“Neither party gives a damn about Black people’s right to self-determination.”
The Democrats suffered a serious setbackat the U.S. Supreme Court, this week, as the Justices unanimously ruled that the party’s plaintiffs had not proven they had been harmed by Wisconsin’s Republican-crafted State Assembly district map. The high court also ruled unanimously against a Republican challenge of a Democrat-crafted Maryland congressional district, but on the more narrow ground that the GOP had waited too long to seek an injunction. As a result, there is still no U.S. Supreme Court standard for determining what constitutes “gerrymandering” -- unlawfully drawing legislative maps to the detriment of…whom?
The “whom” is most important. In the Wisconsin case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “This court is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences. The court’s constitutionally prescribed role is to vindicate the individual rights of the people appearing before it.” Such a narrow interpretation is designed -- like most of the court majority’s legal reasoning – to frustrate challenges based on alleged harms to groups of plaintiffs. Although protections for Black people’s voting rights are well established in U.S. law, the high court appears reluctant to extend protections to “generalized” groups defined by their “partisan preferences” -- like Democrats and Republicans.
“Both parties, however, are intent to preserve the duopoly system that splits the U.S. polity between them, for the benefit of their corporate masters.”
There is no question that Republicans have rigged the electoral map, wherever possible, to favor whites and rural voters -- as is enshrined in historical U.S. electoral structures, most notably, the wholly undemocratic U.S. Senate, which allocates two senators for each state, regardless of population, and the Electoral College, which gives citizens in overwhelmingly white and rural Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota three times the presidential voting power of citizens in polyglot New York, Florida, and California. Democrats rig the game, too, when they get the chance, although it’s an uphill race. Both parties, however, are intent to preserve the duopoly system that splits the U.S. polity between them, for the benefit of their corporate masters. And neither party gives a damn about Black people’s right to self-determination -- which includes the ability to elect representatives and executives of their choice, unless that choice is a Democrat or Republican.
On this issue, the Democrats’ principled stance is worse than the Republicans. The Democrats consistently oppose Black “super-majority” voting districts that empower African Americans to elect candidates of their choice without significant non-Black support, while the GOP favors such districts. The Democratic Party abhors deep concentrations of Black voters, preferring to spread the Black vote over a number of districts to enhance Democratic legislative prospects, statewide. Republicans want as many Black votes as possible locked up in a few super-majority districts, rendering the rest of the legislative map an electoral battleground among whites, where Republicans can expect to fare well.
“Choice” vs “Influence”
The Democratic Party is determined to deny Blacks decisive electoral power. The Party fights tooth and nail to limit the number of voting districts in which Blacks have sufficient numbers to elect candidates of their “choice.” Instead, the Party preaches that Blacks are better off spread out in districts where they make up 20 or 30 percent of the vote, but can “influence” more elections. The Democrats’ preference is to dilute the Black electorate so that no “choice” remains but to vote for whatever candidate is put forward by the fat cats that control the reins of the Party.
Democratic districting schemes are designed to reduce Blacks to captive vote-fodder, dependable ciphers to shore up Democratic weakness among whites.
The very concept of Black self-determination is anathema to the Democratic Party -- just as it is on the Republican side of the duopoly. However, the GOP can live with -- and gain some legislative advantages from -- the creation of Black majority districts, since they are the stronger party among whites in most states. Democrats demand that Blacks surrender the power to conduct their own political battles in majority Black environments and choose officeholders that reflect Black people’s evolving political will. Instead, Blacks are relegated to the status of yes-men to the Party -- a political captivity dressed up as “diversity.”
“Democratic districting schemes are designed to reduce Blacks to captive vote-fodder.”
And “yes-men” and women is what we’ve gotten from this deal with the Democrats. The Black Misleadership Class is steeped in subservience to the Democratic Party, which has been its connection to the ruling classes of U.S. society. In that sense, the Party is the root of corruption in the Black polity. The other main conduit of corruption, the GOP, is effectively off-limits, since its organizing principle is white supremacy. The duopoly system locks Blacks in the Democrats’ foul and abusive embrace.
But, the Democrats don’t just corrupt Black officeholders; they distort and deform the Black political conversation, through unrelenting suppression and cooptation of the Black Radical Tradition. Blacks are the most left-leaning, socialist-friendly, pro-peace ethnic constituency in the country, by far -- but that is not reflected in Black electoral politics. The Democratic Party is the duopoly system’s mechanism to snuff out Black radicalism. Black Democratic officials and operatives have, for the past four decades, overseen the day-to-day maintenance of the Black Mass Incarceration State in the inner cities, on behalf of the Lords of Capital. The Democratic Party is, in truth, the long arm of the ruling class, reaching into every political nook and cranny of Black America and strangling every radical Black political tendency in its crib.
“The Democratic Party is the duopoly system’s mechanism to snuff out Black radicalism.”
Black majorities, unrestrained, tend to hatch radical approaches to capitalist and white supremacist-inflicted problems. Is it any wonder that the self-proclaimed “most radical city on the planet” is 80 percent Black Jackson, Mississippi? Or that Amiri Baraka’s son is the hugely popular mayor of Newark, New Jersey, the state’s largest city, where whites make up only 13 percent of the population? Or that the Bay Area Center For Voting Research found, back in 2005, that
“The list of America’s most liberal [sic] cities reads like a who’s who of prominent African American communities. Gary, Washington D.C., Newark, Flint, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Birmingham have long had prominent black populations. While most black voters have consistently supported Democrats since the 1960s, it is the white liberals that have slowly withered away over the decades, leaving African Americans as the sole standard bearers for the left….” -- (See The Black Commentator, “Where the Left Lives,” by Bruce Dixon.)
It is the Democratic Party’s job -- its division of labor under the duopoly electoral arrangement -- to subvert and suppress those radical tendencies, and to dilute the power of Black majorities wherever they exist. The Party has blunted the radicalism of the leftist city halls in Jackson and Newark, and seeks to bleach out “too-Black” legislative districts wherever possible.
Therefore, the American electoral duopoly is composed of two white supremacist parties: the Republicans, for whom white supremacy is an organizing principle, and the Democrats, the party that claims the allegiance of virtually all Black voters, but whose mission is to politically pacify and neutralize Blacks, in service of the ruling class.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].