The Democrats Own the Ills of the Inner Cities
Yes, the Democrats think they own the problems besetting the residents of our inner cities, but not in the way they believe. Democrats try to own the problems solely as election issues. They see their constituents’ problems only as tools, weapons with which to beat Republicans over their heads during election years, charging that white conservative racism is the cause of all the woes of inner city people. But Democrats take no responsibility for creating solutions. Democrats hold all the relevant government offices and the power to make lives better, but they never, ever, fix any of the problems. Eugene Slaven in his August 27 AT article, "Democrats Have Nothing to Fear but Losing Black Votes", notes that “...leftists... routinely highlight every statistic showcasing socioeconomic disparities between whites and blacks...” If elected Democrat office-holders would resolve the problems, these issues would be gone from their rhetorical tool belt, and no longer be available to them during election season.
In the most real sense, however, Democrats actually do own these horrible problems which continue to grind down their constituents. This is because for decades in most large cities, the Democrats have owned the municipal administrations and U.S. House congressional representation. Republicans are nowhere to be seen.
Why do the inner-city residents continue to vote for Democrats when Democrats are unwilling and/or unable to solve their problems? Why do they not vote for Republicans, instead? A recent caller to the Dennis Prager show opined disparagingly that inner city blacks just want handouts from the government, and the Democrats make sure this practice continues. The blacks, she stated, “know” that Republicans would cut off the free stuff, so, they always vote for Democrats. Prager responded at length, that “free stuff” is addictive, like a narcotic. But he missed one major point, and while doing so he committed the “sin” of tarring an entire population with a very broad brush.
First, some inner city blacks, just like some people of every stripe everywhere, would be happy to live off of “free stuff” paid for by others rather than find a job and go to work. But a majority would rather be productive, work for a living, and provide for their families themselves, if they could find a way to do so.
But the most obvious reason that inner-city residents do not elect Republicans is because there are almost never any Republicans on their ballots, once you go down ballot below president and U.S. senators. Republicans, for the most part, have given up on campaigning in the inner cities, and this is a grave mistake, because the cities would benefit from conservative solutions that only Republicans can provide. It is against the nature of most Democratic politicians to conceive of conservative solutions. And the suburbs will not survive in the long term if their inner cities do not survive. Besides, it’s the right thing to do.
The cities of Cleveland and Akron Ohio, which are both in Congressional District 11, are illustrative. The last Republican elected mayor of the city of Cleveland was the beloved and now recently deceased George Voinovich. Mayor, later governor and senator, Voinovich became mayor in a fit of electoral revulsion after Mayor Dennis Kucinich left office, leaving the city of Cleveland broke and in debt. George Voinovich, with the volunteer assistance of the business community, brought Cleveland back into the black and on the road to prosperity. He served as mayor from 1980-1989, but no Republican has been elected mayor in Cleveland since then. The city has endured 26 straight years of Democratic leadership.
It is the same with District 11’s congressional representatives. Louis Stokes (1993-1998), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (1999-2008), and Marcia Fudge (2008-present), were/are all Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In her ongoing eight years in office, Ms. Fudge has had no serious challenger in a primary or general election. Until now.
District 11’s problems are appalling. Dr. Beverly Goldstein, who is the Republican nominee running against Marcia Fudge for her congressional seat in November, grew up in Detroit and attended Detroit City Schools. As a Ph.D. audiologist, Dr. Goldstein ran hearing clinics in the inner city of Cleveland for 14 years, serving mostly minority citizens. In the 1980s, with the assistance of Republican State Senator Grace Drake, Dr. Goldstein, as an unpaid volunteer, created, passed, and achieved funding in the Ohio General Assembly for legislation requiring screening for hearing loss of all Ohio newborns at birth. Those infants identified as at risk for hearing loss become eligible for hearing aids or cochlear implants and speech services, enabling them to develop age-appropriate language, which otherwise most of them would not achieve.
Since January, 2016 candidate Dr. Goldstein has learned about the problems plaguing the mostly black residents of our inner cities by attending black events and meetings in the cities almost every day and night; talking with, but mostly listening to, the residents to learn their concerns, and joining their groups and becoming friends with both women and men. Dr. Goldstein then researched and quantified the problems thus brought to her attention:
- Cleveland ranks Number 1 in the nation in child hunger [Greater Cleveland Food Bank] and Number 3 in the United States in overall hunger (WRAAA [Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging] website, 2016)
- Of the 435 U.S. House Districts, only 14 districts are poorer than District-11 (reported on WTAM AM 1100, March 17, 2016)
- Over 21,000 persons in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland area), and over 6,600 persons in Summit County (Akron area), are homeless (2013 Data, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless website, 2016)
- Project ACT of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District identified 4,048 homeless district children attending its schools (Help Line Statistics, August, 2015)
- District-11 Median Household Income is $32,014, vs. $48,081 for Ohio as a whole (Ballotpedia website, 2016)
- District-11 includes five of the top 20 most affluent communities in Cuyahoga County and three exceptionally affluent communities in Summit County
- Unemployment in District-11 is 17.3% (Ballotpedia website, 2016). This includes the district’s most wealthy communities. If these are eliminated from the equation, unemployment in the remaining inner cities and the inner ring suburbs is estimated at about 40%
- Cleveland has an extremely high infant mortality rate, 1st in the nation. The black infant mortality rate is 18.1 per 1,000 births, compared to a 4.8 White infant mortality rate (2012-2013 Community Health Status Assessment, Center for Community Solutions website, 2016)
- Domestic Violence Incidents – 2013
- Total Population of Cuyahoga and Summit Counties: 1,806,970
- Total reported Domestic Violence cases: 6,850
- Victims with reported injuries requiring hospital visit and/or hospitalization: 3,190 (Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless website, 2016)
None of this has improved under 26 years of Democratic municipal governments, and under the last 23 years of Democratic congressional representation of District 11.
In her eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives Ms. Fudge has not improved the situation of her District-11 constituents. Incredibly, it is possible that she does not recognize what is important to the people she represents. On July 15, 2015 Fudge was quoted by Sabrina Eaton, Northeast Ohio Media Group Washington Correspondent, as saying that the issues that “matter to people in my district… [are] income equality, women’s rights and universal voter registration.” The anecdotal evidence and the statistics collected by Dr. Goldstein tell a completely different story: the issues that matter to the people in her and Fudge’s district are a lack of jobs, leading to poverty and the inability to feed their families, along with the whole litany of social ills outlined above. They are also concerned about providing a quality education for their children, and are overwhelmingly in favor of school choice.
Struggling residents of D-11 are not complaining to Dr. Goldstein that others have more money than they do. Distribution of wealth is not what they are talking about. They just want a job, or a better job through job training, so as to earn as much money as the next persons performing those jobs.
Not once has anyone even mentioned women’s rights. Dr. Goldstein has met with hundreds of black women entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses and founded mutual support industry groups. They have the right and have created the opportunity to craft businesses and wealth, and that’s what they are doing.
Lack of universal voter registration has also never been cited by anyone. When asked about voter registration, residents respond “of course I vote.”
These are absolute non-issues to inner city residents. But Representative Fudge seems never to sit down and talk with her most needy residents, so she is entirely unaware of what they know is important to them.
It gets worse. Fudge’s inattention and lack of understanding has led to her voting against her constituents’ interests on a large number of occasions. A review of Fudge’s voting record demonstrates that her votes in Congress are the exact opposite of the needs and desires of Ohio District-11 constituents.
Jobs: Her vote to increase immigration was a vote to give away jobs that should rightfully go to our inner city citizens, and to force lower wage rates on her constituents who already are working.
• Fudge voted for giving immigrants easier access to our jobs, with work permits and green cards in 2010 [HR 5281] & 2011 [HR 3012]
• Fudge voted against stronger border security in 2013 [H J Res 79]
• Fudge voted against controlling massive illegal immigration in 2014 [HR 5272]
Jobs and the Overall Economy: Many inner city residents are already trained to work in well-paying construction jobs in the trades; many are union members. These workers express great frustration that Fudge voted against bills that they know would have improved America’s economy and provided many well-paying jobs for which they are qualified.
• Fudge voted against creating a Natural Gas Pipeline in 2013 [HR 1900]
• Fudge voted against improving our North American Energy Infrastructure in 2014 [HR 3301]
• Fudge voted against lowering Gasoline Prices in 2014 [HR 4899]
• Fudge voted against approving the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2014 [HR 5682 and three bills in 2015]
Veterans: Many veterans, and particularly disabled veterans, have approached Dr. Goldstein, begging her to listen to their problems when she gets to Congress, most with the same story. Fudge’s staff does not return their phone calls or respond to their emails. Because she does not listen to them, she does not understand their needs. Thus:
• Fudge voted against the Veterans Benefits Continuing Funding Resolution in 2013 [H J Res 72]
• Fudge voted against the Veterans Administration Accountability Act in 2015 [HR 1994]
National Security: Fudge’s votes placed at great risk the safety and survival of our children and grandchildren who live in District 11 and all over America when she voted in favor of the Iran Nuclear Deal Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015. This deal ensures that within 10 years, Iran, the leading state sponsor of international terrorism will, with the agreement of the United States, have nuclear warheads. Together with Iran’s strong effort to develop ballistic missiles which can reach the United States, the nation which has institutionalized “Death to America” will target with atomic warheads New York, Washington DC, Kansas City, and, yes, all of the men, women, and children in Ohio District 11.
• Fudge voted for the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) three times in 2015 [H Res 411; HR 3460; HR3461]
What was she thinking? How can a congressional representative be so unknowledgeable about her constituents’ concerns? It comes from not paying attention. Ms. Fudge (and her staff) has the reputation in the district of failing to respond to masses of constituents’ phone calls and emails. This includes veterans and the poor. Also, Fudge has spent weeks on the road campaigning for Hillary Clinton, away from her own district, not listening to the people she represents. She has become a member of the Washington DC Democratic Party elite. Hillary even appointed Fudge Chair of the Democratic National Convention. Her constituents are not impressed. See, "New DNC Chair `Absentee Landlord` in Home District" and "Bringing Congressional District 11 in Ohio Back Home".
Many of Fudge’s constituents, particularly the ones with the biggest problems and in the greatest need, cannot access her or her staff. Many do not own cars. Fudge’s local office is so inaccessible that if inner-city Cleveland residents have problems, and their phone calls and emails have gone unanswered, it is almost impossible to come to Fudge’s office to talk to a staffer. The trip from inner city Cleveland requires three buses, followed by a walk of .8 miles. In the heat; in the snow; maybe with a stroller and a couple of kids. This is a daytrip, impossible for someone who has a job or who must be present when their children get home from school. And there is no practical public transportation option at all for Akron residents who have no access to a car.
Where problems go unrecognized, they go unsolved.
Republicans, and especially conservatives, must go to the inner cities and get involved. They must meet the people who live there, and talk with them. Conversations build relationships. Go to one meeting or event in the city every week. You will not be sorry, and together with with your new friends you can begin to discuss conservative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. And you may even be able to get elected if you choose to run.
Michael S. Goldstein is an attorney in Northeast Ohio and a 30-year veteran of the Navy and of the U.S. Intelligence Community. His articles appear in American Thinker. Mr. Goldstein is the husband of, and campaign manager for, Dr. Beverly A. Goldstein in her race to be elected in November to represent Ohio District 11 in Congress. Her website is www.Beverly4Congress.com.