TheGrio Daily

The Democrats Don’t Love You Either

Episode 12

“Black people love the Democratic Party like carpenters love hammers.” Michael Harriot breaks down why Black people “love” the Democratic Party so much.

You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:05] Hello. I’m Michael Harriot, and this is theGrio Daily, the only podcast that can do the wobble without counting in our head. You know, we don’t have to do one, two, three, four, one, two. And we’re here every day to let you know what’s going on in and outside of the village. Think of us like the combination of a barbershop, the due to sit in the front of the store, and that one Aunt who calls every time somebody dies. Miss Barber you know, Miss Barber was quite and regular at second Calvary for years. Drove a blue car, sang alto, her pound cakes stayed moist for like three weeks. Boy, you know, Miss Barber. Well, you know, she aiight, but her first husband died. You don’t know him, he moved up north when he was little.  Anyway, you want a piece of pound cake? Today. Instead of pound cake, we’ll be talking politics specifically about the Democratic Party, because, you know, Black people love the Democratic Party. Let Twitter tell it. I’m Michael Harriot, world famous wypipologist and this is theGrio Daily. 

Michael Harriot [00:01:13] Why do Black people love the Democrats so much and what do they do specifically for Black people? Do they just lie to us? They just take our votes? I mean, what exactly do they do? Well, first of all, you got to understand that, like there’s only two parties in America. You know, white people and everybody else. Like, you know, you could go by the name Democrats and Republicans, but we’ll get into that for you to understand why the Democratic Party is the party of Black people. First, I got to tell you about the Egg Man. So when I was growing up, there used to be this white dude, like this old white dude who brought eggs to my grandmother. What my grandmother would do was take the eggs that they brought to us, and then she would sell them in the neighborhood. Right. And she would make a profit off the egg, the Egg Man would make some money, she would make some money. It was like Avon but with eggs. Do they still have Avon? Did you ever use tussin? Anyway, that was the Egg Man. He came to my house and I like the egg where he was, he’d only be there for a couple of minutes. But he used to do this thing where he’d take out his false teeth, yea he had false teeth. And it would be kind of scary, but it would be kind of cool and it would make me laugh. So I loved when the Egg Man came over and I would just be waiting every Friday for the Egg Man to bring those eggs. And then I would help my grandmother take them around the neighborhood and collect money. Sometimes I get tips and the Egg Man did this for years. All while I was growing up. Until my grandmother got sick. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:42] So when my grandmother got sick. The Egg Man stopped coming around. And then my grandmother recovered and the Egg Man still didn’t come around. And I was a teenager by then. And one day I asked my grandmother, you know, my grandmother, she was a good God fearing woman. She was like miss Barbara, she was an alto. She sang on chior. But I asked my grandmother, I said, You know, what ever happened to the Egg Man? And my grandma, she didn’t, like, I’ve never heard my grandmother curse except when I asked her about Eggman. And she said, “Man, fuck that white man.” That thing like shocked me. I like I thought my grandmother loved the Egg Man. Like, he came to our house every day. He, me every week. He made me laugh. Like, what was my grandmother’s beef with the Egg Man? So I later found out that when my grandmother got sick, the Egg Man just started going door to door and trying to cut my grandmother out of his business by selling the eggs directly to my grandmother’s neighbors. And that would undercut my grandmother, who was cutting out the middleman, which seems like a good business idea. You know, he would make more money, but it cut my grandmother out because the only reason they knew about this dude who sold eggs was my grandmother. So he kind of owed it to my grandmother. And that’s why my grandmother started this vendetta against the Egg Man, because what our neighbors did, is they refused to buy eggs from the Egg Man. And so my grandmother was like, you know, I’ll I’ll make sure I get ya’ll eggs. 

Michael Harriot [00:04:24] She was going to the store every week buying eggs in bulk and selling them at a loss to spite the Egg Man. That’s one of the, like, pettiest and gangster moves ever. But I love my grandmother for it. But in this analogy, the Democratic Party is like the Egg Man, right. Like I thought we loved the Egg Man. We smiled when he came over. He helped us out. But the Egg Man was just a man who was there to make money. He was just, you know, a dealer. He was the plug. And my grandmother was just, you know, working the Egg Man corner. But the Democratic Party is like that. Like the Democratic Party doesn’t love Black people, but Black people are not under the illusion that we do. So when people ask me, “why are Black people on the democratic plantation?” I know you’ve heard it. “Why Black people always vote Democrat?” You know, it’s less about the Democratic Party than it is about America having only two parties. The party of white people and the party of everyone else. So don’t get it twisted. Black people don’t love the Democratic Party, and Black people don’t love Democrats. We’re not, like, beholden to them. 

Michael Harriot [00:05:46] So the expectation that the Democratic Party is going to be loyal to us has never been an expectation of Black people. Right. We’re not under any foolishness that like white people got us fooled. And the people who run the Democratic Party have us fooled. We know, is just like a different variety of white people. And sure, the Democratic platform might be better for Black people than the Republican platform for a number of reasons that we’ll get into. But it’s not like we are beholden to the Democratic Party because we don’t think that they are lying to us when they come into the barbershop every four years and ask us to vote for them, or when they come to our church and clap off beat, while Miss Barbara directing the choir. But she got a beautiful voice, yes, Miss Barber do and her pound cakes do be moist. 

Michael Harriot [00:06:35] But when they’re clapping off, beat in our church, Miss Barbara, don’t think like, “Oh, this man really has my interest at heart.” Nah man, miss Barbara ain’t crazy, Black people are not crazy and we are not crazy. We know why they are there, to get our vote. So voting is part of the political process. Like you get your leaders into office or the people who you want to get into office and then you have to apply pressure so that they will adhere to your political will. We have to hold them accountable for the things that they told us. So just voting for them isn’t the be all, end all to politics. Black people know that. Now, here’s the problem. When you compare that to the Republican Party. Well, as a constituency, Black people don’t have the money that white people do. That’s just an economic reality. Black people don’t have the economic power that white people have, not even just white Republicans, but white Democrats. White Democrats are more educated, they earn more money. And so we can’t match their voting power. So we know that the Democratic Party, their leadership is split between the will of Black people who what we have to offer is votes and organizing, verses white people who got a lot of money. But the Democratic Party needs us. Because all of that money can’t buy votes. Right? Like the money that the white people vote is to get their stuff done. Like white people care about climate change. They care about, you know, progressive issues, but they don’t necessarily care about Black people in a sense. The Black interests converges with the white interests at certain points, and that’s why white people vote Democrat. So we have converging interests, you know. There’s a Venn diagram, right? Is white people mostly concerned about whiteness? Some of those things are in Black people’s interests, too, which is why they need us, because the majority of white people for the last 50 years have voted for the Republican Party. So without that percentage of the Black vote we give them, white Democrats don’t stand a chance either, right. We know who is the plug, but we know they can’t get this dope off without Black people’s consent. So one of the next misconceptions is every political season, every, you know, voting cycle, there’s this idea that, well, if Black people withhold their votes this time and show them that we aren’t playing, that they got to keep their promises to us, then they’ll take us seriously. Again, all they need us for is our votes. Do you want white people choosing your leaders? For real. Like, I know it seems like a long term chess strategy to withhold our votes and then make them come to us on the news. But like, if you’ve learned anything throughout history, throughout your education, you know, white people have loopholes. 

Michael Harriot [00:09:52] Imagine if we would have withheld our votes in the 2020 election and Donald Trump would have won. Like you see what happened with four years of Donald Trump. Like a global pandemic, the biggest increase in the unemployment rate in the history of America. Right. We’re still going through recession. Like you got to mortgage your house to buy gas and then you can only get a half a tank unless you live around white people. But imagine eight years of that, or imagine four years of that with no Black input. So withholding our votes isn’t the answer. Disengaging from the political process is in the because voting has never been the answer. The answer is engaging in the whole of the political process, starting with voting. It starts with organizing, but it continues with not just calling your senator or calling your congressman. You should do that. But it starts with your local politicians. It starts with your mayor. It starts with your city councilman, your school district. Because Joe Biden ain’t making your school bad, it’s your local school board, right? Joe Biden ain’t locking up people disproportionately in Black neighborhoods. It’s not even the FBI. It’s not the feds. It’s mostly state legislatures who write those laws that disproportionately affect Black people. Wait, so it’s not just that presidential vote or that senatorial vote or that vote for you, for your federal representatives. It’s from the top down, down to dogcatcher, right down to who’s going to fund your garbage people. Because, you know, they’ll put so, you know, one day a week in the Black neighborhoods and then they’ll come by your house at 4:00 in the morning before you get your trash out. That’s why you have to stay engaged from the top up. But you can just show up at a city council meeting and you can just show up at your school board meeting and you could just show up at your local congressman’s office. And who do you think Joe Biden is getting his instructions from, from that local congressman. And who do you think their local congressman is getting his instructions for from, that city council person. Because, again, the Democratic Party isn’t just funding Senate candidates and state representatives and presidents. They’re getting their money from the voters, from those Black neighborhoods. And they need us for the organizing. They need us for on the ground, for those grassroots causes. 

[00:12:37] So you’re saying that all of those Black people who vote for Democrats don’t know what’s good for them, but all those people who vote for Republicans, which is disproportionately a white party, know better than those Black voters. They know what’s good for Black people. Come on, man. So Black people know what they’re doing. We’ve been engaged in this political process. The only thing that stops us from being engaged is voter suppression, is white people stopping us from voting and from engaging. And it’s not just in voter suppression, right? It’s in economic suppression. If Black people don’t have the same level of economic prosperity, they won’t be able to have the same impact on the political process as white people. So voting isn’t the only answer, but it is the start. But. Again. Who are you going to let choose your leaders? White people or Black people? That’s why we have to stay engaged. That’s why we have to stay involved in the political process. And that’s why we have to collectively decide on who will who we will vote for. And remember, there are only two parties. The party of white people. And the party of everybody else. So. To end this, we’re going to go into the most important point, and that is. Do you think those white folks are going to do something for you? Remember the Egg Man? The Egg Man loved that money. He brought those eggs over to my grandmother every week. Not because he liked my grandmother, not even because he wanted to get those eggs out of his egg farm. Nah, he bought them over there because he had a personal interest in doing so. 

[00:14:44] The Egg Man didn’t have an interest in, you know, just helping my grandmother make a few dollars on the weekend. That was not what the Egg Man’s purpose was. He came over there and brought those eggs over there every week because it served his economic interests. And when he went door to door trying to undercut my grandmother. He was not trying to just help the Black people get their eggs. He was trying to make more money, which is why the Republicans always chide us and condemn us for voting Democrat because it is in their interests. Those Republicans don’t want to help you get some political power. They don’t want to do anything for Black people. They are the party of white people. They are only interested in courting Black voters. Is getting enough of them to render the Democratic Party the party of Black people, not necessarily of Black people’s interests, but the party that Black people are collectively using as a political tool. They’re trying to undercut that, just like the Egg Man was trying to do to my grandmother. 

[00:16:06] So Republicans don’t care about you any more than the Democrats care about you. But we chose our tool and we got to use it. So the only way that Black people can be involved in the political process currently is through a collective effort. And it just so happens that the Democratic Party is that tool white now. And my needle-nose pliers don’t love me, my screwdriver doesn’t love me, the Egg Man did love my grandmother and the Democratic Party don’t love Black people. They’re just a thing we use, just like they use us. We know they’re liars because politicians are liars. We know they’re self-interested because politicians are self-interested. We know it’s a game because politics is a game. But. What we do, we do for our own protection. And we do it together. And that’s why Black people vote Democrat. Not because we love them, but because we want to live. And and eat eggs, like, is not what I mean for real. Like, how else is Miss Barbara going to make that moist pound cake? And we don’t have those eggs. And as always, we’ll leave you with another blessing. You know, you can trust them. 

Michael Harriot [00:17:48] If you’d like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app. Subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio dot com. 

Panama Jackson [00:18:04] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. What’s going on, everybody? Panama Jackson here. And I’m the host of the Dear Culture Podcast on theGrio Black Podcast Network. And I’m telling you to check us out every Thursday on theGrio’s app to make sure you get that new, amazing, original Black content, that awesome creativity. Check us out. Dear Culture, Panama Jackson Out.