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The Politics of racial in-fighting during political campaigns


As some of us remember well from public school days, some of our chums seemed to like to stir things and people up, so they’d regularly start any trouble they could between males and females in the schools. The same for gangs of boys. Ditto for Eastside-Westside factions, or Northside-Southside, Inglewood-Crenshaw. And on and on. Nobody but the instigators seemed to get any enjoyment out of people constantly at odds, usually over not much of anything.

Instigation for the heck of it simply turned some people on, although the heat of it occasionally led to some youth’s death or physical trauma.

Apparently, some current political instigators have decided to carry on the tradition, even at the risk of lying to people and releasing the demons of ire and instability.

During the last presidential election, much was made and reported on the fact that Kanye West (now called Ye for some reason) was a devotee of Donald Trump and the MAGA crowd. Mr. West was even recruited by the Republicans to run for POTUS in several jurisdictions where there were substantial numbers of Black voters, in a blatantly disrespectful attempt to peel off a large number of Black voters from the Democrats.

Kanye tried being an effective instigator, but failed at it. At last report he barely got a little over 61,000 votes, and 84 electoral clicks combined from the 12 states which allowed him on the ballot (including,  Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont.)

A number of pundits, however, used the Kanye example, and seemingly similar political comments from Ice Cube and Snoop Dog, to push the idea that Black voters were abandoning the Biden-Harris ticket in order to raise the percentage of Black voters for Trump.

However, when it was all said and done, the political instigation did not work. The percentage of Black male support for Trump did not increase beyond its previous 2016 level, and amazingly decreased overall for Black voters.

But political instigators are nothing if not persistent. An in-fight one can’t start one day just multiplies the percentages for future conflict, instigators often think. So now the push is to divide Black men voters and Black women. What we hear from the political instigators now is that most Black men are not interested in voting for Black female candidates and will readily support a macho White male candidate instead.

Such has been some of the most striking reporting concerning the recent Los Angeles mayoral race. Some of the most biting commentary has stated that L.A.’s Black male voting population abandoned Karen Bass in favor of Rick Caruso. Sure, Snoop dropped a few public comments along that line and so, reportedly, did Ice Cube. That, however, did not represent the Black male voter in Los Angeles. And any political commentator who said that it did accurately represent the Black male voter in L.A. should have his/her credentials re-examined.

The fact is, the Black voting population in Los Angeles, usually a dependable concentration when there are important issues or candidates, did not show up and show out in the last mayoral contest at the level to which it is capable. That means two main things: the messages from the best candidates to the Black community were not well delivered this time around, and there is still a major opportunity to correct that for the November run-off election.

We urge great candidate Karen Bass not to squander this opportunity on the false notion that the L.A. Black male population does not support her. Instead, she needs to demonstrate more strongly how her negotiation-style of leadership is a much better fit for what L.A. needs now than the macho, great Caesar-style offered by the other leading candidate.

The Bass candidacy can and should win this fall’s showdown, but that campaign better get popping, and now!!!  Excise the false rumors and emphasize what Bass has done and does best.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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