PATRICE ONWUKA, Newsweek
Election day is two weeks away, and the Left is freaking out about losses among minority voters such as Blacks, once a reliable base of support. The signs of the freakout are everywhere, but especially in the desperate, wacky, and downright insulting tactics they are currently employing to lure, nudge, and shame Blacks into voting for liberal candidates.
Let’s start with the insulting. MSNBC host Tiffany Cross slammed the Republican National Committee’s slate of “diverse” Republican congressional candidates, saying “faces of color do not always equate to voices of color.” She then tokenized minority Republicans, including those currently serving in Congress such as Senators Ted Cruz, Tim Scott, and Marco Rubio, and Representatives Byron Donalds, Mayra Flores, Nicole Malliotakis, Burgess Owens, and others, adding that they are “the political equivalent of ‘some of my best friends are Black.’”
Liberal elites often dismiss conservative minority candidates to avoid real debate. Hosts like Cross, elected officials, and political pundits don’t want minority voters to know that there are good reasons to consider non-liberal candidates, especially those of the same race. It undercuts the narrative that Democrats are the party of inclusivity. Increasingly, the criticism that Republicans don’t reach out to communities of color is proving as false as the belief that conservative values don’t resonate with minorities.
Now, to the desperate. The stakes are high in this midterm election. The Right enjoys enthusiasm from reliable Republican voters, but also interest from newly disaffected liberal voters who are angry about the draconian pandemic mandates that destroyed livelihoods, as well as the radical race and gender ideology infiltrating schools and inflation. And the Left is fighting apathy among minorities.
Depressed Black turnout could destroy Democrats’ path to victory in closely-contested gubernatorial and Senate races such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Although Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden won urban areas, President Trump did better in both cycles in cities like Philadelphia.
In 2020, support for the Democratic Party reached a new low, continuing a downward trend from President Obama’s 2008 election. In 2008, Obama received 95 percent of Black men’s vote, but that slid down to 87 percent four years later. Hillary Clinton picked up 82 percent of Black men’s vote in 2016, but Joe Biden only notched 80 percent of their vote. This bleeding of Black men’s support has liberal strategists worried, and candidates are desperate.
But Democratic candidates shouldn’t count on their appeal to save their campaigns. Obama will do few stops as he shifts away from politics and transforms from president to brand. President Biden isn’t on the shortlist—a good idea since, last time, he insulted Black people by telling them who to vote for to prove their Blackness. They clapped back.
Liberal candidates are increasingly forced to vie for minority votes on merit and policy—a novel idea. Stacey Abrams‘ outreach to Black men is one example. One commentator warned against blaming Black men if she loses, because they hold no obligation to support her. “We’re tired as hell of being talked down to,” Tim Black, a Washington commentator, said in September. “Here’s a radical idea: Instead of telling us who to vote for, give us some tangible reasons to vote for you.”
Finally, we’ve got the wacky. As the summer wound down, a spicy video “No Voting, No Vucking” was released targeting young Floridians.
The video was created by the dating app BLK, which is partnering with When We All Vote, Michelle Obama‘s initiative, to promote Black voices. The message is clear from the title: Black men who do not vote face a sex strike from Black women.
This idea is not without precedent. “Art” mimics life they say. Historical and modern examples exist of women threatening celibacy to bring bloody wars to an end, to nudge their men into battle, or for other ends. From the play Lysistrata by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes to modern day Liberia, Kenya, Colombia, and even Italy, women have used threats of sex strikes to curb war, political strife, gang violence, and fireworks.
The irony of a sex strike against Black men today is that the outcome may not favor the Left; Black men might just be aroused to vote for Republicans. Disillusioned Black voters, especially men, are tired of empty promises and being taken for granted.
The economy and inflation edge out voting rights and abortion as extremely important for Black voters, according to recent CNN polling. Candidates on both sides should present ideas for addressing these concerns, instead of assuming the Black vote is all locked up. For many, their critical vote is up for grabs, but insulting them and deploying wacky tactics born of desperation will be a miss.