An Uncomfortable Truth

Photo from Kheel Center, Cornell University (CC BY 2.0).

Instead of seeking aggressive racial-equality initiatives, Democrats too often have opted for a sort of trickle-down liberalism. If we work to strengthen unions, that will trickle down to you. If we work to strengthen health care, that will trickle down to you. If we work to make all schools better, that will trickle down to you. After decades of Democratic loyalty, too many black Americans are still awaiting that trickle…

Since first securing the right to vote, black Americans have had to be single-issue voters — and that single issue is basic citizenship rights. Maintaining these rights will always and forever transcend any other issue. And so black Americans can never jump ship to a party they understand as trying to erode the hard-fought rights black citizens have died to secure.

But it is also true that black Americans have not always been single-party voters, and they don’t have to remain so. If Democrats want to keep black voters, they need to work for those votes, because one day Republicans might wise up.

Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Nikole Hannah-Jones explores the rhetoric of Donald Trump’s appeals to black voters — noting that he’s “speaking more directly about the particular struggles of working-class black Americans and describing how the government should help them more than any presidential candidate in years” — and calls on the Democratic Party to stop taking black support for granted.

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