- The Washington Times - Monday, March 4, 2019


Self-declared socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders just kicked off his presidential campaign in Chicago with a rousing singing of the national anthem by a black singer, followed by rousing speeches from various notables from the black community, followed by a rousing reading of a list of young black men killed in police shootings in recent times.

Hmm, wonder where Sanders is going with this. Overcompensate much?

As Basil Smikle, former executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, noted in NBC News: “Bernie’s always stumbled on issues of race and his use of class as a catch-all gives the impression that he’s either unable or unwilling to address the specific concerns of African-Americans or he’s trying to avoid what he feels is identity politics.”

So apparently, he’s decided to run full-steam in the opposite direction, straight toward the race cards, headlong into cheap and easy special interest politicking.

But he’s not the only Democrat struggling to win the hearts and minds — and votes — of the black community.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have promised to make reparations a signature platform of their presidential runs. So has Rep. Julian Castro, former House and Urban Development secretary. Sen. Cory Booker has proposed taxpayer hand-outs to children — baby bonds — so they can use that money for college or housing costs when they reach adulthood.

“So-called baby bonds are a policy aimed at addressing the lack of generational wealth that makes it harder for African-American children to succeed,” CNN wrote.

Call it what you want, but the fact is a policy that benefits one race at the expense of all the races — that uses tax dollars of all Americans for the special and specific purposes of one race — is called identity politicking. It’s divisive, no matter how you package it.

And of late, with the Democrats, it’s coming straight out of panic and desperation.

It’s coming from the realization that blacks, traditionally the Democrats’ go-to, have been waking up to the pros of President Donald Trump.

“The black unemployment rate has fallen by a full percentage point in the last year, black labor force participation is up and the number of black Americans with a job has risen by 600,000 from last year,” wrote Stephen Moore with the Heritage Foundation in a commentary for the Chicago Tribune in August of 2017.

Then this, from CNBC, a year later, in June of 2018: “Black unemployment falls to the lowest level since 1972.”

Then this, from USA Today, reporting on CPAC 2019: “Van Jones praises conservatives for criminal justice reform” — praise which then yielded him the nickname of “sell-out” by his angry and outraged Democratic contemporaries.

The takeaway?

Trump has been good for the black community. Republicans have been gaining inroads in the black community. And Democrats are not only noticing — they’re biting their nails in fright.

They’re reeling to find ways to win quick votes from their waffling black base. Voila; here come the reparations.

Voila; here comes the overcompensating.

But giveaways and cheap calls for cushy tax dole-outs are messages to blacks that better belong to in the 1620s, in the 1820s, in the days of post-slavery, race riots, racial tensions and abject, open discrimination.

This is the 2020 presidential race, a time of equality. Democrats, take a memo. Blacks nowadays can get their own jobs; they’re quite capable of supporting their own families, quite intelligent enough to save their own money for college or housing needs, quite skilled and talented enough to compete and excel, same as all the other races, on the national and global scale, without relying on Big Government giveaways and handouts.

Democrats should stop treating blacks as if the only way they can succeed in life is with special government assistance — as if they’re inferior. They should take a page from the Trump playbook, the Republican political guide, and realize the free market, not free stuff, is the way to go.

It is, after all, the 21st century. Time to leave the decades-old mentalities behind.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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