It’s a fact that has proven the power of the Black vote many times in the past, but as the 2016 presidential election looms over the horizon, the behavior of Black voters may be far less predictable.
A disappointing lack of substantial change during President Barack Obama’s time in office, a new wave of prominent Black Republicans and years of undying support for the Democratic Party that failed to actually result in major policy reform has caused some leaders in the Black community to turn their backs on the Democratic Party.
The latest is a pastor from Chicago’s South Side who is urging Republican leaders to come visit their neighborhood and let the community know more about the other options that will be available at the polls next year.
“African-Americans have been loyal to the Democratic Party,” Pastor Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church of Chicago said, according to The Daily Beast. “But there is a group of African-Americans that feel like the Democratic Party has not been loyal to us.”
The offer is open to all the presidential hopefuls, but he insists that there needs to be a push to get more Republicans in the neighborhood so the Black community there won’t be casting another blind vote based purely on political party affiliation.
It’s an offer that hasn’t been accepted by any of the Republican candidates other than Rand Paul.
Brooks says that after half a century of support for Democrats, his local community hasn’t seen the type of changes that have been promised to them.
“We have a large, disproportionate number of people who are impoverished,” Brooks added. “We have a disproportionate number of people who are incarcerated, we have a disproportionate number of people who are unemployed, the educational system has totally failed, and all of this primarily has been under Democratic regimes in our neighborhoods.”
He says that begs the question, “How can our neighborhood be doing so awful and so bad when we’re so loyal to this party who is in power? It’s a matter of them taking complete advantage of our vote.”
The Woodlawn community isn’t the only of its kind either. As the nation saw when chaos swept cities like Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, too many Black communities are being left in the shadows of failed policy and empty promises.
Brooks hasn’t confirmed who he plans on voting for next year, but he says the point of his movement isn’t about garnering support for Republicans so much as it is about getting communities to be more aware of the political landscape.
His movement is about informing, not persuading, although he made it clear that he is greatly disappointed in the Democratic agenda.
“They have a failing plan,” he insisted. “A business owner wouldn’t allow the person who runs it to remain in charge for 50 years, constantly running it into the ground.”
And Brooks isn’t speaking only as a disappointed voter but also as someone who has quite a bit of political know-how.
He was a political science major at Ball State University.
Unlike most Democrats, Brooks is against unions and greatly in favor of protecting the right to bear arms. That’s not where his Conservative stance ends either.
Brooks also believes that Black people have a great share of responsibility for their own plights and challenges.
He believes that the breakdown of the Black family is a key factor that has contributed to the “culture of violence” that plagues many urban communities.
He acknowledges that Republicans haven’t been as proactive as they should be in pushing for the progress of the Black community but added that it may be a better option than voting for the Democratic Party again when, according to him, they have continuously failed to live up to expectations.