Race and politics

EDITOR, The Tribune.

The Republican Party red wave prominent conservative political analysts had forecast before the November 8 midterm elections did not happen. The Democratic Party and Catherine Cortez Masto have managed to stave off the Republican Party candidate Adam Laxalt in Nevada and John Fetterman of the Democratic Party defeated Dr Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. In Georgia, the Senate race between the Democratic incumbent Rev. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker is set for a December 6 run-off. Despite presiding over one of the worst economies in decades, President Joe Biden has inexplicably managed to retain his slim majority vote in the Senate, as Vice-President Kamala Harris serves as the tie-breaker in voting.

Amid the finger pointing within the GOP for the disappointing results, Reformed commentator Todd Friel offered several reasons for the Republican Party’s failure to gain the majority of seats in the Senate, such as the overturning of Roe v Wade, homosexuality; the socialist redistribution of wealth in the COVID-19 era and the perception among secular American voters that the GOP is aligned with the evangelical Christian faith. Friel’s overall point was that secular American voters view their right to terminate unborn babies and enter same-sex unions as far more important than the economy. Friel might be onto something.

However, I am beginning to think that the public endorsement of certain GOP candidates by former President Donald Trump played a massive factor in the outcome of the election. In a word, the Midterm Elections were America’s referendum on Trump. Another factor is the perception that the Republican Party is a racist organisation that panders to wealthy white oligarchs, notwithstanding prominent African American GOP members Dr Ben Carson, Candace Owens, Larry Elder, Condoleeza Rice and Herschel Walker.

Most African Americans support the Democratic Party. This reality was reinforced early this week when comedian Steve Harvey took aim at the GOP top brass for running Walker in Georgia. What I gathered from Harvey’s rant is that Walker is a token candidate fielded to counter Warnock’s campaign.

In the same state, World Changers Church International Pastor Creflo Dollar publicly endorsed Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, despite her well known support for LGBTQ and abortion rights. Why would Dollar, a prominent African American Christian leader, support a leftist? I think the answer lies in the fact that Dollar, like Harvey, views the Republican Party as subversive to their racial demographic.

Georgia is home to the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr Martin Luther King Jr co-pastored with his father. Ironically, despite the leadership of Ebenezer being fully entrenched in the Democratic Party, Dr King was a Republican. Indeed, the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Like the Republican Party, the Free National Movement faces a similar situation with the unfortunate stigma of being a party of white elitists, owing to its genesis in the early 1970s. Eight disgruntled black Progressive Liberal Party MPs resigned from the party to form the Free-PLP. Eventually becoming the Free National Movement, the leaders of this organization would forge ties with the top brass of the White United Bahamian Party.

Ever since this merger, the FNM has been perceived as a political organisation that panders to prominent white families in New Providence. In the five decades-plus of its existence, and I stand to be corrected, the FNM has never had a white leader. Brent Symonette served as deputy leader under former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.

The PLP, on the other hand, was founded by three white Bahamians. But this hasn’t stopped race baiters from spreading the narrative that powerful white financial backers are behind the scenes pulling the strings within the FNM. To these race baiters, the black leadership of the FNM serves in a figurehead role. These black race baiters seem to operate under the delusion that what they’re doing isn’t racism. It is. Without saying it, what they’re actually saying to black Bahamian voters is that they shouldn’t vote FNM due to the white oligarchs operating behind the scenes.

The FNM, by welcoming white UBP elements into its big tent, demonstrated to black and white Bahamians that it was a party of racial inclusion. FNM leader Michael Pintard must work to disabuse the idea that his party caters only to white elitists. The Republican Party has failed to accomplish this goal and continues to struggle in wooing black voters.


Freeport, Grand Bahama

November 17, 2022.


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