The 2018 midterm election was called the most important election of the first quarter of the 21st century. Politicians tried to convince voters the nation was more divided than ever. The crux of this division was President Donald Trump’s personality and his rhetoric about immigration. (Right before the midterms an organized march of thousands of asylum seekers began a trek from Central America to the United States.)
But the electorate heard promises to unite the country before.
During the 2006 midterms the nation was divided over President George W. Bush’s war policies. The Democratic Party won the House of Representatives and the Senate in historic fashion. It was the first time the winning party didn’t lose a single incumbent, open seat in congress, or governor’s race, and Nancy Pelosi, D-California, became the first woman speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 2006 Democratic victory was a blue wave, and it never would have been attained without the Black vote. That same year I noticed all the talk about bringing Americans together obscured the disconnect between elected officials and their primary voting bloc.
In 2006 President George W. Bush addressed the NAACP’s annual convention. President Bush told the audience he understood that Blacks didn’t trust his party, but that history has prevented us from working together when we agree on great goals.
President Bush continued, “When we find schools that are not teaching and will not change, our parents should have a different option. You know, an amazing thing about our society today is wealthier White families have got the capacity to defeat mediocrity by moving. That is not the case for lower-income families. And so, therefore, I strongly believe in charter schools, and public school choice.”
At that time all polling data revealed the number one concern among low-income Black families and single mothers was failing schools, not war in the middle east. These Blacks overwhelmingly supported school choice, but the new blue wave of Democrats was adamantly opposed to that policy. So, the Democratic Party monopolized the low-income Black family/single mother vote without any intentions to represent their major concern.
Before the 2014 midterm elections a Gallup poll reported, a plurality of respondents said the most important problem facing the United States was immigration. The Rasmussen Report said, respondents rated immigration a bigger national security threat than Russia, and the Polling Group reported 86 percent of Blacks, 73 percent of Whites, and 71 percent of Hispanics think companies should raise wages and improve working conditions instead of increasing immigration.
The 2018 midterm election wasn’t a complete takeover of congress for the Democratic Party. The Democrats managed to regain control of the House of Representatives, but it was just as historic as 2006. CBS News reported, a record number of women will serve in the House of Representatives, with several making history due to their race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. These new faces are a part of the “resistance” to President Trump’s personality and his immigration policies.
And once again the Democratic Party was supported by an overwhelming majority of Black voters. But at the beginning of 2018 a Harvard-Harris poll revealed that African Americans are the racial group most opposed to immigration, because they believe immigration puts pressure on Black American families, who are more likely than White Americans to work in low-skilled occupations. Therefore, Blacks bear the brunt of immigrant labor competition.
This time the Democratic Party monopolized the Black low-skilled labor vote, and, once again, the party will not represent their primary concern.
(J. Pharaoh Doss is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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