Monday, August 1, 2016

Black Votes Matter (to Democrats), the rest not so much

If Black Lives Matter, perhaps blacks should stop voting for Democrats in such high percentages.

Do Black Lives Really Matter to Democrats?

Black lives matter.  We hear it all the time from the Democratic Party, so much so that it even made the themes of the Black Lives Matter movement a key component of its official party platform:  
Democrats will fight to end institutional and systemic racism in our society. We will challenge and dismantle the structures that define lasting racial, economic, political, and social inequity. Democrats will promote racial justice through fair, just, and equitable governing of all public-serving institutions and in the formation of public policy. Democrats support removing the Confederate battle flag from public properties, recognizing that it is a symbol of our nation's racist past that has no place in our present or our future. We will push for a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter and that there is no place for racism in our country. 
But do black lives really matter to Democrats? And have Democrats really been fighting to end institutional and systemic racism in society?
Or have they merely used the Black Lives Matter movement to provide them with cover after decades of utterly failing the black lives that they have governed almost without interruption for more than a half century?
The Black Lives Matter movement arose in 2014 in response to what it perceived as a spike in extrajudicial killings of unarmed African-American men by police officers.
An analysis of police killings of black men from January of 2013 through June of 2016, though, shows that the cities in which the vast majority of these killings occurred were in cities that the Democratic Party has controlled for generations.
According to data compiled by the Mapping Police Violence research collaborative, there are 67 city police departments whose officers have killed two or more black men since the beginning of 2013.  Just seven of those departments are in cities with a Republican mayor.  
60 are in cities with Democratic mayors, and most of those have had Democratic mayors for decades—indicating that those cities have been dominated by Democratic common councils or other legislative bodies as well.
The Chicago Police Department has by far the most officers who have killed black men since 2013—a whopping 37.  Chicago has not had a Republican mayor since 1931.  Since the Democratic Party has so thoroughly dominated mayoral races for 85 years, it may be safely assumed that Democrats have also dominated Chicago’s common council for nearly the past century—especially since the current common council has just one Republican and 49 Democrats.
Chicago was also the location of one of the most notorious police shootings in the past three years: The killing of Laquan McDonald on October 20th, 2014.
Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago Police officer who shot McDonald, was charged with first degree murder and official misconduct...but not until dashboard camera footage of the incident was released to the public 13 months afterwards.
A whistleblower revealed almost immediately after the shooting that there was video of it, but the Chicago Police Department steadfastly refused to release that video.  
Why?  Just three months after the shooting, Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff to President Obama, stood for re-election in a contentious primary.
Emails showed that Emanuel’s closest aides knew about how serious and criminal in nature the McDonald shooting was, but Emanuel downplayed it and placated black leaders in the city so well that they campaigned for him over his rival in the general election, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Emanuel went on to win re-election in April of 2015 and, just days later, approved a $5 million settlement to the family of Laquan McDonald.  Still, the Police Department refused to release the video of the shooting until a court finally ordered it to that November.
Once the video was public, there were massive protests in Chicago that forced Emanuel to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and led to charges that Emanuel knew all along that the shooting of McDonald was a crime but didn’t want the video released because it would have cost him re-election.
Garcia certainly thought so, telling the Chicago Tribune that he would have won had the video been released before the election.
“That video would definitely have changed the political environment,” he said. “There's just some basic Chicago arithmetic in there. [Emanuel] wouldn't have received as much votes from the African-American community.  It isn't rocket science. It's arithmetic. And so yes, this tragic video would have had a profound impact.”
But it was kept hidden so it wouldn’t.
“And that’s the Chicago way,” Garcia said.
Of the 35 cities with the most killings of African-American men by police officers, just four have Republican mayors, and of the 31 that have Democratic mayors, just eight have had Republican mayors in the past 15 years.  This indicates that in the vast majority of cities that have seen the most police killings of black men, Democratic leaders control city councils and Democratic policies have been deeply entrenched for decades.
Houston, the city with the third-most police killings of African-Americans, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1982.  Baltimore, the city with the fourth-most, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1967.

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