From denouncing voter ID measures to declaring an ongoing organized effort by Republicans to suppress black voters, the left seems to increasingly view the autonomy of black Americans with less and less confidence. As has been argued for a long time by many conservatives across the spectrum, the insulting positioning of black Americans as being uniquely vulnerable to otherwise standard voting practices is insidious, but the most recent outrage blows all of that out of the water.
Seth Abramson, tweeting out a New York Times story speculating on Republicans supporting Kayne West in his impulsive presidential aspirations declared to his 844k followers, "MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: Kanye West Presidential Bid Revealed As Highly Coordinated Republican Operation to Suppress Black Vote for Biden."
Consider the argument on its face: the assumption is that black Americans are assumed to be persuaded to vote for a black candidate. As Biden directly implied in his interview with Charlamagne tha God, they would be betraying the Democratic party by doing so if that candidate anyone other than Biden, including if that candidate is Kanye on a non-Dem platform. How would Kanye West be useful as a tool to "suppress" the black vote for Biden otherwise? Are black Americans more likely to vote for a black celebrity? Are they assumed to be incapable of managing their political autonomy to such an extent they could so easily be manipulated and misled by such a contrived situation?
The New York Times article cited is titled, "Republicans Aid Kanye West’s Bid to Get on the 2020 Ballot." Written by Danny Hakim and Maggie Haberman, the article seems to uncover various right-leaning and/or Republican individuals assisting West in his spontaneous campaign, opening by saying, "Republican activists in at least half a dozen states are deeply involved in the effort to get Kanye West's name before voters, renewing questions about the aim of his campaign." Again, without needing to go into any further details of what they report, the primary question here is, "So what?"
Why would it possibly matter that "Republican activists" are helping a person run for president? Not all people who vote Republican support Trump. Former Illinois congressmen and conservative talk radio host Joe Walsh is also running for president, directly challenging Trump for the Republican nomination. Is Walsh also running as a coordinated effort to suppress the black vote for Biden? Of course not. In fact both Walsh and West would most likely strip away some votes from Trump. So why would West be such a threat?
The only conceivable belief in play here is the assumption a significant portion of black Americans would prefer to vote for West over Biden if given the option, solely because he is black. Realistically, this should be positive from the Democratic perspective obsessed with preventing voter suppression of black Americans. This outcome would indicate active black voters were choosing a candidate they preferred. Isn't that what they want? It's what Republicans want.
Clearly it is not what Democrats want. The message here could not be more transparent. Democrats expect black Americans to vote for their candidate without question and any behavior that deviates from that goal must be the result of trickery or mental illness—The New York Times specifically cites West's battle with bipolar disorder—or clever manipulation of the black population. The New York Times illustrated this recalling, "During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump’s staff aimed to depress turnout among Black voters supporting Hillary Clinton after determining that its own appeal to African-Americans was slim. His appeal to Black voters that year was, 'What do you have to lose?'"
As should be completely unnecessary to say, black Americans are not an intellectual collective a political party can simply manipulate at will. While black Americans overwhelmingly choose Democratic leaders nationwide, black individuals makes these decisions on their own. They are not being tricked or seduced by flashy political ads. It simply does not occur to the left that black Americans can manage voting for the leaders of their choice perfectly fine on their own and no one can "suppress" them with political trickery.
West has long been a political maverick, fluidly moving across many ideological areas, supporting Trump while supporting progressive ideals at the same time. Could it be possible that just like everyone else running for president, he thinks he can provide Americans with a unique and effective form of leadership which might just appeal to many Americans, including many black citizens? Portraying him as a mentally ill puppet being propped up by deceptive Republicans to split the black vote for Biden is deeply, profoundly, obscenely racist and offensive. Instead of trying to police and micromanage how black Americans participate in politics, perhaps the left could step back and respect how each American determines their own path completely on their own, even if they are black, just like Republicans do.