Words By: Nallah Brown
The pursuit of buying the black vote usually begins with politicians smiling in your face, and ends with a slap across it.
The black vote has always been an essential part to winning any election in this country. But, mimicking our latest dance moves and visiting our churches for staged photographs will never be enough.
This is not the way to relate or connect with us, especially if you are a candidate that couldn’t care less about the black community. Well, until voting season comes around.
“Being relatable is not your job, passing bills that are going to better our community is your job,” said Chelsea Maloney, a sophomore theatre arts student.
As people who elect those in office, it is our duty to hold the politicians accountable.
Black people have been selling their vote with the exchange of nothing for years. It is time to demand more and set the bar higher.
“It’s that pressure you place on politicians outside of the election that makes your vote powerful,” continued Newsome.
Hillary and Bill Clinton have successfully built a relationship with the black community. For the past 24 years, they have grown in the hearts and in support by the Black community.
Back in the 90’s when Bill was running for president, he made an unforgettable appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show playing his saxophone in front of the audience.
Bill’s smooth sax playing gained him a lot of attention and positive interaction from the Black community.
Even Hillary followed in her husband’s footsteps during her time of candidacy for the 2016 Presidential election.
You can quickly find pictures online of her hugging parishioners in Black churches, and videos of her hitting the hip-hop dance move “Nae Nae” on The Ellen DeGeneres show.
Although the Clintons have done a good job creating a relationship with the black community, they are not too far from creating a toxic one either.
If you were to ask black people in the 90’s on their thoughts about Bill Clinton, they’d probably rave over him being the first “black” president, but today you’ll catch a lot of them throwing shade.
Now-a-days it is a well-known fact that Bill Clinton’s legacy isn’t as polished as people thought it to be.
During Bill Clinton’s term of presidency, the black prison population had skyrocketed.
The 1994 crime bill and 1996 welfare reform bill is proof that the Clinton presidency was in fact, bad for black Americans.
The population of black people is currently overly incarcerated, and black men are six times likely to be incarcerated as white men, according to the Pew Research Center.
Bill Clinton does not get all the blame for the burning of the bridge between the Clinton’s and the Black community.
Just as Hillary followed the steps of buying the Black vote in Bill’s lead, she continued the toxic legacy he started.
Her own words served as karma during her husband’s presidency.
During 1996 in New Hampshire, Hillary came to speak in support of the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act and Law Enforcement Act which her husband, Bill Clinton, had signed in to law.
She infamously referred to young “superpredators” as one reason for the high crime rate.
Many felt that she was referring to the black youth in inner cities.
This comment followed Hillary all the way to her very own 2016 presidential candidacy, which most of the nation still does not give her a pass for.
According to Forbes.com, in the ending of Hillary’s candidacy, she underperformed with Millennials by 3 to 13 percent.
Although this didn’t help Trump win as much as it hindered Clinton to lose, Trump had little to no interest of gaining the black vote during his candidacy compared to Hillary.
Some of his small attempts served as visiting a predominantly black Bethel United Methodist Church, in Detroit, Michigan for a one-on-one with the Pastor Bishop Wayne T. Jackson which was allegedly a disingenuous conversation.
Trump’s sorry attempt to gain the black vote by visiting a black church would not save him from his infamous history of racial insensitive views.
The black vote represents 14 percent of the total U.S. population, or about 46-million voters, which he has 1 percent support of, and that is virtually none, according to the Huffington Post.
It is rare to see Trump speak positively about the Black community without forcing himself two steps back.
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?”
This is a question Trump proposed on Aug. 19, 2016 at a rally in Dimondale, Michigan implying that the Black community should cast their vote his way because he is better than nothing.
Candidates working to appeal their audience for votes is nothing new. Throughout the campaign, it is common for candidates to educate and adapt to the fluctuating culture in society as a way to seem understanding and empathetic.
It’s obvious that Black people have made a pivotal presence in Clinton’s popular presidential legacy, yet we can’t say the same about their political position in the Black community.
“More than 8 in 10 Black voters in that state voted for Clinton, according to exit polls,” as stated by NPR.org.
“Hillary Clinton’s win in the South Carolina Democratic primary was a blowout, and black voters in particular are being credited with handing her that victory.”
The Clintons’ sweet then sour relationship does not equate to a serious commitment to relieving the poverty, prejudice, mass incarceration, and second-class citizenry suffered by majority of the Black community.
It’s quite clear that these politicians do not take the Black community serious until they need a vote. It is imperative to hold politicians accountable of fighting for the inclusive policies that will move our society upward as the equal-opportunity nation they claim to want.