Roger L. Simon

Past Time for the GOP to Go Hard for the Black Vote

April Fool’s Day came early this year.  Drudge linked, at his top banner, to an article from The Nation!

Okay, it was an essay further excoriating his favorite bête noire, the currently flailing Lady of Chappaqua — “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote.”  In the run-up to the South Carolina primary,  the author, Michelle Alexander, an African-American woman, neatly characterized that state of affairs: 

Hillary Clinton loves black people. And black people love Hillary—or so it seems. Black politicians have lined up in droves to endorse her, eager to prove their loyalty to the Clintons in the hopes that their faithfulness will be remembered and rewarded. Black pastors are opening their church doors, and the Clintons are making themselves comfortably at home once again, engaging effortlessly in all the usual rituals associated with “courting the black vote,” a pursuit that typically begins and ends with Democratic politicians making black people feel liked and taken seriously. Doing something concrete to improve the conditions under which most black people live is generally not required.

So what else is new?  The problem is Ms. Alexander’s own solution to this comes down to the same old, same old — spending more on welfare programs, or what she thinks are the right ones, at least.  She writes of  the Bill Clinton era:

Despite claims that radical changes in crime and welfare policy were driven by a desire to end big government and save taxpayer dollars, the reality is that the Clinton administration didn’t reduce the amount of money devoted to the management of the urban poor; it changed what the funds would be used for. Billions of dollars were slashed from public-housing and child-welfare budgets and transferred to the mass-incarceration machine.

Maybe so.  But the yet more important question is whether welfare programs themselves work at all or are even counter-productive. Jason Riley suggests the latter in his brilliant Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeeda book unlikely to be one of Ms. Alexander’s favorites.  Another best-seller that might set her teeth on edge is Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid, which details how African countries with little or no foreign aid fare far better than those with a lot.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, flush with his New Hampshire victory, is following the traditional path (what’s more traditional — in the fuddy-duddy sense — than socialism?) and breakfasting with that great “social reformer” the Reverend Al Sharpton. Two subjects I can guarantee you were not discussed — Tawana Brawley and the absolute economic decimation of the black community under Obama.

Obviously, there’s a void.  Time for Republicans to step up and make a serious play for the black vote with real recommendations on how to improve their situation, some fresh ideas.  Now that Rand Paul is out of the presidential race, why don’t the candidates go into the African-American communities (with Rand) in South Carolina and elsewhere backing those tax-free enterprise zones that  Rand took from Jack Kemp?  Just do it.  Stop ceding the territory to the liberals who have exploited black people for decades.

I’m talking to you, Donald Trump.  You really could change this country — make America great again, as you say — by going into the poorer black communities, preaching free enterprise and showing a way for them to actually succeed, giving their businesses that tax-free hand up until the point when they’re self-sufficient.  It’s an idea that’s been around for a while, but has never really been implemented on a significant level.

There must be others.  The bigger point is that Republicans are the party of Lincoln.  Yet, with notable exceptions, they have absented themselves from minority communities (that Asian-Americans are voting Democratic is absurd). That’s chicken-hearted and frankly nuts.  The time to change this was years ago, for the good of those minorities and all of us.  But that’s crying over spilt milk.  Do it now!