A writer over at The Washington Post has a bold new proposal he believes can heal the American racial divide: empower blacks by making their votes count more than those of other races.
“Racial reconciliation is impossible without some kind of broad-based, systemic reparations,” writes Theodore R. Johnson, a former White House fellow and current Ph.D candidate in law and policy at Northeastern University. “But if a pecuniary answer can’t fix the structural disadvantage — and it can’t — what can?”
The answer, Johnson argues, is simple: weighted voting, where black votes count for more than white ones. Specifically, Johnson suggests giving each black person five-thirds of a vote, to reverse the old three-fifths compromise written into the U.S. Constitution.
As Johnson gleefully notes, counting black votes more than others would significantly alter many elections in the U.S. In the 2012 election, several Southern states with high black populations, such as Mississippi and Georgia, would have swung over to Barack Obama’s column, and their recent Senate races would have been decided in Democrats’ favor as well.
Johnson justifies his argument by saying it’s the only way to solve the “structural disadvantages” faced by blacks.
“A five-thirds compromise would imbue African Americans with a larger political voice that could be used to fight the structural discrimination expressed in housing, education, criminal justice and employment,” he says. “Allowing black votes to count for 167 percent of everyone else’s would mean that 30 million African American votes would count as 50 million, substituting super-votes for the implausible idea of cash payments.” With black voters so massively empowered, politicians will have no choice to but to put black priorities first if they hope to remain in office.
Johnson pays lip service to the important democratic principle of “one man, one vote,” but then dismisses it on grounds that the term is “unclear,” by pointing to a Supreme Court case that has nothing to do with the topic of explicitly giving one racial group super-votes.
Having taken care of his justification of the policy itself, Johnson goes into detail about how it should be constructed. He says it only needs to last for a set period of time (he proposes 24 years), and he also proposes taking inspiration from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for handling the thorny topic of who counts as black and who doesn’t.
To conclude, Johnson forthrightly says that only reverse racism will be sufficient to achieve the goal of racial justice.
“Of course, weighted-vote reparations are only slightly more politically feasible than a multi-trillion-dollar payout,” he says. “But we have to consider novel approaches to racial reconciliation … if we are serious about ridding the nation of barriers to opportunity and overcoming the racial discrimination woven into America’s fabric. If racism is the culprit, then dismantling it requires the same tools that constructed it.”
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