by some as the first “black” president. While serving as President he signed into law bills that greatly contributed to the growth of the mass incarceration machine. While there has been a lot of discussion about the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, Clinton also signed into law the Anti-Terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act and the Prison Litigation Reform Act. These laws not only sent more black men to prison for longer periods but they deprived the incarcerated of meaningful rehabilitation, of mechanisms to challenge illegal sentences and of access to courts to challenge the nature of the conditions they were confined in.
These unjust laws do not lie solely at the feet of Bill Clinton and he is by no means the sole Democrat who is a part of drastically strengthening the mass incarceration machine. Hillary, his wife was a vocal advocate of the VCCLEA even though she wasn’t in office to implement it. Bernie Sanders, the other candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination voted for the VCCLEA as a congressman. And while this information has been widely discussed in recent months I have not seen too many individuals name the original author of the VCCLEA, Barack Obama’s vice president Joe Biden.
A BETTER OPTION?
The deeper we look the more we find out how the Democratic party has manipulated Black voters while the Republican party has openly shown contempt for us. I, much like many black people never even investigated the republican platform, but that changed when I saw Michael Steele the former chairman of the RNC at a State of the Black Union presentation. Unlike many black republicans I had previously heard he wasn’t spouting anti-black rhetoric and displaying the characteristic contempt for black people black conservatives are often known for. That was when I started looking at what the Republican party stood for and I realized that the principles of lower taxes, smaller government, and adherence to the constitution weren’t bad at all. The only problem I realized soon thereafter was that even though Republicans preached these ideals they didn’t actually put them into practice. The Republican party was content to raise taxes, make more laws and violate the constitution whenever it suited their purposes.
During the 2012 election season that changed, when I came across a couple of Republican candidates who were standing on the principle of small government. The candidates were Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, and after witnessing the positions they took in early debates I realized that there were politicians who genuinely were advancing the cause of freedom from overreaching government. It didn’t take long before I found out that even though they were running as Republicans they were actually Libertarians. And that was when I realized what the answer to the problem so many of us have with government was. I realized that there were politicians who spoke the truth and actually believed in the ideals they preached. And I realized that there was an alternative to Democrats and Republicans, the Libertarian Party.
Why is the Libertarian Party the perfect political party for Black voters? The answer is simple and self-evident once you are aware of the Libertarians’ core principles. Maximum Freedom, Minimum Government it’s that simple. Of course there will be the argument that less government = less safety but there are several reasons why Black Americans know that simply isn’t true. Black America has experienced firsthand how destructive and dangerous Government truly can be. So this distrust of government is not just a hypothetical exercise on black people’s part. The following are just a few examples that demonstrate why black people have greater motivation than most to believe in the necessity of smaller government.
JIM CROW: The policy where the government ensured that Black people only had access to substandard facilities for education, transportation with the purpose of oppressing and persecuting Black Americans.
COINTELPRO BLACK HATE: The FBI’s crusade against the civil rights movement and various black leaders and black organizations including the Black Panthers and Martin Luther King Jr..
TUSKEGEE EXPERIMENT: The experiment ran by the United States Public Health Service which allowed black men infected with syphilis to remain sick despite having the ability to cure them and not making them aware of their medical conditions.
If we fast forward to the 21st century the existence of groups like Black Lives Matter reveal the continuing distrust of the government and a look at the underlying events demonstrate the validity of this distrust. When black people end up dead at the hands of police or in police custody after minor infractions it is readily evident that the government represents a threat to our safety and that it must be curtailed. And neither of the two major parties is committed to shrinking government and holding it accountable. But the Libertarian party is founded on these principles which is what sets it apart.
The reason Black voters are not identifying as Libertarians is because most are not aware of the Libertarian Party and the principles it stands for. The two party dictatorship has a stranglehold on media that has been very effective at shutting other messages out of mainstream political discourse. But in this election year I truly believe that will change. I am not the only person who is completely disgusted with both parties and who is looking at the presumptive nominees as being unacceptable. It has been reported that more than half of Americans do not want to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton which means that many people are much more open to considering a third option. And I know that not only is the Libertarian Party the third option, it’s the best one.