I know that a number of you are not happy with the election results. I dealt with several of you last month as you protested downtown. You marched, yelled and screamed and at the end of the day didn’t change a damn thing.
A number of you also took to the airwaves to say how Donald Trump and Mike Pence are the first sign of the apocalypse. One person even went so far as to tie their electoral victory to the book of Revelation. No offense, but every intelligent person knows Trump’s victory was not the sign of the end of the world—that was the Cubs winning the World Series.
But seriously, folks, you all need to take a step back from the hyperbole, the histrionics and the hyperventilating. It’s getting really old really quickly.
First of all, if anyone is responsible for Trump’s winning the presidency, it’s you—or at least those of you who didn’t vote. According to the post-election data, nearly 2 million African-American voters who came out for Barack Obama in 2012 did not show up for Hillary Clinton. Overall, black turnout for Clinton was down about 11 percent.
A couple of more direct examples are Michigan and Wisconsin. In Michigan, Clinton lost by 10,000 votes. That could have been mitigated if the 75,000 Detroit voters who supported Obama in the last election had shown up. In Wisconsin, Trump did not win any new voters. The most recent analysis shows 230,000 Obama votes in 2012 did not show up for Clinton. And if black turnout had been the same in North Carolina as in 2012, Clinton would have won that, too.
Here locally, the whining was even louder over the Republican sweep of the statewide offices. I loved how people were attributing the GOP success to bigotry and racism. Well, here’s a news flash for you: You know who the highest vote-getter in the state was? It was Curtis Hill, the attorney general-elect who not only is African-American but got nearly 100,000 more votes than Donald Trump. Not only that, according to my research, he got more votes than anyone else in Indiana history. I guess trying to play the race card might not work as well as some folks thought.
And once again, the story of voter turnout in Indiana was just like in the rest of the country. In Marion County, voter turnout was less than 52 percent. It was 56 percent in 2012. In Lake County, voter turnout was 56 percent. However, in Republican strongholds of Hamilton, Hendricks and Boone counties, voter turnout was easily north of 60 percent.
The first rule of politics is to get your people to show up and vote. If you don’t, and the other guy or gal does, they win. This isn’t Euclidian geometry folks; it’s pretty simple binary math.
So instead of sitting around wailing and gnashing your teeth and quoting the Book of Revelation, maybe you people should, first, actually show up and vote. Second, field candidates people will actually vote for. And, third, take solace in the fact that there’s another election in 2018, so you have a chance to make the exact same mistakes you did a month or so ago.•
Shabazz is an attorney, radio talk show host and political commentator, college professor and stand-up comedian. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.