If the job of the President is to help fix what’s wrong in America, wouldn’t you start where things are the worst? That would be Louisiana. We rank #50 in the nation. That’s right dead last, and we are the second blackest state in the U.S. with a population that is 34% Black. In the last year a few folks running for president have stopped in Louisiana. Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City; and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, and former Vice President Joe Biden have all made at least one stop in Louisiana. Some of these candidates have since dropped out, Sen. Harris when she was still in the race came to Louisiana the most. Each of the candidates will tell you that they are campaigning to win all of America. Each would say that they are seriously after the black vote and believe black voters are the heart and soul of the democratic party. My question is simple, black voters in which states?
I’m a 34 year old black male that has lived all of my life in the deep south. Most of my journey in Louisiana with 5 years in Florida. So I am a true southerner. I talk with a southern accent, and I’m proud of the place I call home. Over the years life has afforded me the opportunity to be deeply engaged in the political world in my community. A city that has in the last 5 years experienced the fatal police killings of Alton Sterling, Jordan Frazier, and Travis Stevenson at the hands of law enforcement. A city that is 54% black, yet government contract opportunities for blacks in my beloved Baton Rouge are a grand total of 4%. That data was tracked from 2013-2017 and shows the disparity. A city like Baton Rouge paints a clear picture of what it is like to be black in America. To feel like you’re here but who do you matter to? Certainly not democratic presidential candidates, because they rarely ever show up in the second blackest state in America. Mississippi and Louisiana are the blackest states in the country. If Washington D.C. was a state it would be the blackest at 50% black — but making D.C. a state and giving black people the ability to pick two U.S. Senators isn’t really how America likes to play its politics. The same way visiting states like Louisiana and Mississippi don’t win a ton of delegates so the black vote here isn’t the black vote the candidates seem to be after.
I know people who are involved in the campaigns of a few candidates and I’ve pressed the issue. I’m always told that yes we matter, and that we will work on getting them there. It just doesn’t happen. You know who does take Louisiana serious? Donald Trump takes Louisiana serious. While democrats focus all their energy on battle ground states and the delegate map. Trump visits the blackest states in America more than the democrats do. In the last 6 months Trump has been to Louisiana at least 5 times. He failed in his attempt to help republicans take back the governors mansion here, and he failed why? The black vote. In Louisiana black voters have the power to decide the destiny of the state if the resources are ever put here. You can’t win in states you won’t even compete in. You win by exposing how bad republican policies are for states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that are ranked last in the nation. and have republicans controlling our legislatures. Let me say last in the nation again, because maybe if you show the country how bad republican leadership is, you can motivate new voters instead of always chasing the middle.
I voted for Bernie Sanders in the last presidential election, and I’ve been slow to openly support him because I don’t feel he or any of the candidates take my state serious. Yes, I loath Donald Trump like most people, but I don’t think I should just give my vote to people who won’t even come to what is statistically the worst place to live in America. How can we truly believe that change will come to our communities from the next president if your motorcade has never touched our streets? If your surrogates don’t visit and your outreach in our market is almost non-existent, we should still cast our ballot for you? Trump won in part by making white voters who felt they didn’t matter feel important. Who is making black voters in the Deep South feel important?
When voters are left uninspired it’s often because there has been no human connection to the candidates. No moment where they feel like this person will build a team of people that will connect with my community to help us from a federal level. You don’t build a stronger America visiting the best places to live over and over. You build a stronger America when you truly discover America. You discover America by visiting places like Alsen Louisiana and learning about Ronaldson Field a land field that is the size of large office buildings polluting the people and where too many of the residents die of cancer. You discover America by talking to contractors in Baton Rouge that have been blocked out of opportunities in cities where they are the majority. You discover America by visiting the places that need the most help. Only when you discover the worst of America can you build a plan to really make America a better nation.
Yes, there are other places in America that paint a picture, but the data says we Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi are the last ranked in the nation. None of our states get the attention from the democratic candidates running for president we deserve. If you want to inspire radical change, you figure out how to inspire the people at the bottom. That is, if we are true to our statements that we must have a grassroots movement to change America. Some will say, this might help Trump. My response is simple, Trump’s argument is only valid if you don’t show up for us.
We shouldn’t have to hide the truth, because it doesn’t help a candidates campaign or the Democratic party. Your campaigns should make the change that shows black voters in the real deep south that we matter just as much as black voters in battle ground states. Trump is a racist bigot, and the vast majority of black voters will vote against him. The question becomes how do you inspire the Black voter in Eden Park, Zion City, or Glen Oaks to show up to vote. The answer is simple, show up for them.