Whether Iowa Is First or Last Makes No Difference To Black Voters

Black voters are too busy looking at their immediate household needs and local political economy to bother

Alton Drew | Guest Contributor | @altondrew

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Aimee Allison, founder and president of the advocacy group She The People, wrote an interesting piece for The Hill.com where she asserts that the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary have an unsubstantiated influence on the Democratic Party’s choice for a nominee. Ms Allison states the following:

The Democratic Party’s decision to allow Iowa and New Hampshire to dominate the nominating process for president is hurting the party’s ability to win. Women and candidates of color have been harmed by the myth of ‘electability’ and whiteness of early states deemed vitality important to attracting donors, endorsements and volunteers to win.

Ms. Allison goes on to argue that instead of focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, the state of Nevada should be setting the tone for the selection of a Democratic candidate to beat President Donald Trump. Ms Allison states that:

For that reason, Nevada should be top of mind right now for everyone from pundits to donors to voters who want to know who can gain the momentum needed to take the White House. Women of color are a fundamental pillar of the national party’s base, a quarter of all Democrats nationwide, and a similar 26 percent of the Democratic electorate in Nevada. The state was pivotal in the 2008 and 2016 presidential primaries, but it should have even more sway as such a clear mirror of Democratic demographics nationwide.

The problem I have with the analysis is that Ms Allison assumes that Black voters will tag along with the “people of color” posse in Nevada because of the state’s more diverse make up when compared to the Whiter states of Iowa and New Hampshire.  The “people of color” label severely dilutes the historical concerns of Blacks given that the other major groups within the people of color spectrum, Asians and Latinos, do not share the same Black experience with racial discrimination. Rather, blacks may view these groups as current and definitely future competitors for capital, employment, and credit access especially as the Asian and Latino populations increase.

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In addition, to make Nevada’s “people of color” choice have a greater impact on Black voting, “people of color” in Nevada will have to communicate to Blacks in other states the reasons for following their lead.  I think that the “people of color” reasoning will fall on deaf ears, particularly in the states of Georgia and Maryland.  Blacks in Nevada make up approximately 8.93 percent of that state’s population. When you throw in other races and ethnic groups, the total “people of color” population in Nevada amounts to approximately 28.99 percent.

Blacks in Georgia make up approximately 31.6 percent of the Peach State’s population while Blacks in Maryland make up approximately 29.78 percent of the Free State’s population. I don’t see black Georgians living in Albany, Atlanta, or Columbus, where their economies are driven by agriculture, fintech, and logistics, or Blacks in Annapolis, Baltimore, or Prince George’s County, where their economies are driven by federal government employment, finance, and international trade, being influenced by a smaller black or “people of color” population living in Nevada, a state driven by tourism that imports just about all of its food or other resources.

Bottom line, Blacks will look at their immediate household needs and local political economy environment when determining which candidate for president will provide the political packages that brings them any relief.  They will not follow the lead of Nevada based on its supposed diversity.