BY EMMANUEL ATUFU
Vote Democrat, no matter what. It does not matter who the candidate is or whether you agree with them or not, you have to vote Democrat.
For many African-Americans, this is a fact of life. And the reason behind it is simple, the Democratic Party is the party of the poor.
The Democratic Party rely more on government control to influence the economy and keep the aggressive “profit over people” motives of businesses in check.
The Republican Party, generally speaking, are viewed as the more business-friendly party because they favor trickle-down economics and a limited role of government in regards to regulating the economy.
Given their pro-business stance, Republicans tend to garner support from businesses and wealthy individuals, while Democrats, for the most part, garner support from the middle class and minorities.
But it was not always like that. After the Civil War, the vast majority of African-Americans identified as Republicans. The reason was simple, it was the Republican Party, which was started by abolitionists, and was the party of Abraham Lincoln, that fought against slavery.
The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt signaled the beginning of the change among African-Americans. In 1936, FDR garnered 71 percent of the African-American vote for president and replicated those numbers in the next two elections, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
But by 1964, the percentage of African-Americans who considered themselves Democrat rose to 82 percent according to data aggregator, Black Demographics. Not only that, 94 percent of African-Americans voted for a Democrat for president in 1964.
This was a surprising accomplishment for the Democratic Party because the percentage of African-Americans who identified as Democrat was roughly the same for those who considered themselves Republican.
But it was not until 1948 when Harry Truman garnered 77 percent support from African-Americans, according to FactCheck, that a majority of them reported that they identified as Democrats.
The reason behind that was earlier that year, Truman issued an executive order that desegregated the military, as well as put in place regulations against racial bias in federal employment.
But even after that, African-Americans still showed support for Republican nominees for several elections. Eisenhower got 39 percent support in 1956, and Nixon got 32 percent support in 1960 according to FactCheck.
Everything changed after Lyndon B. Johnson passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the following year, signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
From there on out, African-American loyalty to the Democratic Party was solidified for good. No other Republican presidential candidate got more than 15 percent of the African-American vote.
On the other hand, every Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 has gotten at least 80 percent of the African-American vote, according to Black Demographics. So historically, it made perfect sense for African-Americans to vote for Democrats, but things are different now that it is irrational for African-Americans to still disproportionately vote for Democrats.
Take for example the 2008 and 2012 elections in which President Obama garnered support from 95 and 93 percent of African-Americans, respectively, according to Black Demographics.
But the real question is what African-Americans have gained under a Democrat as president. The inconvenient truth is that African-Americans have not made any significant economic progress under 8 years of the Obama administration. In fact, the opposite is true.
Income inequality between African-Americans and Caucasians is at its widest gap in 25 years. According to a study by PEW in 2014, the average white household was worth $141,900, while the average African-American household was worth $11,000.
Additionally, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the real median household income for African-Americans in 2014 was $35,398 compared to $74,297 for Asians, $60,256 for Caucasians, and $42,491 for Hispanics.
To add insult to injury, the African-American poverty rate, as of 2014, is 26.2 percent or 10.8 million people, according to poverty data tracker, Talk Poverty.
That means that African-Americans, whom only make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, account for almost a quarter of those living in poverty.
The 2016 presidential elections are underway and the two remaining Democratic candidates are out pandering to African-Americans, hoping they can receive their support.
African-Americans must realize the Democratic Party is not their ally. They are the party of the poor, which means as long as people are either poor or struggling, the party will keep winning elections.
African-Americans must send a strong message to the Democratic Party at the state and national level, that if they are going to keep taking their votes for granted, then they will either not vote for Democrats, or they will not vote at all.