Party Capture? Try Again

Party capture is an important, interesting idea. But party capture has nothing to do with a primary between two Democrats. To explain black support for Hillary Clinton, Elijah wanders down a road that now all but denies black autonomy.  No, “the strangle hold [sic] the Democratic Party has on the black vote, party capture” does not force black voters to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders.

What can explain it? Maybe people can look at the same set of facts and reach different conclusions than Elijah! In an attempt to connect Hillary Clinton to her husband’s presidency, Elijah uses a critique only applicable to the latter. 


The more appropriate application of party capture to President Bill Clinton’s administration has a lot of intuitive logic.  It’s certainly possible that Africans Americans thought Clinton was a “faux liberal” who thought it was acceptable to throw his “most loyal constituents [African Americans] under the bus” but still voted for him as the “lesser of two evils.” But it’s not backed up by the polling data:

Clinton Approval


This is not to say that the idea of party capture is totally wrong. Certainly President Clinton did not do a perfect job serving African American interests. But perhaps his black constituents realized some compromise was necessary and still approved. But a president that constantly threw black people “under the bus” and merely represented “the lesser of two evils” would not leave office with a nearly 90% approval rating among African Americans.

To explore the party capture thesis further, it seems likely that if the U.S was a multi-party parliamentary democracy, there would be an independent African American party with interests somewhat divergent than other left of center parties. However, it’s hard to see how this would dramatically alter political outcomes.

Ultimately, African Americans are a minority of the electorate. The best an independent African American-centric party could do would be to participate in a coalition government. In such a coalition majority government, the party would be forced to make the same kind of compromises with white parties that today’s coalitional Democratic Party makes within itself.


On to the rest of Elijah’s accusations. I make no claim that “most black people saw no race issues with the Clinton’s [since] black people voted for them.” The Clintons are by no means perfect and on occasion did use race negatively. But Elijah context free selective reading of the record makes the Clinton’s look 100 times worse than reality. That’s why black support for the Clinton’s remains as high as ever.

A couple examples illustrate the point. Take Hillary Clinton’s super-predator comments. Was this a prominent part of the 1996 campaign? Did Clinton go around the country calling for the incarceration of “super-predator” in an appeal for racist white votes? No. She said it in one speech, literally in the same breath mentioning the need for community policing. No one remembered it until Buzzfeed unearthed a video last summer.

Furthermore, while super-predator theory is now discredited, at the time it was a legitimate academic theory propagated by an academic at Princeton University, himself a liberal Democrat.

What about Clinton’s attempt to connect then Senator Obama to Reverend Wright. Was it a wrongful smear campaign? Yes. But to here Elijah tell it, Wright was a perfectly good person “deemed radical by white society.” Not really. Wright was a crazy racist, narcissist, and anti-Semite did everything he could to do everything he could to sabotage Obama’s campaign. Obama rightly denounced him.

No one can stand up to this context free examination of their entire lives. Take this quote from Senator Sanders.

“A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy, a woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused. A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by three men simultaneously,”

Without context it appears gratuitously offensive. While it’s still pretty offensive with context, it’s an introduction to a vaguely feminist essay that is now 40 years old. It’s not a surprise that many women support Sanders despite it. Amazingly I accept that some people support Senator Sanders free from chains of party capture, leftist media, or superficial “pandering.”



One thought on “Party Capture? Try Again

  1. Here are just some articles that show the relationship between Hillary Clinton, the brand that is her last name, and how she benefits from the Clinton brand by using her husband. The last link shows how the Clintons being synonymous with the Democratic party, the establishment, effects party capture:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s