THE BLOG
01/26/2016 10:57 am ET Updated Jan 26, 2017

The African-American Vote and the 2016 Presidential Election

In 1857 the African-American anti-slavery leader Fredrick Douglass said:

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

The Republican and Democratic party primary 2016 presidential election debates to date indicate a struggle between those candidates who cite their government or business experience and those who seek to redeem the soul of America. There is such a stark contrast between the policies discussed by Republican party candidates and those of the National Democratic Party that my comments in this blog are limited to those seeking the Democratic party's nomination for President.

Within the Democratic party the demographics of an electoral college victory for President of the United States indicate that any candidates' successful path to the nomination depends upon the magnitude of actual voter turn among African-Americans, Hispanic and Asians. The percentage of African-American voter population within several States in the South suggest that the African-American vote could determine the winner in the Democratic Presidential Primaries.

To date the contest for the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination appears to be principally between the candidacies of former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. In the contest between them Clinton cites her "governing" experience while Sanders seeks to reclaim and redeem the core values and soul of the Democratic Party.

African-American voters are presented with a unique and historic opportunity to choose between a candidate based on traditional government experience or one candidate who seeks to "redeem the soul" of the Democratic party to direct its attention to the magnitude of wealth disparity and the power of money in election politics.

Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton repeatedly cites her experience to Democratic primary voters, telling them to select her, who with governing "foreign policy" experience, is prepared to govern "on day one." It is worth noting that Presidential "foreign policy experience" under George W. Bush and President Obama has resulted in 14 years of and counting of war in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq with significant dead and wounded Americans, interest on our national debt as the third largest segment of our national debt, de-stabilization of Libya and Syria, the rise of ISIS, and the failure to date to get Gulf Arab States to commit adequate financial resources to fight ISIS as well putting their own needed "boots on the ground."

Is this what continued commitment of our national treasury in support of foreign policy experience "to govern on day one" looks like, instead of the application of resources to rebuilding our roads, bridges, schools, and addressing the unprecedented private wealth amidst public squalor"?

Between 1979 and 2012, the top 5 percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 74.9 percent, according to Census data. Over the same period, the lowest-income fifth saw a decrease in real income of 12.1 percent. This sharply contrasts with the 1947-79 period, when all income groups saw similar income gains, with the lowest income group actually seeing the largest gains.

The ratio between average American CEO pay and worker pay is now 303-to-1. 2014, CEO annual pay rose to an average of $16,316,000 compared to only $53,200 for workers

As African-American voters consider their choice for President in the various up coming primaries, they should pause and reflect and ask themselves: How is possible to walk the sidewalks in cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and see homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks in the richest nation in the world?.

As at other critical times in the history of our country the African-American vote and political action within our communities transformed our nation's commitment to peaceful choices of action in American foreign and domestic policy. Our 2016 Presidential election provides another such historic opportunity in the primary vote for President of the United States for African-American voters to once again redeem the soul of America

In prior blogs I have cited the title of one of Alice Walker's books to remind us that "We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For."

And, yes again, I ask: If not us, who?

If not now, when?