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Keep the Black vote strong

Melvin B. Miller
Keep the Black vote strong
“We gotta continue the fight for freedom, justice and equality!”

Sen. Raphael Warnock’s victory in Georgia is a boon to the Democratic Party and an esteemed historical event for Blacks. His campaign demonstrated the impact of a committed Black voting bloc, but Black activists should be concerned that Herschel Walker, a totally unqualified person to be a senator, opposed Warnock at the behest of Republican MAGAs. A future major diminution in the power of the Black voting bloc could be disastrous.

Prior to the presidential election of 1964, the Black vote was not considered to be especially significant. Barry Goldwater thought that he could carry the Republicans to victory, even though he was strongly opposed to the pending Civil Rights Act. Much to his surprise, Blacks all over America organized to support his Democratic opponent, who supported the Civil Rights Act. As a consequence, Lyndon B. Johnson won by a historic landslide.

From that time on, about 90% of Blacks have voted for the Democratic candidate in every presidential election. The Republican effort became to earn more than a paltry 10% of the Black vote. Indeed, with a candidate endorsed by Donald Trump, a revolutionary change in the Black voting pattern was not to be expected. However, some research indicated that the Black male Republican vote may have increased to 18%, but a mere 8% by Black women kept the total to about 11-12%.

Fortunately, the effort to reduce the Black Democratic vote failed. While Herschel Walker was a well-known candidate, there were too many negative factors with his life story to enable him to win the votes necessary for victory. Yet the results were so close, 51% to 49%, that victory required a strong voter turnout of Blacks as well as substantial support from enlightened white Georgians.

Over the years, Blacks have become increasingly aware of the impact of the vote. But as American society becomes increasingly more complex, it becomes more difficult for the average citizen to understand sophisticated issues. This is not a problem restricted to Blacks. It is difficult to understand why working-class whites are eager to support Trump for public office when he has failed to advocate programs that benefit the people with better health, higher paying jobs or educational opportunities.

Blacks have maintained a voting bloc from 1964 to 2020 and beyond, an astonishing 58-year history. With substantial social changes underway to disrupt the American commitment to freedom, justice and equality, Blacks will have to continue to work hard to keep that dream alive.

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