Disrespect from Democrats, Republicans

GEORGE E. CURRY | 6/27/2016, 11:50 a.m.
After last week’s column on how the major presidential candidates snubbed organizers of this year’s National Black Political Convention in ...
George Curry

More than a half-century after passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Blacks are still underrepresented in public office.

As a Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report found, “Based on the most recent data, African Americans are 12.5% of the citizen voting age population, but they make up a smaller share of the U.S. House (10%), state legislatures (8.5%), city councils (5.7%), and the U.S. Senate (2%).”

And some of that failure rests squarely on our shoulders.

As the report noted, “… In 2014, when there was great unrest over a police officer’s killing of Michael Brown, African Americans made up 67% of residents of Ferguson, Missouri. In 2012, a solid 100% of Ferguson precincts went for President Obama, but during Ferguson’s municipal off-cycle elections voters selected Ferguson’s Republican mayor and six city council members, all of whom except one were white.”

But the problem is larger than that. Essentially, we provide the margin of victory for Democrats year after year and often get little or nothing in return.

So back to the original question: What can we do about it?

Since my days as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the 1970s, I have advocated a simple and yet powerful step: Pick one local office, say comptroller or city treasurer, and vote Republican and Democrat in alternate elections. Because Blacks vote overwhelmingly in favor of Democrats, I would vote first for the Republican candidate. It wouldn’t be long before both Democrats and Republicans fall over themselves courting Black voters. And if that fails to capture their attention, then move to a second city office or a statewide contest.

If this happens at the local level, national party leaders would take note and do everything within their power to avoid a shift of loyalty at the national level. Until we show that we will make politicians pay on Election Day, we will continue to get disrespected by both major parties.

George E. Curry is president and CEO of George Curry Media LLC. He can be reached through http://www.georgecurry.com. Ffollow him at http://www.twitter.com/currygeorge, George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook and Periscope.