African-American Candidates Polling at 1 Percent in Iowa

One day, black Democrats will wake up and say, "We've been had." For a half century, African Americans have been giving Democrats a huge majority of their votes in national elections--91 percent for Hillary in 2016, 90 percent in the 2018 Congressional contests--and in return Democratic kingmakers have not seen fit to take a single presidential candidate of African American heritage seriously.

Yes, there was Barack Obama. He looked the part, and sometimes he even tried to sound it, but as Obama's part-black Hawaiian friend Keith Kakugawa said of pal Barry, “He wasn’t African American, at least not with the connotation that term has taken on: a meaning that includes a heritage of slavery.” Added Kakugawa, “The only Black influence he had in his life was television."

From the beginning, Democratic power brokers knew the rootless internationalist was in a class apart. They never confused Obama with homegrown activists like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. In 2007, then Senator Joe Biden made this point altogether clear, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American presidential candidate who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

Despite a comment that could have killed a Republican career, that same Joe Biden is leading the Democratic pack in early Iowa polling at 24 percent. The leading African American candidate, the once promising Sen. Cory Booker, is polling at 1 percent. Improbably, Booker is the only African American candidate in a field of 23.

Hispanic candidates, the presumed future of the Democratic Party, are doing no better. The sole Hispanic candidate, Julian Castro, is polling at 1 percent of the vote. By contrast, in 2016, the two Republican Hispanic candidates, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, got 50 percent of the actual Iowa Caucus vote between them. The leading black Republican candidate in Iowa, Ben Carson, got 9 percent of the vote. In 2016, not one of the six announced Democratic candidates was black or Hispanic.

The Democratic Party is fully dependent on non-white votes. No Democratic presidential candidate has captured the majority of white votes since LBJ in 1964. Since 1976, Democratic presidential candidates have averaged only 40 percent of the white vote, and that number has been diminishing. Hillary Clinton lost the white female votes in 2016 and the white male vote by very nearly a 2-1 margin.

Despite the Democratic Party's dependence on black votes, no black candidate with roots in the American slave experience has won so much as a Democratic primary since Jackson in 1984, and his five primary victories did not earn Jesse a vice-presidential nod. Incredibly, given the obvious debt the Party owes black voters, the Democrats have never chosen an African American to be a vice presidential candidate or even seriously considered one.

“Intersectionality” may be all the rage on the left, but for African Americans intersectionality means subordinating their interests to those of the left's trendier cohorts. In Iowa, for instance, the very gay Pete Buttigieg has gathered more support from the Democratic rank and file than all the candidates "of color" combined.

The leading such candidate at 7 percent, Kamala Harris, is the child of immigrants. Her mother was born in India, her father in Jamaica. Both are successful academics. Beyond Harris, there is Booker, the son of two IBM executives, Castro, the Mexican-American son of a math teacher father and political activist mother, and Andrew Yang, the son of two successful Taiwanese academics.

What the four candidates of color know about struggling minorities they have gleaned from the outside looking in. Castro and Booker both went to Stanford, Castro after turning down a tennis scholarship to a lesser university. Yang and Harris both have law degrees, Yang from Columbia, Harris from the University of California. Harris learned much of what she knows on the job. "Yes, we dated," admitted former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.  At the time, Brown was married and more than 30 years Harris's senior. Brown also admitted to jump starting Harris's career. As they say in France, the pillow is the best teacher.

Democrat activists and the media would have made a "racist" out of whichever Republican candidate reached the White House. His or her "rhetoric" would have sparked the inevitable wave of hate crimes, real or imagined, especially in election years.

In 2016, Donald Trump got the bullseye painted on his back. The Democrats need him. He is to their minority base what Israel is to the Arab world, the tie that binds, the cause that makes all the disparate elements, especially African Americans, forget how shabbily they have been served by their political masters.

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