June 30, 2011
More than 40 years ago, both political parties (Democratic and Republicans) made strategic decisions that are still being felt today.
In the 1960s, the Republican Party formally adopted the “Southern Strategy.” The Southern Strategy was a deliberate strategy by the Republican Party of the 1960s concocted to win elections in Southern states by exploiting anti-Black racism among southern white voters. These voters were previously loyal to the Democratic Party because the Democrats defended slavery and segregation.
These same voters left the Democratic Party in droves after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
During this same time period, Democrats created all types of government programs with the not so subtle goal of controlling the daily lives of Blacks. Programs such as welfare, the Great Society Programs, and the War on Poverty are but a few examples of these insidious programs.
So, all the racist southern white voters aligned themselves with the Republican Party and the white moderate and liberal Republicans became independents. This paradigm exists to this day. Now we see the great grandchildren of the Southern Strategy in leadership roles in the Republican Party; and the same in Democratic leadership (ultra liberals like Nancy Pelosi).
So, both parties are controlled by their respective extreme elements, but the country is more in the middle on the political spectrum. Therein lies the problem. You have to be from the far right or far left to have a leadership voice, but have to be more centrist to get anything done.
Independence Day is celebrated in the U.S. as a time to reflect upon our freedom from Great Britain during the 1700s.
So, for this Independence Day, wouldn’t it be nice for both parties to renounce their respective perverted strategies that have set our country back for many years?
A few years ago, Ken Mehlman, then head of the Republican Party stated to a Black audience: "Republican candidates often have prospered by ignoring black voters and even by exploiting racial tensions…by the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African-American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out. Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”
Unfortunately, Democrats haven’t shown the courage to admit that liberalism has failed; but also, devastated the Black community.
As a political operative, I am all about winning. But, sometimes you can win, but yet lose; and sometimes you can lose and yet win. Republicans won the White House as a direct result of the Southern Strategy in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004; but they lost the Black vote for a generation. The Democrats lost these elections, but yet, were able to put a stranglehold on the Black vote for a generation.
Republicans played on white fears to drive whites from the Democratic Party. This is the single most dominant reason for Republican victories during the past generation. Democrats played on the pernicious idea of low expectations to create perverse government programs to keep the Black community dependent on the government for all that ails them.
So, on this Independence Day, wouldn’t it be nice if both parties would agree to free themselves of the baggage of the past and engage in campaigns that lay out a clearly articulated vision for their respective parties?
Republicans should not have to use fear if they truly believed in the power of their ideas. Democrats should not have to create cycles of dependency if they truly believed that everyone is created equal.
If both parties truly believed in the power of their rhetoric, shouldn’t they be willing to allow the market place of ideas to determine the winners and losers? Then and only, can we Americans celebrate Independence Day.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & USAfrica Magazine (www.USAfricaonline.com).