John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Artur Davis: First of Many African-Americans to Leave Democratic Party

Posted on May 31, 2012


 From Artur Davis' blog on 5/29/12:

“While I’ve gone to great lengths to keep this website a forum for ideas, and not a personal forum, I should say something about the various stories regarding my political future in Virginia, the state that has been my primary home since late December 2010. The short of it is this: I don’t know and am nowhere near deciding.  If I were to run, it would be as a Republican. And I am in the process of changing my voter registration from Alabama to Virginia, a development which likely does represent a closing of one chapter and perhaps the opening of another….

If you have read this blog, and taken the time to look for a theme in the thousands of words (or free opposition research) contained in it, you see the imperfect musings of a voter who describes growth as a deeper problem than exaggerated inequality; who wants to radically reform the way we educate our children; who despises identity politics and the practice of speaking for groups and not one national interest; who knows that our current course on entitlements will eventually break our solvency and cause us to break promises to our most vulnerable—that is, if we don’t start the hard work of fixing it….

On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country.”

This is an excerpt from the blog of Artur Davis, a former Member of Congress from Alabama.  When he served in the House, Davis was unique in that he was a proud member of the Black Caucus and the Blue Dogs.  He was also the only Democrat to vote against Obamacare.

Black and blue is a useful metaphor for the bruising Davis took for voting against his President on health care, and the bruising he took when he ran for Governor in Alabama (he lost his primary).

Some will see Davis as a political opportunist.  But there is more than political opportunism at work here.  You have to take Davis at his word that he really believes that the Democratic Party is going off the tracks.  There has been no pressure on him to join the GOP.  It is far easier to stay with your party through thick and thin.  It is far riskier and more personally painful to leave your party and join another one.

But Davis is right.  His party is becoming more and more anti-business, more and more prone to racial sectarianism, more and more rigid in its liberal approach to governance.

He doesn’t see a future in the Democratic Party because the Democratic Party’s philosophy simply abhors values voters like Artur Davis.

My prediction is that Davis is just the first of many African-American Democrats who find their values are not being represented by their party any more.  This wave will rebalance the parties, making the Republican Party a truly color-blind conservative party while making the Democratic Party less able to take all black voters for granted.

To me, Artur Davis is a hero.  My guess is that in the Obama White House, they have a different view of him.