In rejecting the politics of identity, voters are expressing that they vote as they do, not because they are old or young, male or female, but rather because they are human. In opposing identity politics, voters recognize the universals in human nature: all people desire freedom and liberty; all people want to be given an equal chance to succeed or fail; all people want to be relieved of the burden of taxes; all people benefit when governments reduce their national debts.
But demagogues embrace the politics of identity, not because such politics in any way benefit voters, but rather because identity politics benefits the candidates and political parties. These cynical politicians encourage divisions in society, whether in terms of race, gender, or economics. Insincere candidates seek support from African-American voters by encouraging Blacks to see themselves as victims rather than to see themselves as people who are seeking opportunity. Reflecting on the hollow rhetoric of such "community organizers" - who really only want to organize their own financial profits - Deneen Borelli, an African-American activist and spokeswoman, writes:
They are just repeating the old message - victimization: Those old faces aren't fighting for their constituents or the black community any more - they're just causing them more problems. We are in crisis in this country - but it is an economic one. Fight to fix that problem rather than throwing up your hands and casting blame by using the "woe is me" rhetoric.
Individuals like Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama are happy to receive financial support and votes from the Black community, but are also happy to ensure that African-Americans remain economically disenfranchised. In fact, such alleged "leaders" need to make sure that Blacks are in the condition of a permanent underclass. Every African-American who makes it out of the lower class and into the middle class is a vote lost. In fact, elected officials like Rangel and media personalities like Jackson and Sharpton need Blacks to both be, and view themselves as, a permanent underclass. In this way, such officials and personalities create a dependency and ensure votes and support for themselves. If more African-Americans were given economic opportunities, they would cease to see themselves as dependent upon organizers and activists, and would enjoy the financial stability of the middle class - this benefit to Blacks would be a terrible loss to those who claim to represent the interests of African-Americans but who actually merely enjoy positions of leadership by keeping Blacks dependent. If a leader has his position because he claims to represent the concerns of the downtrodden, he then has a vested interested in ensuring that the downtrodden remain downtrodden; if the downtrodden rise, he will lose his job.
These race charlatans are fighting for their own personal and professional agenda. Their activities and media forays are out of self-interest. They have an obsessive need to stay in the limelight even when they have little to say. And in many instances, their time in the public spotlights seems to ensure they benefit financially.
An African-American woman like Deneen Borelli sees that she and her community are being harmed by individuals like Charlie Rangel, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama. These so-called leaders want the votes and support of the Black community, but don't care about the Blacks, except to ensure that some Blacks remain poor and ignorant. Such alleged leaders depend on the resentment created by poverty, and on the votes created by ignorance, to keep themselves in power. A Black woman like Deneen Borelli knows that the programs and slogans of such leaders don't help her and her community.
Career politician Rangel and social activists like Jackson and Sharpton want to preserve their special status and maintain their public persona. It is not clear they have anything meaningful to say, but it certainly helps with their personal bottom lines. Their financial self-interests seem to trump the needs of members of the black community. Why aren't they benefitting? Why aren't they seeing the same gains in their lives? In fact, it is my opinion that these guys are repressing the very group they are supposed to be helping by promoting big government solutions. Their message no longer contains inspiration. In fact, their messages no longer contain value. They adhere to the status quo on issues like school choice and are reliant on the notion that the government should just throw money at the old and failing way of doing things.
Many people in the Black community, like Deneen Borelli, feel that self-appointed leaders like Sharpton and Jackson, or elected officials like Rangel and Obama, have failed to help African-Americans. The Black community is disillusioned - the expected assistance did not materialize. Perhaps this is why fewer African-Americans voted for Obama in 2012 than in 2008. This disappointment is real, not imagined: the hoped-for support did not materialize. Rather, this leadership spent its effort enriching itself while allowing the poorest segment of Americans to live without economic opportunity.
Specifically, we can see the misuse of influence and power in the example of Al Sharpton. In the 1980s, Sharpton was caught on videotape by the FBI arranging a cocaine deal. Over the next decade, Sharpton used his connections in the media, and his leverage among government officials, to ensure both that the incident would not become public knowledge and that he would not face legal consequences for the crime. The video was finally discovered in 2002, nineteen years later; when it became public, Sharpton again used his clout to see to it both that he faced no prosecution for the crime and that the media gave the least possible amount of coverage to the matter. Instead of spending his time and effort to help Blacks gain access to economic opportunities, Sharpton had spent two decades using his resources, and the resources of the African-American community, to cover up criminal activity.
Likewise, Jesse Jackson used time and money, both donated raise inner-city Black communities out of poverty, to orchestrate a two-year-long coverup of his mistress and the child he sired with her. Instead of serving African-Americans, Jackson was serving himself - with funds donated to help create opportunities for urban Blacks. Like Sharpton, Jackson used his connections in the media, in the Democrat Party, and in the government.
Millions of Black voters like Deneen Borelli are frustrated. They elected people like Obama and Rangel and supported activists like Sharpton and Jackson, men who promised hope and change, but who delivered no benefit to the African-American community. In fact, as the U.S. economy spiraled downward after 2009, all demographic groups in America experienced lower real incomes, but the African-American community saw its income fall further and quicker than other groups. After 2009, all demographic segments saw their net worth decrease, but for Blacks, the decrease was greater and happened faster. It cannot be surprising that Black voters are angry with these self-proclaimed representatives of the African-American community.