Study: Black Lawmakers in South Losing Influence

This seems to be a bit of affirming what we likely expected (most African American legislators are Democrats, Democrats are dying off in the South, ipso facto…) but still interesting.

An overwhelming allegiance to the Democratic Party has left black lawmakers in the South without power in Republican-controlled state legislatures, according to a new report.

The nonpartisan Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies said in a report issued Friday that despite Barack Obama’s election as president, black voters and elected officials in the South have less influence now than at any other time since the civil rights era.

“Since conservative whites control all the power in the region, they are enacting legislation both neglectful of the needs of African-Americans and other communities of color,” the senior research associate, David A. Bositis, wrote in a paper titled “Resegregation in Southern Politics?” The center, based in Washington, conducts research and policy analysis, particularly on issues that affect blacks and other minorities.

Apparently Democratic caucuses in the GA, AL, and MS legislatures are majority black.


  1. Andre says:

    This is the apparent cost of blacks investing all their political capital in a single party.

    It is an unfortunate reality, but also serves as a stark wake-up call to black voters. Diversify your political portfolio or risk losing political clout.

    • rense says:

      You know as well as I do that blacks don’t take such notions as “political clout” in mind when blacks vote. Deal with the facts: blacks are conditioned from an early age by the media, (public) schools and their “leaders” to 1) see America as racist and 2) see voting Democrat as the best way of dealing with 1). All you have to do is listen to WAOK (the black talk station in Atlanta): for them voting is about activism and bringing about social change (which is often either vague and ill-defined stuff like “social and economic justice” or “pie-in-the-sky” unattainable stuff like ending poverty, or simply “challenging the system” which means being confrontational with white leaders and the institutions that they run i.e. corporations), not about electing the best, most qualified leaders to address specific problems and generally provide good governance. In other words, blacks voting Democrat is a very similar psychology to evangelicals who vote Republican … not because of any specific, attainable results (as the religious right should have seen the duplicity of the GOP the instant that Ronald Reagan put Sandra Day O’Connor on the bench) but because they convince themselves – against all available evidence – that it is simply the good, moral and right thin to do.

      • KD_fiscal conservative says:

        I think rense has a point here. While her(his?) rants are usually pretty bizarre, I think this politically incorrect one is right on point. Just like every good evangelical knows to vote Repub., every good Black person knows to vote Dem. It’s just the way it is, and since the two parties are smart enough to throw their bases a bone every now and then, I don’t think its going to change anytime soon.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          Yeah, someone had to say it.

          That’s part of the problem with our system. Some 300+ million very diverse people in this nation, and we expect that they will continue to fit neatly into two parties.

          We need about ten mainstream political parties. I’d settle for five, for starters. You know, something that resembles this ‘representative democracy’ which we thump our chests and say we’ve got here in the U.S., but really, we don’t.

      • Rick Day says:

        There is a high percentage of evangelical black voters out there, therefore your argument is not so black and white *g*.

        The crux of your position is Black voters should save white babbys from the abortionist’s knife, than vote for their own personal self interest?

        Can you give one example of GOP led legislation that has specifically addressed the generations of religious, drug law targeting, fund starving education and work hiring bias that has led to a reversal of the trending that produces the majority of blacks who are now under-educated and under-employed who make under $30k?

        Hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when a system dominated by white males for 250 years has its collective boot on their collective necks.

        Oh. Yeah. That pesky history thing.

        Here is the problem: There is no room in the Big White Tent for blackfolk, unless they are pouring the sweet tea. Already the ‘minorities’ are realizing who the class bully REALLY is, and the GOP is going to fall. Maybe fall here last because the hate is strong here. But it will fall.

        The pendulum; it always swings.

  2. Max Power says:

    More than 40% of Georgians are minorities. At this rate the GOP better have some good gerrymandering tricks if they want to stay in charge.

  3. rense says:

    And this is just the way that the black leadership wanted it. Driving off whites was part and parcel of the strategy of maximizing their own political power. I still remember the battles that Jesse Jackson had with Al Gore and Bill Clinton back in the day when the latter two were trying their best to hold onto white Democratic voters and politicians, and the Jackson crowd argued that they could win without them, and would be better off if they did so. (To be fair, it wasn’t solely the position of the civil rights movement … the feminists, gay rights groups, environmentalists, labor, and economic progressives had the same.) The civil rights groups got precisely what they wanted, and shouldn’t go crying about it now.

    I still remember the 2004 election. Though it was a total bloodbath for the Democratic Party at large, the Congressional Black Caucus was all smiles because it was a record year FOR THEM. Plus, if anything, not being in power absolves these folks from the responsibility of governing (see Detroit for an example).

  4. SallyForth says:

    They gravitated to the Party that did the most to help them when they had no clout at all – that’s basic human nature. As President Lyndon Johnson said when he signed the Civil Rights Act, with that signature he lost the South for the Democratic Party for decades to come.

    All we’re seeing is the culmination of that. You have to respect blacks who have remained loyal to the Party that helped them develop any perceived clout, while whites jumped ship and ran to the Republican Party. As documented on a CNN special last night, Republican-controlled gerrymandering has now ghettoized the black vote in the South. Not only in those state legislatures, but all Democrats are the minority in Southern congressional delegations and are now all black, excepting for one lone white Democrat in Georgia.

    • rense says:

      I wish folks would quit saying that. After Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, southern whites continued to vote for the Democratic Party overwhelmingly in national elections until 1980. Southern whites also continued to vote for the Democratic Party overwhelmingly in local elections until 1994. The GOP didn’t fully take control of Florida until 1998, didn’t do so in Georgia until 2002, and only did so in Alabama because of party switchers like Shelby.

      The Democratic Party didn’t help blacks develop clout. All they do is use blacks to advance their own agenda. If you disagree with the agenda of the whites who run the Democratic Party to any serious degree, you won’t advance. Were Barack Obama a moderate like Zell Miller or Bob Graham, it is debatable whether he would have ever even gotten elected to Illinois state senate. So yeah, only advancing blacks whose ideas agree with whites like Karl Marx (a racist), Margaret Sanger (a racist), Charles Darwin (a racist), John Keynes (a racist) etc. is empowering them. That’s hilarious.

      And we all know that it was black leaders who worked with Republicans to gerrymander districts in order to maximize the number of black elected officials. Please, quit denying history.

      • KD_fiscal conservative says:

        “So yeah, only advancing blacks whose ideas agree with whites like Karl Marx (a racist), Margaret Sanger (a racist), Charles Darwin (a racist), John Keynes (a racist) etc. is empowering them”

        There it is, that’s more like it. Bizarre and senseless, but I guess somewhat entertaining.

        • rense says:

          Don’t you find it strange that the “black agenda” as articulated by the black leadership was conceived entirely by whites who didn’t even have the needs of the black community on their minds when they formulated them? So, a black person is “an Uncle Tom” and a “sellout” for picking one political/economic/social philosophy created by whites (left-liberalism/progressivism) over another (conservatism/libertarianism). The funny thing is that the folks who do the best job of pointing out this ironic state of affairs is the Nation of Islam. You’d expect the NAACP to figure this out. But then again, when you consider that the NAACP was founded by a member of the American Communist Party who spent decades being an apologist for the crimes against humanity of Stalin, Lenin and Mao Tse-Tung, I guess it isn’t THAT surprising.

          Parrot Margaret Sanger (who once wrote “we want to exterminate the Negro
          population”) and you’re a pro-black. Parrot Booker T. Washington and you’re a sellout. Bizarre and senseless indeed …

        • rense says:

          A great Margaret Sanger quote:

          “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
          — Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America . New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

          You can either A) deny the veracity of this well sourced quote or B) claim that my choosing to bring it up is bizarre and senseless. The funny thing is that Jesse Jackson himself USED to talk about racism in the pro-choice movement all the time … until he saw that he had no chance of advancing in the Democratic Party hierarchy without altering his position. At that point, he became exactly the sort of black leader (a minister with a social service background) that Sanger wanted. Funny, isn’t it?

      • SallyForth says:

        Yep, you are right about black leaders working with Republicans to gerrymander districts. From 1965 forward, the 1970 census and every ten years thereafter had a Republican administration in DC, and hence a Republican DOJ that rearranged GA however they wished in pre-clearance. Black leaders in GA worked with the Repubs in DC every ten years to pack the districts for our Legislature and Congressional seats. The losers were white Democrats, who are now totally irrelevant – and ultimately the black leaders shot themselves in the foot by rendering themselves a permanent minority of the legislative process at both levels.

        This is the fifth reapportionment since 1965, and the first with a Democrat in the White House. It will be interesting to see whether the Obama Justice Department will do anything to help white Dems this year.

      • CobbGOPer says:

        And let’s not forget: we didn’t elect a Republican governor or a Republican legislature in this state until 2002.

      • Rick Day says:

        Cool history lesson.

        Except you left out a chapter.

        1980 is when the majority of the racist Dixiecrats all starting switching from D to R. They saw the rise of Blacks in power and just could not stand to work with a Negro™

        And that was the end of the Party of Lincoln.

        • SallyForth says:

          Rick, nada on the 1980. Georgia may have been all over the place in presidential elections, but folks were still voting overwhelmingly for Democrats in the US Senate and Congress, plus statewide offices and the General Assembly. E.g., in 1992 the Senate was 45 Democrats, 11 Republicans; the House was 145 Democrats, 34 Republicans.

          It all changed in the 2002 elections, after which people started flipping from D to R. Come January 2003, the Senate was 26 Democrats, 30 Republicans (the first time in 234 years they got a majority); the House was still 107 Democrats, 72 Republicans. Interestingly, this all came about on the very first (drum roll) Diebold laptop voting, unaccountable no-paper-trail elections – owned and operated by a fat-cat Ohio Republican who promised GOPers the win in a fund-raising letter.

          Gawd! We can’t make this stuff up. Repubs had best remember that any voting system that can be manipulated by out-of-power Repubs to gain political power can also be manipulated by the other guys too….

  5. Dave says:

    “Since conservative whites control all the power in the region, they are enacting legislation both neglectful of the needs of African-Americans and other communities of color,”

    What might these neglected needs be? What are “black” needs as opposed to “white” needs?

    • Andre says:

      Frankly, there are no “black” needs. There certainly aren’t any white needs.

      Needs are needs.

      I’m black, and I need good government and low taxes. How is that any different from what white folks need?

    • Rick Day says:

      An equal playing field? The same opportunity as anyone else? Access to quality public education without have to pay for charters and private schools? To not be profiled by law enforcement?

      Please do not try to argue that whites and blacks have any of these elements ‘equally’ or I’ll be forced to hunt you down and take you to Gladys Knight’s for a wing n waffle. And make you pay.

      I’ll handle the tip.

  6. cheapseats says:

    Just a reminder – those of us who no longer wish to be affiliated with the Democrats don’t really like the Republicans either. Votes lost by the Dems do not necessarily translate into gains for the Republicans. Some of us think both parties are equally useless and don’t see a nickels worth of difference between them.

    I ain’t got the time, energy, or interest to develop a viable 3rd party so, I’ll just keep voting for anybody who seems to understand the issues and doesn’t play “bumper-sticker” politics or just stay home.

    • SallyForth says:

      Cheapseats, keep voting for the best candidate regardless of Party – but don’t just stay home! When you do that, you make your own self irrelevant. Too many people have fought and died in wars to keep us free, not least of which is freedom of the ballot box. It’s our civic duty.

  7. Rick Day says:

    Well golly gee, imagine that? Who would have thunk?

    But hasn’t this been The Great Southern Strategy™ since the 1964 Civil Rights legislation?

    You guys seem surprised. Or [secretly] pleased.

  8. Jane says:

    Not all minorities are Democrats; Cubans, Vietnames, and Koreans are more Republican than Democrat. Older Hispanics from South America or those born in the USA are more Republican than Democrat. The GOP will have to diversify, but it will maintain power. Plus once Blacks see that the only Black politicans with real power, like Melvin Everson, are Republicans, they will start switching parties.

    • SallyForth says:

      Interesting – under your predictions, the Dem Party will be left with white people, and thus become the new Repub Party.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      I don’t know if some people will ever let the South leave it’s racist roots. I mean, we keep getting these constant reminders, like some people’s clocks got stuck in 1960.

      So, once a racist region, always a racist region? Can the South ever win with you folks? Let’s cut to the chase:

      What exactly, pray tell, would it take for the liberals to NOT view the South as racist? I would like to know because I’m wondering if it is a problem we are actually interested in solving or if it is just something we keep saying to drive minority groups towards voting democrat.

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