Black Votes Matter

By Dr. Thomas Sowell

July 26, 2016 5 min read

Black votes matter. If Republicans could get 20 percent of black votes, the Democrats would be ruined. This is highly unlikely, given the approach used by Republicans. However, the point is that Democrats must not only continue to get nine-tenths of black votes, they also need to get a high turnout of black voters on election day.

People who expected the election of President Barack Obama to lead to racial healing and a post-racial society failed to take account of the political reality that racial healing and a post-racial society would, at a minimum, reduce black voter turnout.

Black votes matter to many politicians — more so than black lives. That is why such politicians must try to keep black voters fearful, angry and resentful. Racial harmony would be a political disaster for such politicians.

Racial polarization makes both the black population and the white population worse off, but it makes politicians who depend on black votes better off.

Hillary Clinton desperately needs black votes in this year's close election. Promoting fear, anger and resentments among blacks — and, if possible, paranoia — serves her political interest. Barack Obama has mastered the art of keeping black voters aroused while keeping white voters soothed — thanks in part to the gullibility of much of the public, who mistake geniality and glib rhetoric for honesty and good will.

Obama has repeatedly put the weight and prestige of the presidency on the side of those who denounce the police before any facts are verified — and even after facts have come out, exposing the fraudulence of such claims as the claim that the "gentle giant" Michael Brown said, "Hands up, don't shoot."

When a career race hustler like Al Sharpton, with a history of hoaxes, is a regular visitor and advisor to the White House, that is a reality that whites and blacks alike ignore at their peril.

The fact that Sharpton owes millions of dollars in unpaid income taxes ought to be a devastating revelation of what lucrative careers there are in race hustling.

Nothing reveals the political cynicism of the Obama administration like their campaign to force schools to reduce the number of black male students who are disciplined for misconduct. Because black male students are cited for disruption and violence more often than other categories of students, that is automatically taken to mean that racial discrimination is the reason.

The most obvious alternative explanation is that black male students engage in more disruption and violence than Asian females or some other students. But that possibility is implicitly ruled out.

What makes this such a farce is that many, if not most, of the teachers and administrators in ghetto schools are black themselves, and have no reason to discriminate against black males. What makes it a disaster is that only a few thugs in a classroom are enough to deprive all the other students of a decent education — which, for many, is their only chance for decent lives as adults.

If black lives matter at all to the Obama administration, they obviously don't matter as much as black votes that can be won by posing as defenders of blacks, even in situations where defenders of thugs are destroying black children's futures.

Even the thugs themselves will be worse off in the long run, if somebody does not put a stop to behavior that can lead them to prison as adults.

Hillary Clinton plays the same political game of posing as a defender of blacks from enemies threatening them on all sides, as she tries to win an election that would amount to a third term of the Obama administration's policies — most of which have left blacks worse off than before Obama took office.

The ancient phrase, "By their fruits ye shall know them" has been replaced by the current notion that by their rhetoric you should judge them — and vote for them.

One of the key questions this election year is whether black lives matter more than black votes that can be won by racial charades that undermine and endanger those lives. The answer to that question will affect all Americans, because racial turmoil is to no one's interest, except some politicians and race hustlers.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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