In the 2010 midterm elections, Black candidates weren’t merely running for office, they were doing so as Republicans as well as Democrats. For many African-Americans, the time seemed right to launch a campaign for office and help change a country that has long housed Blacks without properly representing them. Many of those Black candidates lost, of course, but the important thing was that they tried, and, at least for a little bit, they had their voices heard. This year, no such luck.
Despite the fact that two years ago saw Black people running for elected office in what seemed like droves, in 2012, at least when it comes to the Senate, Black contenders are nowhere to be found. This from CNN:
On Tuesday, C. Anthony Muse (pictured above), thought to be the strongest Black candidate for U.S. Senate this year, lost his Democratic primary race in Maryland, coming in a distant second to Sen. Ben Cardin, the incumbent. CNN found only one other African-American on a Senate ballot, a Florida candidate who isn't getting much attention among a wide field of contenders.
With no Blacks in a position to win a seat in the Senate, America’s premier congressional house will remain predominantly white for at least another two years. To be specific, there is not a single Black member in the U.S. Senate, and there are only two Latinos and two Asian-Pacific Islanders. The rest are white.
In an America that’s increasingly diverse — and one that will no longer be primarily white by 2050 — it seems particularly wrong for whites to dominate the political class (and, yes, a Black president in office doesn’t mean whites don’t still dominate the political class). Diversifying the houses of Congress, especially the Senate, should be a fight in which everyone has a stake. That said, if Blacks don’t run for office, it makes it far easier for other groups of politicians to win.
As the lottery saying goes, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” Let’s just make sure to put forth better candidates than Herman Cain from now on.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times/Landov)