There is a group out there that is slowly pushing us to the edge this election season. They are intransigent. They are stuck in a state of perpetual grievance. They refuse to cooperate with any group that does not agree with them 100%. They will verbally assail you with their vitriol at the slightest offense. They are a minority of a minority, so their numbers are too small to make any practical difference, but they are always in front of the cameras. Do you know who I am talking about? It sounds like the far-right wing of the Republican party, but that is not who I am talking about. I am talking about black men. More specifically conservative black men.
Before you read any further, you should take a moment to read How Low Will Republicans Go. It is a frank discussion of the calculus that Trump and Republicans have made about to whom they should pander in the waning days of this 2020 election cycle. The conventional wisdom dictates that Republicans and Trump are racist to the core and that they will step of their grandmother in ICU to pick up a nickel. Therefore, why would they care about attracting the votes of black people? Republicans certainly do not care about the votes of black men. After all, “Law and Order” has been the bile dripping from Trump’s lips for the better part of a year in response to every social protest across our land.
Full disclosure I am a black man. Our grievances are not imagined. Our lives are a confluence of random acts of violence committed by the majority that are scarcely documented and less prosecuted. This benighted normalcy that we suffer is compounded by a number that is as stark as it is pitiful. Six, well six-and-a-half to be exact. According to blackdemographics.com black men are six-and-a-half percent of the American population. That is approximately 20,800,000.
For context according to Axios former Vice President Joe Biden has gained a more than 20 point lead over President Trump among voters ages 65 and older, who according to Statista represent 16.5% of the population. That is 52,800,000. The Intelligencer cited polling from the New York Times and Siena College that Biden is leading Trump by an astonishing 23 points with suburban women, regardless of race, in battleground states.
If we look at the demographics by race in the U.S., we see the following:
At first glance one might think that black men and black women are almost identical in their respective sizes. This cursory look is deceiving. Black women vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic party. According to the Washington Post Black women, exit polls show, were by far Clinton’s strongest supporters, at 94 percent. This is where it gets interesting. According to The Vox approximately 24 percent of black men polled by WSJ/NBC approve of Trump’s efforts while in office (72 percent of black men disapprove), but that number plummets to 6 percent when black women are asked the same question.
I have had many conversations with this group on black men on the Buchanan and Seaton Show on WVON in Chicago. They express a nebulous disaffection with Democrats in general. They refer loosely to the 1994 Crime Bill that Joe Biden “authored” as a reason to endorse Bernie Sanders, while conveniently forgetting that Sanders voted for the bill at passage in the Senate. They pivot to Obama’s “failures” to address 400+ years of systemic racism against black men that Obama forgot to wave his magic wand and eradicate during his 8 year term (the majority of which he dealt with a recalcitrant Republican Senate). They refer to the black men who were jailed during the 90s when the inner cities were dealing with crack, and point out hypocrisy now treating the opioid crisis as a healthcare issue while again ignoring the violence associated with the crack epidemic.
These observations may seem harsh coming from a black man. They make me cringe as I type them. However, there is one glaring truth about the United States of America. This is a democracy. The rules and laws are written by the majority. Bills are passes in the House and the Senate with 50% plus one vote. It does not matter if it is right or wrong, good, or bad, fair, or unfair.
Because this is the system of government that we live under, it is necessary for a group as small as black men to form coalitions and alliances. We must find like minded individuals who share not the hue of our skin, but the same courage of our convictions. We must ally ourselves with white, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, DACA recipients, rich and poor who believe the same as we do.
This summer when George Floyd was murdered by the police in Minneapolis, the entire country was enraged and marching in the streets. Every race and gender and creed involved themselves in the civil disobedience that expressed our collective disapproval of how the state acts as an arbitrary judge, jury, and executioner. Those are the coalitions that we as black men must form.
Finally, we must be mature enough to understand and accept that every wrong that has been committed against us is not going to be addressed. We are never going to receive one hundred percent recompense for what this country and their forefathers did to us and our ancestors. We can demand that our rights are acknowledged by recognizing that others have been wronged by this country as well. We are not alone in our historic suffering. We must come to the inevitable conclusion that the resources of this world and this country are finite. We need to form alliances where and when we can to accomplish what we can where we can.
As long as we can continue to behave as though we have been singularly abused above all else, and that no remuneration will ever be enough, we will continue to remain the six-and-a-half percent, the minority of the minority, that cries out of our pain. But no one will hear us.