Its Wednesday morning. I'm hauling down the road on my normal daily commute, flipping back and forth between the Tom Joyner Morning Show, ESPN Radio, and CNN. I stop on the latter. It's the day after the New Hampshire primary has been decided, and of course... here come the hot takes. A round table discussion on the prospects of the Democratic primary is well underway when something funny happens...
You see we have (FINALLY) hit the peak of political silly season. Primary elections are underway and the circus is in full affect. While the Democratic side of the coin is not nearly the entertaining clusterfuck that the quest for the Republican nomination has proven itself to be, the Dems have not failed to spawn their own competitive intrigue. Here's something nobody in the media thought they would say a year ago..."The Democratic race is actually competitive". What everyone thought would be a decisive, and relatively quick, process has become a coronation orchestrated by Steve Harvey.
After two primaries, Hillary won Iowa - although that "win" is highly questionable. Bernie gave Hillary a old fashioned back yard beating in New Hampshire, a state that Hillary won during the 2008 primary (insert dramatic music break here). Now, media pundits are struggling to see how both states will project on the remaining primary states. So as I'm listening to a political round table attempt to put Bernie Sanders' double digit shellacking into perspective, one commentator poses the question, "So what does this mean for South Carolina?" - the next stop on the primary trail. The response from another pundit is "Well, the demographics in South Carolina certainly play to Clinton's favor".
Here's a little background: Iowa and New Hampshire aren't exactly Negro Meccas. The two states combined have as much diversity as one Trump Rally.
Back to my morning commute... Now my attention has been peaked. Whatever could they mean by "demographics" (as if i didn't already know). Then another participant just comes out and says it... "There are large segments of African Americans in South Carolina, and, traditionally, Hillary does well within the Black community". The group babels on for another five minutes, then the show wraps. The next show leads off with a teaser, "Bernie tops Hillary in New Hampshire. Does this spell trouble in South Carolina? Or, will minorities carry her to victory?". Its become quite clear at this point, that the media has essentially predetermined that "tha coloreds" will rally around the Clinton campaign and thrust her to victory.
My question is "Why"?
Why is the (white) media so willing to hand out an honorary Black Card to Hillary Clinton without, first, actually consulting... you know.... Blacks? Their decision to declare Clinton the "Minority Magnet" can't be grounded in sound political science. They will tout their polling information, I'm sure of it. However, polls are notorious for underestimating minority sentiment for a number of reasons - primarily because polls are conducted (1) by phone (and black folks don't answer calls from unknown numbers), and (2) in person, and we all know how reluctant certain people are to approach random African Americans in public. So who exactly gave them the authority to declare her "champion of all things Black".
What exactly has she accomplished for the black community? Does she have landmark legislation passed during her time in the Senate that made Black lives better? Did she oppose No Child Left Behind? Did she fight for the end of housing discrimination and gentrification? Did she level the economic playing field for Black entrepreneurs? What we do know is that she voted AGAINST increasing funds to protect and increase access to voting polls in 2002. She voted FOR the Patriot Act in 2001, and voted AGAINST raising the minimum wage in 2006.
Let us be absolutely, crystal clear. The presumption that the African American community will coalesce around the Clinton campaign is nothing more than an assumption. They assume that African Americans, traditionally, vote Democrat, and because Hillary has been the presumptive crowned princess of the Democratic Party up until this point, that the only name that rings among us. They assume that the Clinton Brand is a name that the Blacks have loyalty, and will faithfully fall in line like urban negroes on Jordan Release Day. They assume that we haven't been paying attention. That we failed to notice Hillary struggle to utter the words "Black Lives Matter", and didn't see the agonizing awkwardness when she finally - under tremendous pressure - brought her self to say it. They assume we have short memories - that we don't remember the hissy-fit she threw when then-Senator-now-President Obama handed her first defeat in 2008.
Most importantly, they assume that we will repeat our mistakes. They assume that just because we so willingly handed Slick Willie a Black Card - admittedly, for no other reason than the fact he played the saxophone, smoked weed, and got head in the Oval Office - that the same luxury of acceptance is handed out to her. They expect us to ignore that the epidemic of mass incarceration was created by the Clinton Brand in the 90's, and that much of the policing based distrust experience stems from the fact that a disproportionate amount of Blacks have withered away for minor crimes in state and for-profit prison systems. They think because they moved to Harlem that they instantly became "one of us". They assume we don't recognize a hustle when we see one, that we aren't used to the fly by night opportunist that tell us what we want to hear when we want to hear it, shake hands, kiss babies, eat our ethnic food, and then drop their ninja bombs and vanish into thin air at the most convenient of times.
I find it laughable when the media touts Clinton's "deep roots in the Black community". But its (partly) our fault. At a time when a Black President seemed the greatest impossibility in the country, the Black community became overly anxious, and labeled the closest thing we'd seen up until then "White Chocolate". The media expects us to rush to to repeat that same mistake again.
This is not an endorsement of Bernie Sanders (yet). Rather, it is a precautionary advisory to do your research. Make your own decision instead of falling into the trap of fulfilling media expectations.