Unless she’s proven guilty of wrongdoing or some other gross occurrence befalls her, Hillary R. Clinton should become the 2016 Democratic Nominee for President of the United States of America. The black vote will be decisive in making that happen. But unless black people get ahead of black leaders or somehow quickly get them under control, the political deal with Hillary and the Democratic Party will be little more than vacuous campaign promises complete with very general policy considerations.
Black politicians – including preachers (yes, they are also politicians) – will be on the inside jockeying for their “30 pieces of silver” if Hillary also wins the White House in the General Election. Who are the people really negotiating for black America, and what is the deal? Guess what folks, politicians are mostly self-serving – maybe you already knew that? The challenge now is how rapidly can non-political black groups coalesce and get Hillary’s full attention both before and after the upcoming primaries.
Here is a factual case that clearly points out my meaning. Hillary R. Clinton already has 80 percent of South Carolina’s black vote locked up way before that key state primary. What’s the deal for such massive support? Hillary is poised to win Iowa and fight hard for New Hampshire, so after a South Carolina victory she starts picking up major delegates and super delegates on her way to the Democratic Convention.
The table is set in South Carolina and blacks are scheduled to leave it with what amounts to an empty plate, though satiated as if having had a grand meal. There has got to be a tit-for-tat relationship between the person(s) and political party that black votes empower! Again, what’s the deal? After South Carolina all national politics swings to Florida for its important March 15, 2016 Presidential Primary.
You may recall that all three Florida black congresspersons supported Hillary R. Clinton against Barack H. Obama during the 2008 Presidential campaign. (They were Corrine Brown of Jacksonville, Kendrick Meek of Miami and Alcee Hastings of Miramar.) Brown is currently in a redistricting battle with the conservative led Florida legislature that could put her congressional seat at risk.
Kendrick Meek got slick and took the Florida black vote down the drain by helping Marco Rubio beat Charlie Crist in the 2010 U. S. Senate race. Meek couldn’t win, but may have been fed Rubio- money allowing him to stay in the race. Meek thought he’d become a lobbyist on Washington’s gilded K Street, but found no door open to him. Secretary of State, Hillary R. Clinton finally got Meek a nondescript job at the United Nations in New York City.
Alcee Hastings is the shrewd one — he has played the long game. Hastings had long ago ensconced himself politically through avid support of Israel and European issues to counterbalance his huge loyal black support base. Therefore, he has basically shielded himself from serious attack. Hastings’ support of Hillary against Obama in 2008 actually bounced off his political shield and he has endured no real harm.
By playing the long game, waiting eight years for Hillary to run again while strengthening his own position, Alcee is poised to play a critical role in Hillary’s Florida campaign and beyond. If any black elected leaders can and will directly influence the Clintons at this juncture, it could be Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina and Alcee Hastings.
But for God’s sake don’t just sit on the sidelines hoping that Alcee or somebody else is going to do your job, too. America is supposed to be a participatory democracy. It cannot be that if you don’t act. Be informed. Make preachers get off that foolishness about the church shouldn’t be involved in politics. Jesus was political! We’re talking about what is needed in order to do the right thing for all the people with special emphasis on those most in need – the poor and near poor, the infirm, the uneducated and mis-educated.
And people let us make this election especially about our children that are born to thrive in the squalor of chanceless existence because of white nationalism.
Al Calloway is a longtime journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle. He may be reached at Al_Calloway@verizon.net