Just as Democrats in the past gleefully attacked “uppity” African Americans, Democrats today cannot resist attacking high-profile African-Americans who dare to stray from the Democratic Party.
This has happened with Justice Clarence Thomas, General Colin Powell, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Dr. Condoleezza Rice and countless others. So, it comes as no surprise that liberals are now assailing gifted artist Kanye West for having the audacity to not only question his people’s blind loyalty to the Democratic Party but also to embrace Republican president, Donald Trump.
As punishment for these mortal sins, West has been cruelly targeted by very powerful liberal celebrities. Actor Chris Evans, for example, recently ripped West as someone “who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue.”
Equally dismissive, left-wing comedian Jimmy Kimmel has maliciously mocked West as “an irrational madman.” And countless other liberal elites have vented that West is “mentally ill,” “illiterate,” and “unwell” for daring to reject their “progressive” view of the world.
Leaving aside the fact that white conservatives would be lambasted as racists if they made similar disparaging comments about any black person, what is particularly disturbing to watch is the zeal with which many African Americans have also rushed to attack West. Bucking group-think isn’t popular in Black America, and Kanye is learning the hard way.
Rapper Snoop Dogg has accused West of being an “Uncle Tom” for supporting the President. And CNN host Don Lemon openly giggled while panelists on his show branded West a “token negro” who should be traded “in the racial draft” because black folks have “had it with him.” More recently, Lemon has accused West of putting on a “minstrel show” and of “embarrassing Americans, but mostly African-Americans.”
With all due respect to Lemon, what should actually be embarrassing to African-Americans is our slavish loyalty to the Democratic Party. As Leah Wright Rigueur, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, notes: “without question, blacks are the most partisan of any racial group in the United States.”
For the past half-century, “more than 80 percent of black voters have cast their ballots for the Democratic party nominee in every presidential election.” Moreover, in recent decades, “almost 90 percent of blacks vote primarily Democrat.”
In exchange for this unprecedented degree of loyalty, one would expect that Democrats have given the world to black voters. But that is not what has happened. Instead, as Al Sharpton observed years ago (before he got paid off with a cable television show and other goodies), “[the] Democratic Party acts like we are their mistress that they have to hide, like we’re some political scarlet whore rather than their respected partner.”
Even worse, not only have Democrats routinely ignored the needs of their most loyal voters, they have actually left their black supporters much worse off.
Democrats have consistently opposed school choice, trapping several generations of minority children in failed public schools. They have also promoted illegal immigration and championed Bill Clinton’s pro-NAFTA, pro-globalization policies, which both led to massive levels of unemployment in black communities. Democrats have also crippled black families by embracing welfare policies that penalized married couples.
Thanks to those policies, although only 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families in 1960, fifty years later more than 70 percent of black children experienced this sad fate.
The truth is anyone who wants to know how well the Democratic Party has rewarded the black community for its loyalty only needs to look at Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, or Milwaukee to find an answer. In these cities, high rates of crime, poverty, academic failure, and racial inequality remain the norm after five or more decades of Democratic control.
Indeed, as Jesse Jackson lamented in a 2016 article, “the injustice is worse in modern Milwaukee than it was in segregated Birmingham. Black poverty, unemployment, and impoverished neighborhoods are all worse.”
Given how badly blacks have been treated by the Democratic Party, the relevant question isn’t why has Kanye realized that it makes sense for blacks to distance ourselves from Democrats. It’s why haven’t more black voters had the same epiphany?
Paradoxically, the answer may lie in West’s bipolar disorder diagnosis. Scholars have recognized that bipolar illness is more common than expected by chance in those with exceptional creative talent. It is, therefore, very likely that the same creative forces that allow West to craft dazzling lyrics have also enabled him to see the world differently than the herd of black voters constantly grazing on Democratic pastures.
If this is so, West should certainly take medication to mediate his condition. But his foray into political independence should also serve as medicine for Black America’s peculiar form of insanity: voting Democratic over and over again yet expecting a different result.
Nick James is the nom de plume of a trial attorney in the D.C. area who formerly worked for the United States Department of Justice as an award-winning federal prosecutor.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.