November 29, 2022
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Gary Franks: Black people must end ‘eggs-in-one-basket’ politics

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I’ll never forget the laughter about my candidacy when I first ran for office in an area in Connecticut that is over 90% white. Political leaders joked that white voters would not vote for me because I am Black, and Black people would not vote for me because I am a Republican. “Good luck,” they would chuckle.

Well, I won six elections and lost three. More importantly, when I won, I carried the white vote and Black vote. And when I lost, I lost the white vote and Black vote. And that was good.

History, if you do not know it, can easily repeat itself.

The alarm I am calling out has to do with the perpetual and overwhelming vote of the Black population for a Democrat, any Democrat.

Elections should be based on merit. Candidates should have to earn your vote by their past performance, actions and vision.

Black people have not always followed this theme. As Booker T. Washington advised in his autobiography, “Up from Slavery,” “See how the white man was voting, and vote the other way.” Back then, maybe it was for good reason. After all, Republican President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and the Republican-controlled Congress pursued Reconstruction, which was helping the newly freed slaves to the dismay of their former slave owners.

However, after the election Compromise of 1877, the northern troops that were stationed in the South to protect Black people were removed in exchange for the Republican (Rutherford Hayes) winning the White House. Soon the South witnessed the birth of Jim Crow, an invigorated KKK and the near eradication of the vote for Blacks, along with the erosion of many of their civil rights.

Years later, after learning the lesson of one-party voting — Black voters putting their eggs in one basket — Black leaders did not openly support either political party, with a few exceptions.

The liberal media allows Democrats to get away with racial issues that shine a negative light on their party. They dismiss or under-report them.

“I’ll tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t Black,” said then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to a Black radio host.

How about revisionist history? Remember then-Vice President Biden saying to an all-Black crowd that Republicans would “put y’all back in chains” if they are elected?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower integrated the Little Rock 9, President Ulysses S. Grant fought against the KKK, President Richard Nixon put teeth into affirmative action by establishing goals and timetables toward integrating our colleges and corporations, and I could go on.

Black Americans must realize that you cannot play a basketball game if nine players are playing against one (90%). You cannot expect the political system to work properly either if 90% are only involved in 50% of the political activity. Simple math. It may work for the political leaders but not for the masses, their constituents.

Can we correct this trend? Yes.

In the mid-1990s today’s heavily Democratic states like New Jersey, New York, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Illinois and less Democratic states like Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan all had Republican governors during the same period. In these states, a measurable portion of the Black vote went for the Republican governors.

Thus, in America Black tribalist voting can be addressed.

Gary Franks served three terms as U.S. representative for Connecticut’s 5th District. He was the first Black Republican elected to the House in nearly 60 years. He is the author of “With God, For God, and For Country.” @GaryFranks



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