Racial Politics in the US

Activist Kamau Franklin on Why Black America Favors the Establishment

Wednesday Jul 19, 2017 · 4:01 PM EDT

Daniel Falcone: What do you think are the reasons and the implications for the Democratic establishment to so readily count on African-American votes? And what are your thoughts on the hopes and prospects that black people can abandon this wing of the party, like take say, supporting a more progressive Sanders type message?

Kamau Franklin: There has been a marriage of convenience between the Democratic Party and the collective voting bloc of Black people that long ago gave up on anything substantive. The historical shift of black people from the Republican Party of Lincoln to the lukewarm embrace of the Kennedy Democrats was one-hundred years in the making. 
Within the two parties, the amount of open hostility has determined which mainstream politic black people will engage in to find some expression of non-threatening acceptance. When Kennedy, Johnson and the elite black civil rights leaders [not MLK] began to strike bargains to open-up society, the tacit exchange was to bring black votes to the Democratic Party, where it’s now become the de-facto home for the vast majority of the participating black electorate.

Finally the black “liberal” leadership class of ministers, elected officials, pundits, public intellectuals, and moneyed black elites, who have the greatest interest in stability and the status quo, benefit the most from this arrangement with the Democratic Party. Most have no vision or interest in pushing a black agenda that does more than ask for acceptance or a lessoning of open racial hostility.

The flaw in the Sanders campaign is that he saw himself as a message candidate first and not an electable candidate. If he saw himself as an electable candidate he would have put more resources and spent more time cultivating black votes, while figuring out how to get around that black-leadership class that had a thirty year relationship with the Clintons and their brand of Democratic bargaining.

The two corporate parties won’t change and care for black majority interests. Black people have witnessed a black President having a limited ability to shape policy that advanced black majority interests replaced by someone openly hostile to those limited policy changes. This is an opening for black people to think about our relationship to America.

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