The issue of violent crime may at last be having an effect on black American’s voting habits. In that deepest of deep-blue cities, Chicago, many black voters are announcing that the Democratic Party doesn’t represent their interests and that crime-ridden neighborhoods are perhaps the most important reason why.
“The politicians [are] not going to do it,” Mr. Talley said of bringing economic opportunity to Chicago’s West Side. “Joe Biden, he ain’t gonna do it.”
Talley went on to say the same about Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. By “it,” Talley and many other black Chicagoans mean limiting crime and increasing economic opportunity in high-crime areas.
But however disillusioned they are with the Democratic machine that has run the Windy City for donkey’s years, it appears that few blacks are inclined to switch to the GOP. They plan to simply sit this next election out.
“Neither politician, Republican or Democrat, represents the interests of the Black people,” said Anthony Young, a 26-year-old Black man, in explaining why he doesn’t plan to vote this fall.
In short, they’ll subtract votes from Democratic candidates, but not add to Republican totals.
The extent of that trend of course remains to be seen, but it turns out that many of Chicago’s blacks have been voting with their feet for some time now. As I wrote last year, Chicago’s black population is actually diminishing to the extent that Hispanics now outnumber them. Blacks who formerly lived in high-crime areas are simply moving out, some to the more peaceful suburbs and others down South, reversing the trend of the early 20th century that saw southern blacks heading north to Sweet Home Chicago.
That too is due in large part to crime and its inevitable partner, low business investment in high-crime areas.
And that’s no surprise because violent crime in certain parts of Chicago is at truly horrifying levels. Now, the linked-to article puts an interesting spin on that. It suggests that the problem with violent crime in Chicago is largely an artifact of the Covid lockdowns and therefore spiked in 2020, but is now returning to more normal levels.
The far West Side neighborhood of Austin is part of a swath of neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides where longstanding crime worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Murders jumped in 2020, and while reported shootings are down this year compared with last year, people who live in the neighborhood say they still occur too often, generally between rival cliques and street gangs.
That’s all true enough, but the article never lets on about just what those “normal” levels are. For example, the Austin area of Chicago the article cites had a whopping murder rate of 51.7 per 100,000 population in 2019, the year before Covid. For some perspective, the most violent country in the world, El Salvador, has a murder rate of about 53/100k.
So much for the good news. Other predominantly black Chicago neighborhoods make Austin look like Sunday at the beach. Englewood checked in at 78 murders/100k, Greater Grand Crossing logged 82.6 and West Garfield Park had an astonishing 131.9 murders per 100,000 people. That’s almost 2.5 times the murder rate of the most violent country on the planet. And all of that occurred before Covid when murder rates went up.
Now, of course there are plenty of predominantly black Chicago neighborhoods where violent crime is essentially non-existent. But in those other areas, is it any wonder black voters are fed up?
But, fed up as they are, they’re still not fed up enough to jump ship to the GOP. That of course raises an important question – how can Republicans fail to capitalize on Democratic failures? Increased police presence in high-crime neighborhoods is a priority for the majority of black Americans, but Democrats have loudly ballyhooed “defund the police.” Democrats have presided over an unprecedented spike in inflation that hits the poor and working class hardest. Uncontrolled immigration threatens the livelihoods of those same people more than anyone else but the Biden Administration still refuses to take commonsense measures to control the flow of undocumented aliens. Public schools are abysmal, but Democrats would rather open a vein than criticize teachers’ unions.
In short, Democrats are sitting ducks, and yet Republicans still manage to deliver a message to black voters that fails to resonate. You’d think siphoning off large swaths of those voters would be easy, but the GOP is finding a way not to.
And that, my friends, is yet another example of how the two major American political parties abjectly fail to represent the legitimate interests of the people who elect them to office and pay their salaries.
More on that next time.
This article originally appeared at The Word of Damocles.