It’s almost startling to see the disconnect between what political pollsters say Black voters want their president to improve in their lives. The disconnect continues when there is an examination of what it is that the candidates are focusing on and how the media treat their efforts.
Pollsters say Black Americans are more concerned about selecting a candidate that can beat Donald Trump. When it came to qualifications, Hillary Clinton was a solid bet. But she still lost, lost to a scandalous, racist, politically inexperienced party-hopping man. Which can only mean that the 2020 presidential election will be won by a Democrat who plans to tackle issues that appeal enough to get voters to cast an affirmative mark for him or her. Black voters vote mostly Democrat. But there needs to be motivation to out-perform Republicans. That motivation will come if voters hear candidates' solid plans to counteract their ills.
So far, the issue of climate change has been the loudest in South Florida, given we literally stare at rising seas outside of our home and car windows. But what else?
On Monday Sen. Bernie Sanders joined the mantra of other Democratic presidential hopefuls who want to see student loans reduced and for students to receive free tuition at state colleges and universities. Sanders took it one step further. He wants to forgive all unpaid student debt, worth some $1.3 trillion. He likens the bailout to the saving of financial institutions during the Great Recession.
America had a chance to see what the student loan bailout could look like when Morehouse College’s Robert F. Smith pledged to pay off the student loan debt of the 2019 graduating class. Some estimate the gesture will cost Smith some $40 million. One of Morehouse’s graduating student who had $200,000 in debt said it was going to take him 25 years paying 50 percent of his salary to pay off the debt. Students who need to take loans are more likely coming from homes that cannot afford to fund their education, and that is more likely students from Black and Brown families.
Students are told to aspire to go to college, then the dream becomes a nightmare when they have to pay back their way to their diplomas. What Sanders and other Democrats are suggesting by attacking the student loan crisis could be the difference between America rebuilding its middle class and another generation that doesn’t produce generational wealth. Articles, written under the pretext of watchdog journalism, try to debunk the idea before it is given a shot. We as a society already know what’s not working. New ways of thinking about problems should be thoroughly investigated and tested. At the end of the day, tax money is our money.
Black homeownership is at the lowest it has been in decades. More serious conversations need to begin and continue about closing the Black-white homeownership gap, which was created by federal policies.
Health care disparities and outcomes are serious issues with which the Black community is faced. More conversations that lead to solutions to reducing the HIV/AIDS contraction rate for Black people as well as complications that lead to death from chronic health issues such as heart disease and hypertension are needed. But perhaps no one is asking those questions.