Saturday, December 03, 2022

Just Spell It Out

In a letter to the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee on the Presidential Nominating Process, President Joe Biden properly slammed

Caucuses – requiring voters to choose in public, to spend significant amounts of time to caucus, disadvantaging hourly workers and anyone who does not have the flexibility to go to a set location at a set time – are inherently anti-participatory. It should be our party’s goal to rid the nominating process of restrictive, anti-worker caucuses.

Nonetheless, he was blowing smoke up our posterior when he wrote (typed?)

For decades, Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process. We rely on these voters in elections but have not recognized their importance in our nominating calendar. It is time to stop taking these voters for granted, and time to give them a louder and earlier voice in the process.

Too often over the past fifty years, candidates have dropped out or had their candidacies marginalized by the press and pundits because of poor performances in small states early in the process before voters of color cast a vote. As I said then, 99.9% of Black voters had not had the chance to vote at that point, and 99.8% of Latino voters had not had the opportunity. That is unacceptable in 2024 and it must change.

Now, for the inconvenient facts:

Who won the black vote in the Democratic presidential primary?

Since 1992, no candidate has won the Democratic nomination for president without winning a majority of black vote. Black voters are likely to account for one of every four primary ballots cast in 2020.

YearCandidateEventual nominee
2016Hillary Clinton (won 77 percent of the black vote)Hillary Clinton
2008Barack Obama (82 percent)Barack Obama
2004John Kerry (56 percent)John Kerry
2000Al Gore (86 percent)Al Gore
1992Bill Clinton (70 percent)Bill Clinton
1988Jesse Jackson (92 percent)Michael Dukakis
1984Jesse Jackson (77 percent)Walter Mondale
1980Ted Kennedy (45 percent)Jimmy Carter

Jesse Jackson had very little money, not government experience, was running primarily to make a  point, and would have lost 50 states had the impossible- as it always was viewed- happened and he won the Democratic nomination. Biden's argument that black voters have been marginalized in the nominating process is legitimate- but only if we go back to 1980, which will be a full 44 years before the next Democratic nominee is selected.

Since then, the candidate- WJ Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, H Clinton, Biden- garnering a majority of the votes of blacks won the party's presidential nomination. That's five consecutive nominees favored by the voting bloc Biden professes to believe need "a louder and earlier voice in the process."

The AP notes

In a letter Thursday to the rule-making arm of the Democratic National Committee, Biden did not mention specific states he’d like to see go first. But he has told Democrats he wants South Carolina moved to the first position, according to three people familiar with his recommendation who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

After three states- New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada- had their say, it was unclear exactly whom those Democratic voters favored. It was, clear, however, that they wanted no part of the man who had served decades in office, whether as a U.S. Senator or as a Vice-President. However, Joe Biden procured the endorsement of US Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina. As Majority Whip, had achieved the highest-ranking position of any black person in House of Representatives history, and was the pre-eminent Democrat in a state with two Republican US Senators and a Republican governor. His support carried weight.

In the run-up to the primary in South Carolina, the cry ran out on the left's news network of choice, MSNBC, and by many pundits and some politicians: "blacks have not been heard from." They were right.

As expected, a clear majority of the votes in the South Carolina primary was cast by blacks.  Biden won a strong majority of these votes, thus winning the primary easily.  Thus, prior to Super Tuesday, three Democrats, most notably Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, dropped out of the race and endorsed the former V.P.  On the heels of his success in the African American-dominated primary in South Carolina- and its aftermath- Biden won handily on Super Tuesday and was not seriously challenged for the nomination afterward.

Yet, Joe Biden says "we...... have not recognized their (black voters) importance in our nominating calendar."  If Joe hasn't noticed, virtually everyone else has.  White voters recognized "we rely on these voters in elections" and voted accordingly after South Carolina.

The President wants black voters to have “a louder and earlier voice in the process.” Louder? A louder voice is unnecessary when “no Democrat has won the nomination without the support of a majority of black voters in three decades.” He claims "too often over the past fifty years, candidates have dropped out or had their candidacies marginalized by the press and pundits because of poor performances in small states early in the process before voters of color cast a vote." 

Biden isn't thinking about "voters of color." In favoring South Carolina and thereby downgrading Nevada, he's little interested in Latinos (despite the obligatory nod to the group) and ignoring Asian-Americans and individuals of tribal background.  He invoked "diversity" six times with nary a nod toward linguistic, religious, or educational diversity. Those latter three may pale in importance to race- but it is Biden himself who is obsessed with what he terms "diversity."

The nominating process in 2008 is telling. After Barack Obama won in Iowa, Hillary Clinton defeated him and John Edwards in Nevada. Between Iowa and Nevada, Clinton won in Michigan. Edwards and Obama had chosen not to be on the ballot there, a strong move strategically because Clinton clearly would have led the field, anyway. (Edwards already had begun to fade and Michigan's electorate was dominated by the white working class.) Thankfully for Edwards and Obama, the DNC then stripped Michigan of its delegates because it had not gained the organization's approval to hold its primary at that stage.

Clinton then won in Nevada- but was defeated in South Carolina by Obama, who went on to win the nomination. Somehow, though, we are to believe that sometime during the period when South Carolina gave its nod in 2008 to eventual nominee Barack Obama (and in 2012, in which he was effectively unopposed), to eventual nominee HRC in 2016, and to eventual nominee JR Biden in 2020,  its voters, and black voters in general, were neutered.

The President could try treating his party's voters as adults and level with us: black, especially non-young black women, constitute the base of the party and the voters who most carry it to victory. We are rewarding them. Period.

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