Jeb Bush was recently pilloried for his characterization of the relationship between African-Americans and the Democratic Party. As insulting as his statement was, what’s worse is the lost opportunity it represents.
“Our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you withHis explanation of black politics echoes the age-old racist trope that black voters are looking for “handouts.” Democrats, by that reasoning, are buying votes with welfare while Republicans are appealing to good, honest people who want to stand on their own two feet.
free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”
This is yet another example of an opportunity lost by ignorance and racism. Bush lurched past a prime opportunity to set fire to the Democratic coalition. Democrats do in fact use welfare and other critical social safety net programs as leverage to manipulate black voters. It just doesn’t work the way white racists imagine.
A history of systemic looting, which hasn’t entirely ended, has left many black communities with almost none of the financial or political capital required to begin a climb. For many of the worst affected communities,
People want to get welfare like they want to get
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