Thomas Sowell

Should blacks vote for Democrats or Republicans? Since blacks are not all the same, any more than whites are, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Yet the black vote is more overwhelmingly tied to the Democrats than that of any other group.

Most blacks are working people and taxpayers, who are not benefiting from the welfare state programs of the Democrats or from affirmative action. Many live in places where they are more likely than whites to become victims of the violent criminals that liberal judges turn loose and liberal governors pardon.

Blacks are also more likely to gain from vouchers that would enable them to pull their children out of failing public schools and give them a chance to get a decent education in a safer environment. Democrats cannot give them that because of the enormous influence of the teachers' unions within the Democratic party. Since the teachers' unions contribute millions of dollars to the Democrats, only Republicans are free to support vouchers.

Violent crime is another social problem that hits blacks especially hard. In some years, there are more blacks than whites murdered in absolute numbers. However, even in high-crime neighborhoods, most people are not criminals, but are more likely to be victims of crime. That is especially true of black ghettos. In some of these neighborhoods, the probability that a young black man will be killed is greater than the probability that an American soldier would be killed in World War II.

What do the Democrats have to offer? Aside from liberal judges who are forever finding flimsy excuses for turning criminals loose, the Democrats offer "crime prevention" programs that prevent nothing, except for preventing the criminal from being put behind bars. Nothing has a proven track record of preventing crime like locking up criminals. But liberal Democrats are forever seeking "alternatives to incarceration."

Perhaps the most dangerous dogma of the Democrats is so-called "gun control." Gun control laws do not actually control guns. Anyone who lives in a high-crime area knows that criminals have access to all the guns they want. Gun control laws simply prevent their intended victims from being able to defend themselves.

Incidentally, most uses of guns in self-defense do not even involve pulling the trigger. Once you pull a gun on someone who is threatening to assault you, he is likely to have a very sudden change of plans and head elsewhere. In communities where most people are known to have guns in their homes, burglaries are rare and violent crime rates are low. Guns deter as well as defend.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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