Democrat pols are busily seeking to take political advantage of the Ferguson tragedy by linking voter registration to the protests. Perhaps the Democrats should be careful what they wish for.
The Ferguson tragedy occurred just days after the first African American St. Louis County Executive was ousted by a white challenger in a racially charged Democratic primary. Primary victor Steve Stenger made a point of viciously trashing the African American incumbent. A key element of the campaign was the endorsement by Democratic County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who made vague accusations of corruption even though he never brought charges or convened a grand jury on the subject. Yes, that’s the same Bob McCulloch who is resisting protesters’ demands for charges against the police officer who killed Michael Brown.
The other key players are also Democrats. Although nominally non-partisan, it is inconceivable that Ferguson city officials like Mayor James Knowles could have been elected without the blessing of local Democratic leaders. Embattled Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson was placed in office by the mayor and city council, all likely Democrats. County police chief Jon Belmar is a “non-partisan” political appointee of a police board appointed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who is under fire for his delayed, then ambiguous and ultimately inadequate reaction to the Ferguson riots.
More significantly, almost all of African Americans long-term problems have been brought on by a parade of policy failures by Democrats. Blacks remain proud of and loyal to President Obama, but their economic plight has worsened during his administration. While overall unemployment has rebounded back to the level when the President took office, black unemployment remains high. Democrat economic policies have eliminated full-time jobs, replaced them with part-time jobs without benefits. Cuts in military personnel are cutting off a major avenue of African American advancement. Meanwhile, a soaring stock market, driven by cheap-money monetary policies, makes the top 1% even richer, thereby worsening the very income gap between the races that the party rails against. And now, the President’s encouragement of illegal immigration threatens to provide competition for the poorest blacks for the low-wage entry-level jobs that they need for subsistence.
So, let’s get this straight. Stenger. McCulloch. Nixon. Social and economic woes brought on or worsened by Democratic office holders. This is what African Americans are expected to rally and support?
In contrast, on the same day county Democrats were denying renomination to the black county executive, a contested Republican primary in predominantly white southwest St. Louis County resoundingly nominated Ballwin Alderman Shamed Dogan, an African American former aide to former Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), for a seat in the Missouri legislature. Dogan now runs unopposed for the safely Republican seat in the general election. And during the Ferguson crisis itself, while prominent Democrats were jockeying for time on camera, the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition organized a BUYcott to help Ferguson shops that had been devastated by the riots.
For sure, African Americans have supported Democratic candidates since the Great Depression, but the popular definition of insanity is the repeating the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Apparently Democrats are counting on African American voters being crazy.
What should concerned African Americans learn from the Ferguson debacle? A better strategy for this election year would be to stand down and refuse to validate their Democrat oppressors. Ferguson underscores how their leaders have misled them. While significant ticket splitting for Rick Stream, the Republican candidate for county executive, would send a powerful message, standing down and refusing to vote at all would send an even stronger message. Instead of being reliable votes for a Democratic Party that takes them for granted and fails to produce for them, African Americans would be better served by listening and giving serious consideration to different approaches. Iowa farmers get whatever they want from Congress because they shift their votes back and forth depending on whichever party best serves their interests. African Americans should learn from their example.
The spontaneous Tea Party BUYcott demonstrated that conservatives aren’t out to get African Americans and do really care. Democrat opportunists seeking to fan the flames of violence demonstrated that Democrats really don’t.