NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 101

GHOSTS OF ELECTIONS PRESENT
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It is important to note that throughout this span of American electoral history there were a few times in which the lives and conditions of Americans of African descent were in the spotlight of political discussion . The damnable compromise that calculated the existence of black people as a 3 ⁄ 5th fraction was struck , and the tension between the stated ideals of this country and the horrific and blood-soaked reality of its treatment of Black people continued to be a living and breathing contradiction of sinful proportions . As a result , during the first half of the 19th Century , the issue of slavery continued to lurk in the background of all presidential campaigns and presidencies then lurched forward to front and center stage as the nation expanded pursuant to the precepts of Manifest Destiny , supported by genocidal policies directed against the indigenous people of this continent . And as this political can got kicked down the road , the Abolitionist Movement began to gain greater and greater momentum . Finally , a new political party , the Republican Party was established with abolition as one of its founding principles . The Civil War and the abolition of race-based slavery in this country were the direct result of the presidential political process .
We see the other side of the political coin when in 1876 Rutherford B . Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden by making a deal for the Electoral College support of Southern Democrats in exchange for dismantling the Reconstruction apparatus in the South . The result of this literal deal with the devil was the unleashing of a reign of terror against Black Americans in the South that lasted for almost a century featuring lynchings , mass murder , legalized segregation , and the daily degradation of American citizens in full view of the nation . With the ascendancy of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s-60s , Black Americans went from being a political afterthought to a matter of real consideration and concern in presidential politics .
For example , the 1960 presidential election featured serious debate and consideration of the civil rights of Black Americans on the national stage for the first time since the election of 1860 . By 1964 and with the passage of the Civil Right Act of 1964 , the Republican Party , which had chosen civil rights opponent Senator Barry Goldwater as its standard bearer , went down to ignominious defeat in large part due to its position on civil rights . The dynamics of presidential politics changed in the aftermath of the 1964 debacle . Over the next two presidential election cycles , Republicans courted disaffected White Democrats in the South who were apoplectic over the thought that Black Americans were entitled to anything like equal rights . The result has been that virtually every state that was a part of the Confederate States of America has been a Republican or “ red state ” and well over 90 % of Black Americans have supported Democratic presidential candidates for the past 50 years .
The price tag for a successful presidential campaign is approximately one billion dollars . With the increasing and incredible influence of money in the political process , brought on by the Supreme Court ’ s Citizens United and McCullough decisions , potential candidates begin their fundraising two to three years ahead of an election year . Indeed , the viability and strength of a candidacy is in large part based upon the ability of the principal to raise money . Therefore , in 2014 the presidential campaign handicappers placed Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush as the presumptive nominees , because of their prodigious fundraising ability coupled with their deep ties to the establishment leaders in their respective parties . In 2014 the real question was which of these two “ inevitable ” candidates would win in 2016 . And then Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush were not so inevitable . What happened ?
Trump happened . What happened ? The Bern happened . And as a result , presidential politics may never again be the same in this country . Along with primaries , caucuses , political parties and conventions , other items not contemplated in the drafting of the Constitution were social media and New Age communications technology . Through the use of these new means of mass contact , Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were able to shred the cloaks of inevitability enveloping Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton with different outcomes .