I’ve mentioned before that it’s difficult, if not impossible, for Republicans to win the votes of African-Americans through policy proposals. These voters are loyal to the Democratic party. In any case, the Dems invariably will outbid the GOP through more blatant race conscious policies than the ones Republicans propose.
Democrats too can find it difficult to bid for black votes — when they are running against each other. Take the case of Elizabeth Warren.
She is assembling a coalition that might well lead to her nomination for president. She is strong in both the female and the progressive lanes. She has been wowing left-liberal wonks with a stream of policy proposals and apparently is the favorite of college educated Dems. In addition, the Democratic establishment seems to like her — more than it likes Bernie Sanders, anyway.
To date, Warren has failed to make substantial inroads with black voters, though. Joe Biden is their choice. If Warren can snatch a significant slice of Biden’s support among blacks, she would very likely supplant him as the frontrunner.
To this end, Warren is diligently pandering to blacks. For example, she has declared our criminal justice system “racist” from top to bottom, and has lied about Michael Brown’s death, calling it “murder.”
Warren has also produced a policy paper on black farmers. No other Democratic candidate has done so.
But black farmers’ advocacy groups are not satisfied. They are calling on Warren to “correct factual errors” and to come up with a plan that “would provide black farmers at long last with some measure of justice.” Reparations (apart from any that might become available to blacks generally) are part of what they have in mind.
Warren’s main “factual error” apparently is her view that blacks are losing farms in significant part because when older black farmers retire, younger farmers are unable or unwilling to continue farming. Black farmer advocacy groups insist that the real problem isn’t generational turnover, but rather racist policies and outright discrimination.
It’s easy to believe that black farmers suffered from outright discrimination in the past. I’m certain they did. But what discriminatory acts are they experiencing now? Are racists burning their crops? Are purchasers boycotting their produce? I doubt it.
Are loan agencies discriminating against black farmers when it comes to lending money? If so, there are laws to deal with that. Indeed, black farmers sued the Department of Agriculture for such discrimination. They received a $1.2 billion settlement from the Obama Agricultural Department.
Speaking of the Obama Agriculture Department, black farmer advocates complain that Tom Vilsack, Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture, helped develop Warren’s plan. They blame Vilsack for not doing enough to stop dispossession of black farms during the Obama years.
I don’t know enough to comment on Vilsack’s record in this regard. However, it occurs to me that when Elizabeth Warren and Tom Vilsack are deemed insufficiently fair and generous towards black farmers, we’re dealing with a tough crowd.
It adds to my sense that nothing short of guaranteed equality of outcomes (in racial terms) will ever satisfy civil rights advocates. And if Warren goes back to the drawing board on how to help black farmers, as reportedly she may do, it will add to my sense that the Democratic left is prepared to promise the equality of many outcomes.