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African-American loyalty to the Democratic Party has rarely been called into question since the early 20th century. As of 2008, "voting demographics for African-Americans suggest an overwhelming propensity to cast ballots in favor of Democratic candidates in presidential elections," (Young 2008). It would be expected that the election of Barack Obama further solidifies the commitment of African-American voters to the Democratic Party. The reasons why African-Americans have consistently voted Democrat throughout much of the past half a century are clear. During President Roosevelt's New Deal legislation, the Democratic Party shifted from the party of the racist enemy to the party that championed the rights of the poor and disenfranchised. The re-alignment of the Democratic Party with the political ideals of most African-Americans fostered a renewed identification among Black Americans. During the 1960s, it was a Democratic President that ushered in a new era of Civil Rights, and since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African-Americans have remained staunch supporters of the Democratic Party. RESOLUTION: It is in the best interests of African-Americans to remain loyal to the Democratic Party
THE AFFIRMATIVE CASE: The Democratic Party continues to champion the political, social, and economic goals that best serve the Black community; therefore it only makes sense that African-Americans should continue to vote loyally for Democratic Presidential candidates. Issues related to local politics can more readily be dismissed. Local candidates ranging from mayors to state senators do have a direct impact on the lives of African-Americans, sure, but federal politics demands the creation and maintenance of a voting bloc. Solidarity is the key to political success. Therefore, we will only focus on why African-Americans should remain solidly loyal to the Democratic Party in Presidential races.
The central arguments for the affirmative case are as follows. First, the Democratic Party Platform is inarguably in tandem with the core of African-American political values. For example, the Democratic Party remains strongly in support of social services: "For over 200 years, Democrats have stood for the idea that wealth and status should not be an entitlement to rule," (Democratic National Committee 2010). Second, the Democratic Party has firmly established itself as the party of equality. The Democratic National Committee (2010) affirms its stance on its Web site, saying: "From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, Democrats have fought to end discrimination in all forms -- including discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity or national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability." Third, the Democratic Party provides a meaningful way for African-Americans to unite as a voting coalition that empowers the Black community. "Democrats believe that each of us has an obligation to each other, to our neighbors and our communities," (Democratic National Committee 2010).
THE NEGATIVE CASE: The negative case suggests that African-Americans are not helping themselves as individuals or collectively by remaining loyal to the Democratic Party. Non-central issues to the negative case include the argument that both political parties are essentially the same: full of corruption and only interested in serving big business. Sure, the cynical point-of-view has merit. We have all at some time or another disparaged the way the federal government operates. However, dismissing politics altogether or worse yet, not voting, would do far more harm than good. Partisan politics are here to stay, and all voters must play the game if they want to see even the most basic legislation get passed.
Beyond these non-central arguments rests the core of the negative case: that being loyal to the Democratic Party does not serve the best interests of African-Americans. One argument central to the negative case draws from the unfortunate history of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party was once the party of racism. It was a Republican, Abraham Lincoln, who spoke the Emancipation Proclamation and who was killed for fighting a good fight. His Vice-President at the time was from the Democratic Party, which was the stronghold for Southern white racists who felt threatened by the abolition of slavery. The Democratic Party remained absolutely and overtly racist, enabling the Jim Crow era to take the place of slavery. As a result, generations of African-Americans had been subjugated and oppressed, impoverished and cut off from access to social, economic, and political power. This is the self-same Democratic Party, even though a century has passed. A second argument central to the negative case is the converse of the first: the Republican…[continue]
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