The first African-American candidate nominated by a political party to run for President of the United States, George Edwin Taylor, had been both a republican and democrat. Taylor belonged to a group whose motto was “Race first; then party.” As a group of people, African-Americans politically have become too predictable and are therefore taken for granted.
The three major black democratic candidates for mayor of St. Louis received more than 64% of the total votes cast. Our next mayor easily could have been black. The three black candidates that split the black vote knew that black voters are so predictable that they would not lose their support, even if they collectively cost the black community the mayor's office.
There is still one a black candidate in the mayor's race. Andrew Jones won the republican primary and will be on the ballot in April. Jones wants to debate Krewson and I want to see that debate. Before this election, I was not familiar with Krewson. Krewson only received 5% of the black vote during the primary election.The fact that she is endorsed by both Slay and the St. Louis Police Union, previously headed by Jeff Roorda, does not make me very comfortable.
Jeffrey Roorda was a Democratic member of the Missouri House of Representatives and has worked in law enforcement for seventeen years. He was a police officer in Arnold, Missouri until 2001, when he was fired for making false statements and filing false reports. Later, he became chief of police in Kimmswick, MO. He was the executive director and a business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association and is currently a city police union representative.
In St. Louis, some democrats are closet republicans. Republicans understand it's almost impossible for a republican candidate to win, so many republicans disguise themselves as a democrat to win. The democrats at one time were known as the party of the Ku Klux Klan who were described as the military arm of the Democratic Party and are attributed with helping white Democrats regain control of state legislatures throughout the South after the Civil War.
Malcolm X in his "Ballot or the Bullet" speech, explained how dangerous it was for Black folks to throw all their support behind a single political party.
Blacks and the Republican Party
Blacks were overwhelmingly republicans until Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency during the Great Depression. Ironically, FDR's new deal legislation excluded most blacks from benefits, because of a deal made with Southern Democrats. As late as 1960 a third of all African-Americans were still republican.
The Republican party began as an anti-slavery party opposed to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which opened Kansas and Nebraska Territory to slavery and future admission as slave states, thus implicitly repealing the prohibition on slavery in territory north of 36° 30′ latitude, which had been part of the Missouri Compromise.
Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican President and Southern states began seceding from the union resulting in the Civil War. Since President Lincoln was credited with freeing the slaves and democrats were associated with slavery, Blacks naturally supported the Republican Party.
George Wallace Effect
In 1952, George Wallace became the Circuit Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit in Alabama. Wallace became known as "the fighting little judge," a nod to his past boxing association. He gained a reputation for fairness regardless of the race of the plaintiff. It was common practice at the time for judges in the area to refer to black lawyers by their first names, while their white colleagues were addressed formally as "Mister". A Black lawyer, J. L. Chestnut said that,
"Judge George Wallace was the most liberal judge that I had ever practiced law in front of. He was the first judge in Alabama to call me 'Mister' in a courtroom."
In 1958, George Wallace ran against John Patterson in his first gubernatorial race. In that Alabama election, Wallace refused to make race an issue, and he declined the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. This move won Wallace the support of the NAACP. Patterson, on the other hand, embraced Klan support, and he trounced Wallace.
Wallace reportedly said after the campaign,
"I was out-niggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be out-niggered again." … "I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor."
In 1962 Wallace, having realized the power of race as a political tool, ran for governor again—this time as a proponent of segregation. He won by a landslide.
Civil rights protest made many white voters unsympathetic to the movement. After Republicans notice how popular democratic Governor George Wallace's racist rants were all over the country, including the North, some republicans began incorporating those same racist elements into their campaign.
Racist white democrats unhappy with Kennedy, switched to the republican party. Because of Kennedy's perceived support of black issues and Johnson pushing through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Black voters became almost exclusively democrat.
In 1968, when George Wallace maintained that there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, he may not have known how right he was or why.
The republicans, using the democratic play book, started injecting racist code words rather than overt racist words into their campaigns. John Ehrlichman, President Richard Nixon's domestic policy advisor, made the following statements about the 1968 presidential election,
"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies, the anti-war left and black people."…"We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news."
Ronald Reagan during his campaign told stories of Cadillac-driving "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks" buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. George Bush used the infamous Willie Horton ads during his campaign and of course most recently Donald Trump reverted back to overt racist language to win. See the book, "Dog Whistle Politics" for additional information racism used to win elections.
Republicans control all the major Missouri state-level elected offices and the legislature is Republican controlled. A Black Republican mayor under these conditions stands a better chance of working with and getting concessions from the Republican-dominated state government. The republican legislature and governor might even pay closer attention to issues concerning black voters since they would want them to continue voting for other republican candidates.
Use common sense, if you know a particular group of voters will never vote for you, how seriously would you look out for their interests? The opposite is also true. When you know you have the black vote regardless, politicians can make deals without worrying much about the issues affecting the black community. Electing a republican mayor would send a chilling message to democrats that the black vote should no longer be taken for granted.
I am 51 years old and have voted for democrats all of my life. Things have actually gotten worse, it's time to consider a change. In my 51 years, a white person has sat in the Mayor's office except for eight years when Freeman Bosley Jr. and then Clarence Harmon were mayor. I saw changes and real attempts at change in North St. Louis when a Black mayor was in office.
A black mayor is more likely to have friends and relatives in North St. Louis and may care a little more about the issues that affect the black community. However, I don't want to vote for Andrew Jones simply because he's black any more than I want to vote for Krewson just because she's democrat. I want to see a debate and a real discussion about the issues.
"It's not a matter of just having a representative … that looks like you, they've got to come from the community, know the issues of the community, and then it's folks in the community that got to remind them every day that we pay your bills and where watching every single day to ensure that the platform on which we elected you on is followed and defend you when those people who seek to calibrate the system and right the system as it's been built seek to come after your for that office"
Had one of the three major black democratic candidates gotten elected, I would have been voting for a democrat this election. I am extremely disappointed with their lack of unity and vision. Those candidates were divided and conquered. Unfortunately, they couldn't unite and work together so that the black community could support and elect a black democratic candidate in the general election. If they can't work among themselves, how would they ever be able to work with a republican controlled governor and legislature?
Amazingly, St. Louis media including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis television stations and even the St. Louis American, a Black St. Louis' Newspaper, appear to ignore the fact that a black man is the republican candidate for mayor. Bruce Franks received more press coverage about being a write-in candidate than Andrew Jones received as an actual major party candidate. It's almost as if the press in St. Louis doesn't want to alert the black community that a black republican is in the race for mayor. Andy Karandzieff of Crown Candy received more press coverage for being a republican primary candidate than Jones has received as the republican candidate for mayor.
St. Louis, which has been dominated by democrats all of my life, has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. The entire North Side was abandoned and left to decay and St. Louis City a reputation for being one of the most racist and segregated cities in the country. How much worse off could St. Louis be under a Republican mayor?
Krewson should at least debate Jones so we can better decide if the white democratic candidate or the Black Republican candidate is the better choice. If Krewson refuses to debate Jones, take that into consideration when you vote.