Saturday, June 09, 2012

Understanding Black Voters

It is a favorite head-shaker among conservatives to wonder why black voters remain so in thrall to the Democratic Party, even though there are reasons they might be more comfortable with Republicans.  The cry and moan goes up: The Democrats keep promising to be on their side and then screwing them over.  Why can't they see?

Probably for the same reason that small-government conservatives keep voting for Republicans, despite their poor record of actually shrinking government.  At least they say the right things, and some of them even do it. 

We actually understand each other very well, when you think of it.


Texan99 said...

As far as I can tell, most voters make some kind of emotional judgment about which party's candidates are mostly likely to do something to help them individually. They're often guessing wrong, but what's more important to me is that they're using a terrible metric to decide which party to vote for. They ought to be figuring out which public policies will make the country as a whole better off, and then vote for the party that most closely matches that vision of good policy. My unscientific estimate is that 3% of voters approach the issue that way. I think this low percentage is the only way to explain most swing voters, who seem to be waiting to see what the news looks and feels like during the week before the election so they can throw a dart at a target.

I'm convinced that shrinking government would help the country, so I'm probably going to keep voting Republican, even though I expect them to disappoint me, because the evidence suggests that Democrats are even more sure to disappoint me. Why the vast majority of black voters believe Democratic policies (even if honestly delivered on) will help even themselves, let alone the whole country, is a mystery to me. What it tells me is that there is an essential confusion about what government should be doing.

So I think there's a difference between supporting someone who's likely to disappoint by failing to follow through on promises, and supporting someone who will do more harm the more he actually follows through on promises. Of course, in that view, I'm assuming that I'm correct about which promises would be helpful or harmful if they were actually carried out -- but if voters don't assume that, they might as well quit voting.

On the other hand, I agree with you that there's no point being surprised that people continue to support parties that disappoint them. It's not as though they had a choice between that and a magical party that would never disappoint.

Gringo said...

Money is why Blacks will continue to vote for Democrats. Blacks are disproportionately employed in the public sector. How will they thus respond to Republicans' calls for cutting benefits- and staffing - for the public sector? Not in a positive manner, as those blacks employed in the public sector will view those cuts as a cut out of their pocketbooks.

Not to mention all the other government programs. Head Start, while it has been documented to not be of any benefit for the children it is supposed to help, is still a source of jobs for blacks. Which is one reason Head Start still continutes after nearly a half century of documented ineffectiveness. Head Start is simply "Jobs for the Boys" with a more modern twist.

Affirmative Action has assisted Blacks in getting jobs and seats in classrooms. Do you think Blacks are going to want Affirmative Action dismantled- especially since a lot of Blacks are employed in implementing Affirmative Action programs?

Until Republicans can make the case that free enterprise will give Blacks a better deal than government largesse, Blacks will continute to vote for Democrats.

karrde said...

What is weird is that in the 1930s, leaders of the Black community encouraged Black voters to think twice about whether the Party of Lincoln was still their friend.

That change did happen, and was part of the great re-alignment in American politics that was spurred on during the Great Depression.

I've even seen Black people who were surprised to learn which party Abe Lincoln belonged to...

However, I suspect many Democrats would be surprised by John Kennedy's tax policy and foreign policy. Likewise with Republicans and Reagan's record on spending.

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