Democrats can’t turn states blue without Black voters

JEFFREY L. BONEY | 6/11/2018, 9:08 p.m.
In November, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the ...
Jeffrey L. Boney

The same thing has happened relative to the governorship in Texas and all other statewide races; Democratic Governor Ann Richards lost her bid for re-election against Republican George W. Bush in 1994. Prior to her loss, Democrats had controlled the governorship for all but eight out of 120 of the prior years. No Democrat has won the governorship since, and the other statewide races have experienced the same results.

The only way to change these outcomes in Texas and other battleground states is to properly engage and mobilize Black voters. The National Newspaper Publishers Association, which is a trade group that represents over 200 Black-owned media companies across the U.S., recently launched an initiative to register 5 million new, Black voters before the midterm elections, with the hopes of turning many of these traditionally “red states” into “blue states” in November.

However, the Democratic Party has to engage and motivate this strong and loyal voting bloc of Black voters in order to make this a reality as well.

According to the Pew Research Center, 87 percent of Black voters identify with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic, with Black women being the driving force behind this high percentage of Black registered voters.

In Texas, many statewide Democratic candidates failed to invest significant financial resources during the March Democratic Primary or the May run-off election with Black media outlets, such as newspapers, radio or cable stations such as BET, OWN or TV ONE, in order to introduce themselves to these committed Black voters and share their policy positions and commitments. Failing to invest in Black voter outreach could end up costing some Democratic candidates the election.

The Beto O’Rourke campaign did, however, just make a major commitment to Black media outlets in Harris County to do Black voter outreach across Harris County starting in mid-May and continuing through November. The campaign stated that they plan to invest more in Black media and expressly stated that they know they cannot win in Texas without the Black vote.

According to Carroll G. Robinson, an associate professor at Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University and the former General Counsel of the Texas Democratic Party, in order to generate strong Black voter turnout and to increase awareness about the midterm elections in November, the Democratic Party and candidates like Beto O’Rourke are going to have to make a significant investment with Black media outlets to get their message out.

“Black voters, like many other voters, are going to need more than just being against Trump to turnout in record numbers in November,” Robinson said. “Black voters must know that their issues and concerns are being addressed and that they, their communities and the candidates of their choice are being respected, included and invested in.”

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as associate editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on The Nancy Grace Show and Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey is a radio personality and a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. He can be reached at jboney1@forwardtimes.com.