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Should Blacks in Florida be Democrats, Independents, or Republicans?

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

Should Blacks in Florida be Democrats, Independents, or Republicans?

By Roger Caldwell

It is now 2015 in Florida and the Republicans control both Houses in the Legislature, and the governor’s mansion. Decisions are planned and executed by the party in power, and the majority of Blacks are on the wrong side of the fence. If Florida Blacks start from the premise that both parties are controlled by white supremacy, we can only win in measured battles.

Governor Scott has just received a leadership award from Bethune-Cookman, and many of the students, faculty, and alumni argued that the governor’s record with Blacks was deplorable, and did not justify the honor. But, Joe Petrock, chairman of the school’s board of trustees, said their choice was “based on his ability to deliver precious resources to the university.” This is a pragmatic approach to politics in 2015, and now the school has an obligation to hold Scott’s feet to the fire.

In 2015, 95 percent of Blacks in Florida are Democrats, and the Democratic leadership is not being held accountable to Blacks demands. To start with Blacks in Florida don’t have an agreed statewide Black Agenda, which has been delivered to the Democratic leadership. On the Republican side, there is also no statewide Black Agenda; therefore Blacks on both sides of the aisle are not really engaged in the political process. Without a Black Agenda there is no plan, and both parties are not obligated to give our community any resources or funding.

The political process is about delivering votes, and in Florida there are 1.5 million registered Black voters. The majority of registered Black voters are Democrats, and they represent a powerful force, if they vote as a block. All over Florida, Black political organizations should be registering new voters, with a focus on young voters.

In order to receive tangible measured results and resources, Blacks in the 2016 voting cycle must vote in record numbers again. Voting is not a scam as some of our young leaders are saying, because voting is one form of power. When Democrats show up at the polls, we win.

But, that does not mean there is something wrong, if young or older Blacks vote as Republicans. The reason for voting is to receive resources and funding, and Blacks must make their power felt in the primaries with both parties. In Florida, the laws are set up, so that independents cannot vote in primaries, so it is important for Blacks to join one of the parties.

In the 2016 voting cycle, it is critical that Blacks are registered, and vote in the primaries. If Blacks expect economic and political power from voting, it is time for Black leaders to sit down behind closed doors, and work together as a united front. This is not new, because during the civil rights and Black power era, as a group we were more organized with a Black Agenda.

Blacks in the state of Florida have always been leaders in political ideas and organizations in the country. In 2016, we have the capacity to take over leadership positions in the Florida Democratic Party, if we attend the meetings and form coalitions. During this election cycle, the Florida Democratic Party is the best political party and vehicle, for Blacks in Florida to get more comprehensive resources, funding, and benefits.

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