Democrats claim not to have a leader. Such a claim is fostered in order to cast doubt on the Democrats’ chances of supplanting a Republican majority in Congress in 2018 and making the current Republican President a one term mistake. I find this claim quite unfortunate. Heretofore, the titular head or leader of a party rests with the last successful President of that party. The Republican still pay homage to Reagan even though Reagan was wrong. Barack Obama was the last successful Democratic President. Democrats should be looking to Obama for leadership. Albeit, the Democrats still have Carter and Clinton. As a matter of fact, I was expecting a battle for the mantle of Democratic leadership to be fought between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. After Clinton left office in 2001, his popularity began to soar. The Democrats looked back with fondness to the Clinton Presidency. Since Obama has left office, a majority of Democrats seem to have forgotten that he was a two term President to left office without scandal, no new wars, and an economy that was very much intact. Yet, this majority of Democrats seem to want to run away from Obama because he is a Black man.
Running away from Obama because is a Black man grows out of the erroneous narrative that has been dominating the discussion as to why the Democrats lost in 2016. Two major figures that promote this bogus narrative are Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders. They claim that the Democrats lost because they did not go to the angry White working class vote the way Donald Trump went to these voters. Keep in mind that the Republican Party has become the chosen home of racists, bigots, xenophobes, and misogynistic attitudes and policies. Therefore, if you claim that the Democrats did not approach this sector with a racist agenda in 2016, you are probably correct. However, if you make the claim this why the Democrats lost in 2016 you are definitely incorrect. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the popular vote by close to three million votes. This number is so significant that Trump, as President, has set up a bogus commission on voter fraud for the purpose of carrying out voter suppression. Did Bernie Sanders and Michael Moore forget that the Russian intervened in the 2016 election in order to engineer a victory for Donald Trump? Even as Donald Trump loves to wrap himself in the American flag as if it is his diaper, he refuses to acknowledge foreign tampering with an American election. This does not demonstrate love for country. There is an old adage which that “patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” In 2017, look to patriotism and you will find Donald Trump who is promoting a White male centric narrative for both domestic and American foreign policy. Trump has already used the term “diversity” in an extremely negative context.
The strength of the Democratic Party rests on its diversity. FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, and Clinton have all made significant contributions to the advancement of America through the Democratic Party. However, one cannot overlook the contributions of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Duval Patrick, John Lewis, and President Barack Obama. Therefore, to make the claim that nurturing diversity in the Democratic Party is a liability, is as wrongheaded and dubious as an argument can become. Those who make such an argument are fascinated with the core support for Donald Trump, which is a constant 30 to 35 percent. This is not a winning majority. This coalition of bigotry and backward thinking is nothing to emulate. Any President will have a core of supporters. This is nothing new. Perhaps the fact that we look at Donald Trump as the most absurd President ever is why we gawk at his supporters. Nevertheless, the Democrats need not immolate the Republicans or Donald Trump. Their most recent attempt at a tax cut gives evidence that they lie to a certain portion of their base. How can Republican advocate eliminating or reducing mortgage deductions along with state and local taxes from ones federal tax returns and still claim to be for America’s workers? The Democrats need not copy this madness.
The Democrats have a powerful triumvirate in Carter, Clinton, and Obama. The Party needs to seek council from these three wise men. Tom Perez, who leads the DNC need not be persuaded to shy away from diversity. This White male centric narrative was also against his being chosen to lead the DNC. It was this White male centric narrative assisted by Russia that defeated Clinton. Sanders was a naïve pawn in this master chess match. For the Democrats to abandon diversity would be as stupid as Donald Trump calling for a wall to be built between Mexico and the United States. My question is how deep will this wall go? How high will this wall go? Also how far out into the Pacific Ocean will this wall extend? In the final analysis, the Democrats do not need to emulate such a failed narrative.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”