What Do the Democratic Candidates Have Planned for Black America?
I know what you’re thinking:
“Really? Another article about that never-ending list of democratic candidates?”
Yes! These things are important, and it’s our job to make sure that we are staying in tune with the major democratic process that is happening right in front of our eyes. The upcoming election, though just as important as any other election, will determine the next leader of our governmental system. The executive office of power will soon (hopefully) be occupied by another administration. But how are we supposed to know who to vote for when we can’t even keep track of how many there are? Each potential democratic nominee is running on a different platform for a number of issues. So let’s narrow it down: What do each of the candidates have planned for Black America?
For the sake of the length of this article, I decided to look into the campaign websites of only four faces holding major stakes in the race: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg. I chose to look at their campaign websites because those seem to be most accessible to the public—anyone with an internet connection can look for information on each campaign. Below are my perceptions of each campaign website and what it has to offer Black Americans.
Placed beneath the heading “Our America” are the major plans that Kamala Harris has in place for the American people. Fortunately (though I had to scroll all the way to the bottom), there is a section entitled “Fighting for Racial Justice.” After a brief synopsis of Harris’s focus areas, the section is broken down into 4 subsections consisting of “Reforming Our Criminal Justice System,” “Protecting Voter Rights and Our Elections,” “Combatting the Racial Homeownership Gap,” and “Investing in HBCUs and Black Entrepreneurship.” Each of these subsections also carries quite detailed plans about how Harris plans to achieve these things. However, there are some vague action points. For example, in the plan to reform the criminal justice system, Harris says she will “use her voice as president to advocate for change.” You can view the Kamala Harris campaign page using this link here.
Elizabeth Warren’s campaign page, similar to Harris’s, lists many comprehensive plans. However, none of her 5 major headings on the page elude to racial equality. The only one that captures my attention is “Equal Justice Under Law,” which (I guess?) seems to apply to Black Americans. Under this heading, she does, in fact, note the racial disparities in the criminal justice system, noting that equal justice “means banning private prisons, embracing community policing and demilitarizing our local police forces.” Besides these large headings, Warren also lists more detailed versions of her many plans as you scroll down the page. I applaud this effort in the sense that Warren seems to have many well-intentioned plans, but quantity does not always equate to quality. In addition, many of Warren’s plans involve demanding justice for Black Americans, but I do not see anything related to empowering or uplifting the community as a whole. You can find Elizabeth Warren’s campaign site here.
Joe Biden’s campaign page, if I’m being very honest—a tad bit disappointing. I’ll start with the good: there are lots of detailed plans, just like many of the other candidates. But the bad: none of the detailed plans listed seem to mention race (besides the unoriginal plan about criminal justice reform). In fact, I couldn’t find the word “race” or “Black” anywhere on the website for quite a while. Under a heading titled “Protecting the Right to Vote,” Biden notes that “Efforts to disenfranchise eligible voters are just as un-American now as they were during Jim Crow.” Points for that—maybe? But once again, based on my immediate perusal of the campaign site, I did not find much about improving Black America. Let’s hope Biden does not take the Black vote for granted…
The link to Joe Biden’s campaign page is here.
Last, but certainly not least (I think Biden may have taken that spot), is Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to my surprise, lists “Invest in Black America” as one of the main headers underneath the “Issues” tab on the campaign page. And to an even better surprise: the link brings you to a fully detailed plan about Buttigieg’s “The Douglas Plan” for Black America, including headings such as “Health Equity and Justice,” “Schools of the Future,” “Promotion of the Education and Celebration of Black History,” and many more. Each of these sections encompasses bulleted lists of specific action plans—quite impressive in my opinion. In fact, there’s so much information that scrolling through the plan took longer than I anticipated. The campaign page says: “Black people in America are still disproportionately excluded from systems of social protection, economic uplift, and representative democracy while facing shorter lifespans, lower educational attainment, and dramatic overcriminalization and incarceration compared to their white counterparts.” Saying it for what it is? That deserves some respect. You’ll find Pete Buttigieg’s campaign site here.
The Final Verdict
It must be noted that each of the candidates discussed have had their own tumultuous pasts with racism in America. Harris’s history as a prosecutor, Buttigieg’s mishap with South Bend Police, Biden and the whole Anita Hill fiasco, and Warren’s struggle to win over Black voters, in general, all remain questionable for us as voters. But what sets each candidate apart from the other is how they choose to proceed. Based on my own research, it seems that Buttigieg has the most comprehensive and detailed plan—so far. What’s to come in the future? We’ll just have to wait and see.