Why African Americans Should Vote for Hillary Clinton

02/04/2016 03:38 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2017
sen. hillary clinton  speaks at ...
sen. hillary clinton speaks at ...

As Americans prepare for a changing of the presidential guard in 2016 several candidates continue to vie for the position from both sides of the political aisle. With an overwhelmingly divided country on the economy, foreign affairs, and more recently racial issues, the next candidate will have to take seriously many of the sociopolitical concerns facing our nation. This poses a variety of questions as to who will be the next president and if one is chosen, who should African Americans in particular vote for?

So, I have considered a couple of key reasons why I think African Americans should throw their support and vote to Hillary Clinton. This does in no way reduce the political efficacy and acumen of the other candidates from the Democratic or Republican Party, but I claim that Hillary Clinton should be the candidate for African Americans in the United States for seven key reasons.

First, Hillary has a long and impressive track record for supporting children and families. Her allegiance to humanity and the pivotal role that families play on a variety of fronts is impressive, consistent in her message, and evident in her own life walk. From her days of lobbying and pushing for universal health care to her focus on social and economic development and empowerment, Hillary has carved out a clear history of supporting the backbone of American democracy, and haven't turned her gaze away from focusing on strengthening families all across America. As a testament to this fact, Hillary Co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

She has been a strong voice for children, especially those living on the margins and languishing in the corners of desolation and poverty. She has relentlessly championed the cause of health care reform and have been a persistent voice in helping to increase access to a myriad of health care services for people in small towns, rural communities, and inner-cities. Hence, at every level of her professional political career, including her time serving under the Obama administration, she has maintained a steady position with respect to her stance on advocating and advancing the cause for women, minorities, and children.

Second, Hillary at least has been trustworthy. While I know most Republicans and her other competitors would disagree, I feel Hillary will be and has been honest with the voters and will not try to engage in forces or activities that would dupe the American people. Washington is full of deals that have to be made in order to get the things you want. So, Hillary is no stranger to that political game. And she has the political savviness, wit, and tenacity to stand with bold proclivity against the powerful lobbyist, oligarchs, and plutocrats in Washington.

Moreover, I think that African American people have come to know her and trust her from former President Clinton's era and her own work as First Lady, Secretary of State, and within the context of the broader society. Trust is a scarce commodity among most politicians, yet Hillary has tried to maintain consistency in this area among voters and even her adversaries. When faced with public scrutiny concerning a number of hot-button issues that manages to crop up from time to time, she remains poised and responds with honesty, frankness, and integrity. She's the type of leader that takes responsibility for her actions, and makes a concerted effort to address and rectify areas of concern.

Third, Hillary has a great degree of experience at almost all levels of government. Her professional prowess and informed upbringing makes her a formable candidate to be our next commander-in-chief. Her very important governmental roles, especially as Secretary of State has made her name as common as globalization is to the world market. She has devoted much of her life to public service despite the gusty winds and vitriolic nature of politics. She is the definition of resilience and perseverance. Her unyielding convictions about issues that matter domestically and abroad have been evident in both policy and in practice.

Fourth, Hillary is committed to all people in the sense that "all lives matter". While she is well aware of the poison of prejudice, discrimination, and hatred, she has positioned herself as a humanitarian and "keeper of the people". Make no mistake about it, she has been very supportive and have spoken very candidly in support of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement. Hillary is not afraid of naming issues that affect black and brown people all across this nation from mass incarceration to unemployment, and makes every attempt to not just talk about it, but she believes that it is mission critical that we as a nation roll up our sleeves and become foot-soldiers for justice. I do not feel that Hillary would allow human atrocities at home or abroad to fester and engulf a people or a nation. She is committed to fairness, equity, empowerment, and progress. As such, she is a candidate that is willing to place herself in the shoes of others and respond with humility, compassion, and sincerity. She is a candidate of reason and possess a level head.

Fifth, Hillary's personal appeal to women, minorities, and other groups is worth exploring. She has continued to motivate women to hold important positions as well as encourage them to vote and fight for the things they want and deserve in life. She has served as a symbol of strength and dignity in the wake of personal struggles with Bill Clinton during his presidency and other attacks on her character as a woman and as a leader within her own personal life and political career. Some have concluded that she has lost a number of white women voters, however, she probably has gained just as many more African American women voters. She has certainly shattered the glass ceiling and has challenged the notion of male privilege and dominance in every sphere of the human endeavor. And, even today, she continues to be a symbol of hope and inspiration to women of all racial persuasions.

Sixth, Hillary is someone that many African American voters feel like they know and many of the recent attacks on her by the Republican establishment are only designed to destroy her character, reduce her significance as a formidable candidate, and to erode her chances of winning and becoming the first woman president of the United States. Most people of color and particularly African Americans can relate to what the right-wing establishment has tried to do to Hillary to destroy her image and her impact because of their own struggles with systems of oppression and marginalization.

Seventh, and probably the most crucial is that neither Hillary nor African American voters can take anything or each other for granted. If Hillary is the candidate that wishes to secure the African American vote she must be explicitly clear that she wants their support and be willing to go further than her husband, and on some level do more than Obama could do because of his race and the perception of bias toward his race. Hillary is going to have to talk more specifically about ways in which she plans to codify into policy, issues that matters most to the black community, which are issues such as health care, substance-abuse, and perhaps most salient, criminal justice reform. She must go into the trenches, into the churches, community centers, boroughs, and engage with civic and faith communities and continue to extend her hand in friendship as she's done in the past.

Likewise, African American voters cannot afford to stay at home and must clearly not be lured in by the seemingly raw optimism of Bernie Sanders who is to a large degree, an unknown to most African Americans. So I leave one to answer the question for oneself, who does one trust most, a proven trusted ally with a track record of commitment and consistency, or a new person on the block who says 'I'm down for the cause,' but was in hiding when you needed them the most, and only comes around when it is popular and expedient to do so?