By ROGER CALDWELL
Every vote counts….I hope. In Florida, Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost the state by less than 130,000 votes, and it could be smaller than that when the final votes are counted. This is significant because many Blacks stayed home, thinking their one vote wouldn’t make a difference in the 2016 presidential election. Many are now protesting around the country, but they are a day late and a vote short.
President Obama won 93% of the Black vote in 2012, and Hillary won only 88% of the Black vote in 2016. Every registered Black voter that did not vote in the election was a vote for Trump. In the barber shop that I frequent, none of the three barbers voted in the election.
In almost every Black barber shop around the country, there are frequent discussions about politics, but in 2016, many Black men disappeared at the polls. At Black beauty salons, more Black women voted, but it appears less voted in 2016 than in 2012.
Blacks spend hours talking about the injustices in America, but when it is time to vote to make changes, why are they not showing up at the polls to vote? There are many different reasons why Hillary lost the election, and all the blame cannot be placed on Blacks. But if more young Blacks between the ages of 18 to 25 years old voted consistently, and more 25 to 45 year olds, we could determine the outcome of more local, state, and federal races.
Political education is needed in the Black community around the country because many Blacks do not understand the importance and power of voting. Many of our ancestors fought and died for the opportunity and benefit of voting, and now many Black folks don’t even care.
We must vote in greater numbers in 2018, and the education must begin now. Historically, less Black Folks vote in mid-term elections than in the presidential elections. It is time for Blacks in America to wake up, and understand that power concedes nothing without a demand, and Donald Trump must be forced to listen to our demands.
“This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them” said Fredrick Douglas in 1857.
Although President-Elect Donald Trump lost the popular vote count, he believes that he has a mandate from the American people to disenfranchise Blacks and other minorities, women, the LGBT community, and immigrants’ civil and human rights. As a result of refusing to vote, the new president can repeal the progress made by President Obama.
Democracy is a process that assumes the majority of people will preserve liberty, protect freedom, and extend equality. With the early nominations that President-Elect Trump is proposing, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund have clearly stated “unacceptable.”
President-Elect Trump has chosen Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, as his nominee for U.S. attorney general. Sen. Sessions’s record shows his opposition to civil rights groups, his opposition to the nominations of justices Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, his vote against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and called a Black prosecutor in Alabama “boy.” Trump is making it clear with two more picks for his administration that he is not working to bring the country together. He has chosen Stephen Bannon, the former chairman of the at-right publication, Breitbart, as chief White House strategist. He is also considering Michael Flynn, America’s angriest general, as his National Security Advisor.
This is what happens when one chooses not to vote. The court is still out, if Blacks understand the importance and power of voting.