I have seen these tee shirts advertised on Instagram. They’re cute. They say, “Black women are for grown-ups.” And to quote the space-age mage Janelle Monae, I like that. I do think that black women in America have been faced with tremendous hardship over the years, and through the various political fires we’ve had no choice other than to face the truth about this country and the limited ways we have to mitigate the damage it does to us.
In fact, I think that’s true for black people. Not just black women.
We have had to deal with so much – for lack of a better word – shit throughout our time in this country that we have not been able to retain any naïve ideas about its so-called democratic spirit.
We know that in virtually any election our most viable choice will be the candidate that will do us the least harm, and that candidate will most likely be a white male, and even though we have gifted him our support and at least some of our trust, he will probably still do something at some point while in office that is negligent of us if it is not downright harmful or malicious.
Yet, we vote anyway.
As a matter of fact, black women have voted in larger numbers and with more consistency than just about any other demographic block of voters in the country over the last few years.
We voted for Hillary in the 2016 Presidential Election, even though she aided her husband in making many decisions during his administration that had very damaging long-term effects on the black community. We voted for Doug Jones down in Alabama. We voted for Beto O’Rourke in Texas. We helped whip up the Blue Wave that re-established the Democratic majority in the House by casting votes for candidates that were not all black and not all women (though a refreshing number of them were).
And yes, these non-black and male candidates made pitches to us. No one is saying they didn’t.
They acknowledged our power and myriad political and social plights.
They made us promises, though many were vague, and most will probably never come to fruition.
But the gag is we would’ve voted for them anyway – even if they hadn’t.
Like grown folks, we would’ve squared our shoulders, lifted our chins, and did what we had to do.
It is what it is.
In those 2018 midterm races, just about any black woman that was going to vote was going to vote Democrat whether or not the candidate appealed directly or personally to her because the end result of not voting or not voting Democrat – which was the preservation of the Republican super majority – wasn’t just undesirable – it was untenable.
Donald Trump – who – yes – I still refuse to address as “President” – is also untenable. He is an ignorant, dangerous bigot that still does not deserve to be in office.
He should not be allowed to win the 2020 Presidential Election, and I – as a registered voter and tax-paying citizen – am charging the Democrats with making sure that he doesn’t since it is partially their fault – in the sense that they mismanaged Bernie’s leftover voters after the 2016 Convention and the whole email server fiasco right before Election Day – that Trump got elected in the first place.
And in charging the Democrats with getting Trump out of office, I am also letting them know: Stacy Abrams doesn’t know what the hell she is saying, and identity politics are not the way the Democrats will win in 2020.
That’s right. I said it: Y’all better push a cishetero, married, nominally Christian and intelligent white male to front of the senselessly large, ever-growing pack of presidential candidates before you fuck around and have us suffering through another four years of this current political toxicity.
As I said in my opening, black people are the political adults of America. We know that it doesn’t really matter who gets elected; that person will not singlehandedly dismantle or eradicate institutional racism and might not even do anything substantive to lessen it.
However, we also know this does not mean that we should let rabid-ass racists and xenophobes into office so they can maraud all over our democracy, no matter how shabby it might actually be.
In the end, our democracy is all we have. It needs to be protected so that some day in the future it might actually be improved upon.
And so the President must be at least decent enough not to fucking erode the democracy if he can’t be brave or intrepid enough to do something innovative with it.
That said, black people will vote for whoever we feel we can trust with the democracy in 2020, whether that person is woke or black or a woman or not.
Before Obama, we had no choice but to elect white men, and we did it. On the other side of Obama’s administration, we have seen how the political blacklash that played out in the South after Reconstruction looks in contemporary terms, and we realize what else we have to do.
We are smart enough to accept that a white male is probably the best bet to defeat Trump – the President brought to DC by the Obama backlash.
Sure, Russia very probably helped Trump win with its bots and other propagandist bullshit, but we all know it was mainly on-the-fence white women and turncoat Obama voters that truly got him in Office.
So the Democrats have to win these voters back because even if they get all the willing black voters there are in the country, they still cannot cross the finish line without support from a critical mass of white voters as well.
(Whites are the majority in the country, outnumbering blacks by over 60%.)
So, no, now is not the time for Kamala or Cory or Elizabeth or Kirsten. It is not the time for Julian or Amy or Pete, even though it is bomb to have our country’s first openly gay candidate in the race.
Back in 2016, the lukewarm Trump voters ignored the obvious truth about his impropriety for office because they wanted a white man in office to reassert their cultural supremacy and reassure them white privilege was still operational and optimizable in the face of a vigorously growing Latinx population, ever-expanding economic globalization, and increasingly demanding protest movements spearheaded by black, LGBTQIA+, and women citizens.
Hence, the Dems need to give them that – they need to give them a vote-worthy white man – if they want to win in 2020.
They can’t afford to be cocky like last time. They can’t count on Trump’s horrendous political track record scaring people into voting Democrat again because if anything it will act as incentive to his supporters to win him another term in which he can possibly “make things right.”
The Trumpers aren’t voting with the superior moral compass they claim to possess. They aren’t voting in alignment with their so-called beliefs, political or otherwise. They are going on pure emotion and adrenaline. They are scared, and they want to feel safe. Again.
And Hillary didn’t make them feel safe. Hillary signified yet another departure from tradition, i.e. white male patriarchy. She was too closely linked with Obama in their imaginations to be one of them anymore. As a woman and Democrat, she made it easy for evangelicals, NRA-ers, and all the other so-called conservative guests at the Wonderland Tea Party that is the white American experience to project all of their fears – whether real or unfounded – about what progress – if truly allowed to happen – would do to them.
The Trumpers fear for their jobs and kids and cars and fucking cows apparently, or at least according to myriad speakers at this most recent CPAC. They fear for a safety that isn’t about guns or street violence, but rather about the prospect of having to survive in a world where things are simply less easy for them than they have been historically.
And they need a father figure to turn to. They need a Jason Seaver to replace the Archie Bunker that was able to squeak by in the Electoral College.
This is because they are the political toddlers of America. They have been coddled by white supremacy as it was written into and as it has been scaffolded by the Constitution and have never had to walk around without that supremacy velcroed to their figurative asses like a fat, cottony, cushiony diaper.
They voted for Trump because under Bush the Father, Clinton, then Bush the Son, they experienced some nasty tumbles and got their little unmarred bottoms bruised up a tiny bit.
So they were prepped for 2008.
They voted rather enthusiastically for the change Obama promised and symbolized, but then became terrified that because he was able to produce it so effectively, our political culture would never change back.
They thought Obama’s success – coming after so many monumental presidential flubs – would make it so that no more white men were elected to office or at least that none were elected for a long time, and they panicked.
If the balance of power shifted, they thought, they would end up trapped in the eternal social struggle that keeps racial minorities in America from getting ahead and finally staying there.
They chose Trump because frankly he seemed too crass and stupid to dupe them (like Bush or Clinton) – because his frat brat asininity made them feel akin to him – and they preferred him to the icy Ivy League rich bitch that talked way over their heads on one hand and deep underneath their clothes on the other.
And they will choose him again if they aren’t given a Democratic candidate to which they can also relate.
Because as distasteful as he may be, Trump has tapped into the ugly secret desires of his supporters, and he has fed those desires by keeping several of his wrongheaded campaign promises, stealing credit for Obama’s accomplishments, undermining the Democrats in such a way that they are continually under public suspicion, successfully scapegoating Latinx refugees and black Americans, and flat-out lying and breaking the law anytime he wants to cover for his inadequacy and ineptitude.
He cheated to get in office, he cheats to remain in office, and he will cheat again in 2020.
Therefore, the Democrats need a full-proof candidate that will get such a solid majority in the Electoral College that Trump cannot steal the election without it being glaringly apparent that is what he did.
And that candidate is not necessarily going to feel or even look good when viewed through the progressive gaze, unless it is Bernie. And that is just #facts.
Back when Obama got elected, the Democratic Party was in a position to do something revolutionary and run a black candidate. They did that, and it was awesome.
But Trump is not Bush. He is not just ineffectual. He is dangerous in a way that no other President has been with perhaps the exception of Andrew Johnson. Getting him out of office isn’t about aesthetics or preferences; it’s about rectification and preservation.
Because he is weakening American government as an institution. He is cheapening our ideals. He is pitting us against ourselves. He is closing our society up in backwardness, dereliction, and antagonism.
He is alienating our allies, and he is emboldening our enemies. He is making us crueler, stupider, and lesser every time he opens his mouth, and we listen as if he has something of worth to say.
In 2020, the Democratic Party doesn’t need to best him; we need to beat him. We are in crisis, and it is no time to be cute or fancy. We simply need Trump out and all his corruption, bigotry, and antics with him.
We need a candidate that can definitely do better than him, but before that, this person will have to win. This person will have to somehow touch some of the tenderest, reddest parts of the Heartland and get back voters.
This person will have to play well with the lukewarm segment of Trump’s base, which means this person can probably not be as drastic a departure from Trump as a black woman or Latinx man.
I would love to put my faith in the voters and say they will come out and support the “best man or woman” for the job, no matter who it is, but the bitterness of 2016 is still ripe in my mouth, and I cannot even imagine what America will be after eight years of Trump as President.
Trust: That is the only reason why I am saying any of this. The truth is ugly, and I hate it. Yet, here I am, still insisting on it.
Identity politics will not win the 2020 election for Democrats.
Strategy and pragmatism will.
Appealing to an America that clearly does not exist yet, at least in the case of campaigning against Trump, will just make it that much harder to live in the America that we do have, be it for better or for worse.