Corey Brooks, a black Pastor from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, has received death threats which he says are connected to his public endorsement of Republican Bruce Rauner for Governor in the forthcoming US mid-term elections.
His church has been vandalised and $8000 stolen from a collection box – money that was supposed to be used to fund a community centre – and as a result of the threats to his life, he has moved his family to a safe house.
Pastor Corey previously voted Democrat and on Twitter he set out some of his reasons for growing disillusioned with the party: Illinois is the worst state to raise a black child; 92 per cent of young black teens in Chicago are unemployed, 83 per cent nationally; voting for the same political party has failed to yield any real tangible results as industries are closing, jobs are not being created and there is a lack of opportunity.
He also posted a tweet asking if anyone could tell him of another race of people besides African-Americans who only vote one way all the time and expect different results – I wanted to tweet back and say that black Britons overwhelmingly back Labour and have very little to show for their support for the party but I chose not to.
I admire Pastor Brooks for refusing to follow the status quo and be an independently-minded free thinker. It is absurd that some people think he must vote Democrat because he’s black.
African-Americans have not always voted for the Democrat Party. After the civil war, almost all blacks considered themselves Republican. The Republican Party was started by abolitionists and was the Party of Abraham Lincoln –Southern Democrats strongly opposed any rights for blacks at the time and for almost a century thereafter. In fact the Ku Klux Klan, when first created, had links to the Democrat Party.
Dr Eric Foner, leading American historian, explored the history of the Ku Klux Klan in his book called ‘A Short History of Reconstruction’. He highlighted the fact that the KKK in some instances were used almost like a terror group to target blacks who were at that time more likely to vote Republican, given the party’s role in abolishing slavery. The KKK also targeted white Republicans.
Statistics by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies New York Times show that African-Americans started voting for the Democrats after the great depression of the 1930s and following Roosevelt’s new deal programme. Civil rights legislation passed by John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson further entrenched support for the party. In 1930 71 per cent of blacks voted Democrat, 94 per cent in 1964, 90 per cent in 2000, and 95 per cent voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
Pastor Brooks is part of a growing movement of blacks in the South Side of Chicago and across America speaking out against the ineffective big government policies promoted by the Democrats. A recent You Tube video by a political activist known as ‘rebel pundit’ showed black community activists in Chicago speaking out against the mismanagement of the city.
In the video, doubts were raised about the big government scheme called ‘my brother’s keeper’, designed to help young black men but which has failed to achieve anything tangible and revenue seems to have benefited special interest groups. Other topics were concern that the President talks about minimum wage as a tactic to try and keep black voters on side when in reality minimum wage increases are irrelevant if there are no jobs, no industries and regulations make it difficult to start small businesses; the only thing the Democrats seem to be offering black Americans is abortion on demand; and the Democrats are pushing a neo-liberal agenda with no focus on families.
I found it interesting that the Chicago activists raised concerns with the minimum wage. Obama and Ed Miliband often talk about the minimum wage and the living wage, but little thought seems to go into the unintended consequences of such policies. Ryan Bourne, Head of Economic Research at the Institute of Economic Affairs, has written extensively about minimum wage laws and their adverse effect on young people and those with low skills. He wrote the following in an article for the Spectator entitled ‘Increasing the minimum wage will only harm the lowest paid’:
“A national minimum wage inevitably leads to labour market distortions. The people most likely to lose out are the young and those with no qualifications, I.e. the people that need the most help. Increasing the minimum wage on firms actually employing these people is thus akin to putting a tax on firms who are actually employing the sorts of people who otherwise wouldn’t be employed. This is madness.
“A recent Journal of Economic Perspectives report shows how both the Progressives of the ‘Progressive era’ AND their neoclassical critics all believed the minimum wage would lead to higher unemployment than there would otherwise be – the difference was that the progressives (wrapped up in their pro-eugenics mindset of the time) thought this was a good thing. Sidney Webb, for example, that hero of the Fabian Society and eugenicist, said: ‘Of all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites, the most ruinous to the community is to allow them to unrestrainedly compete as wage earners.’
“Conservatives should not believe in writing people off for some notion of the common good – they should believe in protecting and looking out for individuals, and protecting their freedom to get on the work ladder. They should back the outsiders, not the insiders, even if there are many more of the latter.”
Corey Brooks is right to question the wisdom of voting for the Democrats. If black voters always vote one way then the political party that receives the monolithic block-black-vote will inevitably after a period start to take the base for granted and become dismissive of its concerns, and other political parties won’t take the black vote seriously.
Results matter and the only way to force change is competition. Centre-right conservative solutions offer more holistic and practical ways to solve issues faced by inner city communities – free markets, not crony capitalism; liberal planning laws, and decreasing the regulatory burden will allow industry to grow and develop. Free markets also support individuality whereas in socialism group identities are promoted and mandated, and used as a vehicle to advance socialist utopian ideals, and that explains why centre-left philosophies often result in a degree of authoritarianism.
It is disgraceful that Pastor Brooks has been targeted simply for exercising his right in a free country to endorse a candidate whose ideas he liked.