Make 2016 about America, not Hillary

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Star Parker - Guest Columnist

Star ParkerRepublicans will be tempted to make this campaign about Hillary Clinton's very dubious character. While that would indeed be politically juicy, it would also be unfortunate. This election should be about what kind of America Americans want.

When Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were battling for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, I was interviewed on one of the cable news shows. The host asked me which Democrat I preferred – Obama or Clinton.

I replied that it depended on whether you prefer a socialist who is a black male or a socialist who is a white female.

The American people chose the former.

Now, with Clinton's candidacy for 2016, the central question moving forward is whether the American public is happy with the socialism they've experienced thus far. If they are, most likely they will choose the white female socialist to replace the black male.

Republicans will be tempted to make this campaign about Clinton's very dubious character: an alleged feminist who built her career by staying married to a lifelong adulterer because he was successful; the storming of our embassy and murder of our ambassador in Benghazi, Libya, under her watch as secretary of state; her use of a private email account for official State Department business and subsequent erasure of it all.

But as politically juicy as all this might be, it would be unfortunate if Clinton's questionable self defined this campaign. This election should be about what kind of America Americans want.

When I began my work in public policy more than 20 years ago, my goal was to move black America off of Uncle Sam's plantation to join the rest of America in living freely, creatively and prosperously.

Never did I dream, when I set up my nonprofit organization CURE, what would happen over the next 20 years: Rather than blacks moving off of the government plantation, the rest of America moved onto it.

But this is indeed what has happened.

The percentage of our federal budget consisting of transfer payments to individuals is now about 70 percent, compared to 30 percent in 1970.

The nation should look at what government has done to its black citizens since it moved so decisively into their lives in the 1960s.

Despite trillions of taxpayer dollars being pumped into these communities, median black household income in 2011 stood at 59 percent of median white household income, compared to 55 percent in 1967.

The percentage of blacks in poverty in 2011 was still 250 percent higher than whites.

Has having a black man in the White House made socialism work better for blacks?

According to a just-published study by The Working Poor Families Project, "In 2013 ... working families headed by racial/ethnic minorities were twice as likely to be poor or low-income (47 percent) compared with non-Hispanic whites (23 percent) – a gap that has increased since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007."

The report notes the importance of family structure:

"(N)early half of all low-income working families in 2013 were headed by single parents. ... Among African Americans, 73 percent of low-income working families were headed by single parents."

The dramatic growth of government over the past half-century has been accompanied by a corresponding collapse of the traditional American family. According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of American families with married couples and children under 18 dropped from 40 percent in 1970 to 20 percent in 2008.

Clinton wrote in her recent memoir, Hard Choices, "I'm more convinced than ever that our future in the 21st century depends on our ability to ensure that a child born in the hills of Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or the Rio Grande Valley grows up with the same shot at success that Charlotte (her granddaughter) will."

But Clinton's big-government moral relativism significantly reduces the chances that these poor children will get a "shot at success."

Hopefully, Republicans will give voters a real choice in 2016 – a candidate of any race or gender who wants to push back on government, increase personal freedom and promote traditional family values.


Star Parker ( is an author and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

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