The Rev. Al Sharpton and the Democrats

by THE BLACK COMMENTATOR

Forget about the smoke and fog spewed by corporate media and chattering consultants of all colors. Let us begin with a stark forecast: The Democratic Party primaries must result in a national ticket that is fit for Black participation. If the party cannot loosen the fatal grip of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)–the Republican wing of the party–it will die. Black voters and their allies will either purge the DLC from national influence this primary season, or leave the Democrats to spiral into deserved oblivion.

That is what the polling data actually foretell–not an incipient Black conservatism, but levels of frustration with the national Democratic Party so high among Blacks that one more betrayal will likely spark a massive exit, even if the destination is… nowhere, the negative alternative that has already been chosen by a huge chuck of younger African Americans.

First and foremost, Black participation hinges on denying the presidential nomination to the dreadful, racist Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT), the DLC’s champion. He will soon be recognized as wholly unacceptable to Black voters, who are the progressive mass base of the party, and to anti-war voters, a majority sentiment within the ranks at this time, nationwide.

Lieberman and the DLC spell electoral non-participation by Blacks. Therefore, he and his ilk are the enemies of all those who seek the broadest, most intense political involvement of African Americans in national life. There can be no compromise with people who poison the political well. Cohabitation with Rightists and racists means death to the Party.

Ninety percent of Black voters participate in national elections as Democrats. Therefore, the Democratic Party and its primaries are the field of national electoral expression for Black people as a whole. It is where the bulk of the people are–for now. In a fundamental sense, African Americans work out their political yearnings and programs through the mechanisms of the Democratic Party. If the political house is unwholesome, polluted with the unmistakable odors of white supremacy and Black sycophancy, African Americans recoil as one body.

To believe otherwise is to misread history–which is the norm in a society that prefers to operate on a succession of lies. No group turned more quickly and dramatically to the promise of Democratic liberalism than Black Americans. It is on the residual strength of the promise of inclusive, progressive Democratic politics that Blacks have remained solidly Democratic since completing the transition en masse and in the political blink of an eye four decades ago.

Black loyalty to Democratic Party structures has been misinterpreted as inertia–a racist conclusion that implies laziness of thought and action. This false reading of African American motives and intelligence has led whites in the Party–and some Black operatives–to miscalculate the cumulative effects of the savage compromises that have been foisted on Black Democrats since Jimmy Carter’s “New South” term in the White House. Assuming that Blacks will “stay” simply because they have nowhere else to “go,” national Democrats refuse to understand that Rev. Al Sharpton’s support derives from deep anger and heartfelt disappointment, not with Trent Lott and the White Man’s Party, but with them. Sharpton is dismissed as a mere showman, in effect relegating Black voters to the status of an Apollo Theater crowd on amateur night. The expectation appears to be that Sharpton and his supporters will make a lot of noise, attain emotional release, and return meekly to the fold.

The Democratic Party and its consultants grossly underestimate Black capacity for decisive action, ignoring the sea changes that have swept over the Black body politic in the past. More specifically, they underestimate Rev. Sharpton, who has no personal stake in the Democratic Party’s institutionalized structures of Black mollification and is the sworn foe of the Democratic Leadership Council.

When Sharpton tells Village Voice writer Thulani Davis, “Many people who are running, in my judgment, are to the right of Republicans,” he is speaking most directly about Sen. Joseph Lieberman and the DLC. When Sharpton declares that he is in a battle for “the soul of the Democratic Party” he means he is running against the existing structures that have brought the Party “to the right, not the center.” And when polls show that Sharpton will capture Black majorities in the primaries, that means masses of African Americans agree with his assessment of the Party and are as anxious as he is to disassemble its racist components. Huge numbers will follow Sharpton despite his perm, because they know that he “speaks truth to power,” an esteemed quality among African Americans, the most sophisticated electorate in America.

Al Sharpton will not tolerate the influence, much less nomination, of Lieberman, the standard bearer for all that is wrong with the Democratic Party. Sharpton will treat Lieberman as the Republican that he is, methodically “outing” the devious crypto-racist in terms that no amount of corporate media ridicule and distortion can obscure. It is at that point, in the heat of foreign conflict and domestic anxiety, that the Black public will approach a sea change in their perception of the Democratic Party.

The future of the Party will then be in the hands, not of Rev. Al Sharpton who does not seek to destroy it, but of the men and women who have disrespected Black voters for the better part of a lifetime. They can have a Party crippled by Lieberman’s DLC, or they can retain a Sharptonized Black electorate. But they can’t have both.

THE BLACK COMMENTATOR is one of CounterPunch’s favorite websites. We encourage all of you to bookmark the site and become regular visitors. The editors can be reached at: publisher@blackcommentator.com

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington