It could be a watershed moment in the history of relations between African-Americans and the Democratic Party. Last week, a group of mostly Black charter school advocates chanted in protest
at an Elizabeth Warren rally. They accused the senator — a one-time proponent of charter schools — of hypocrisy in now opposing school choice for poor Americans, while wealthy parents such as Warren were able to send their children to a choice of the best schools.
So the question must be asked: Why are African Americans continuing to vote for Democrats at a rate exceeding 90%?
We should also be asking why Asians are voting for Democrats at a 77% clip when it is the Democratic Party that is seeking to limit Asians’ access into our better schools by diluting reliance on test scores and merit.
The Republican Party is a predominantly older, white party. President Trump has adopted a strategy from day one to pitch almost solely toward his base, hoping an energized core will be enough to get him re-elected. Conventional wisdom suggests that the day after election, a new president works toward expanding the base. That’s especially necessary with Republicans, who see much of its core dying out.
The president should seek to expand that base by courting African-American charter school advocates and Asians being shut out of their schools of choice.
Trump cleverly asked African-Americans in 2016 to give him a shot: “What the hell do you have to lose?” he asked. It’s a good question, given the fact that African-American poverty perpetuates in urban settings that have been run by Democrats for 50 years. The most dangerous Zip Codes in America are those controlled by leftist politicians.
Democrats promise more dependence, and that means free stuff (yes, AOC, I said free) in exchange for votes, but Republicans can offer a promise of social mobility. Indeed, it was Democrat Barack Obama’s administration that presided over an increase in poverty (peaking at 15%), Food Stamps (peaking at 47.6 million recipients), Disability, income inequality and overall government reliance. (See “The Life of Julia” pamphlets, which incorporated the Democrats’ goal of fawning over an individual from birth to grave.)
According to the Brookings Institute, only 26% of whites support charter schools, while 62% oppose them.
That’s basically flipped in an African-American survey where school choice is favored 58% to 31%. This is an Achilles’ heel of the Democratic Party, because it divides two of its biggest constituencies: predominantly white teachers unions and black parents who want greater opportunity for their children. It’s clear the Democratic infrastructure will not embrace charters due to the ironclad grip the teachers unions have on the party.
So why aren’t Republicans flooding African-American media with their support for this important issue? Coupled with improving wage growth and employment figures for African Americans, this should be the basis of meaningful outreach to the Black community.
Despite taking a pounding from Democrats and the media for being an alleged racist, Trump nevertheless scored a surprisingly high 34% positive rating from the African-American community in a recent Emerson poll.
Now that doesn’t mean that they will vote for him, but at least it shows an opening worth fighting for.
African Americans don’t want their children relegated to underperforming schools. Simultaneously, Asian Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated that they are getting locked out of admission to better schools because they are performing too well. According to the US News and World Report, while Asian students comprise 16% of New York City public school population, they account for 60% of elite high schools such as Brooklyn Tech. Admission is based on test scores and merit. But Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio has declared war on Asian students by claiming they are overrepresented in the schools, merit be damned. He is seeking a new program to limit their numbers.
Meanwhile, the liberal administrators at Harvard have sought to limit overrepresentation of Asians at the university, just like they did with Jews in the early 20th Century.
So why did three-quarters of Asians support Democrats in 2018?
Moreover, Asians own businesses at a higher rate than the national average. According to the U.S. Census, Asian business ownership skyrocketed 23.8% from 2007 to 2012, compared to a 2% national average. And the real median household income for Asians — $81,331 — is far above the national median of $61,372.
Ironically, Trump’s deregulation and business sector tax cuts inure to the benefit of the Asian community more than perhaps any other demographic.
If the GOP stubbornly sticks to its base and ignores people of color, it will go the way of the Whigs. The good news is that Republicans don't have to become more liberal to attract them. If strategists simply emphasized the areas minorities already are in sync with the GOP, with school choice topping the list, the party can begin a realignment similar to how blue collar, non-college educated whites abandoned the Democrats in 2016. Trump will certainly not get, nor does he need, a plurality of minority voters. However, jumping from the 8% he garnered in 2016 to 18 in 2020 would all but assure his re-election.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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