Robert L. Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), called on the Black Lives Matter movement to create their own Black Independent political party to force both the Republicans and the Democrats into crafting policy that better benefits the American black community.
Speaking with CNBC on Tuesday, Johnson said that black Americans have limited their leverage by sticking so closely to a political party.
“I’ve been convinced for a long time that 40 millions African Americans who tend to vote as a bloc in one of the two parties limit their leverage in getting action from both parties,” he said. “I think it’s time that African Americans form an independent party, not be an appendage of one party or ignored by the other party, and using their leverage in a Democracy to say, ‘we stand for things that are principally focused on the 40 million African Americans,’ and not have that diluted by trying to be a part of another party where the interests may diverge, and oftentimes do diverge.”
“It’s been a fact that had AA interests been fully embraced by one or two of the dominant parties, we wouldn’t have the social, economic, racial issues that we have now,” he added.
As to why Johnson felt this new party was necessary, he cited Joe Biden’s recent “you ain’t black” comment to Charlamagne tha God, which Johnson called a “horrific statement [that] reflects the need for a black independent party. That someone can be so presumptuous that you have to vote for a Democrat or otherwise you are not identified as black.”
“That is the principle reason why we need an independent black party — to change that kind of behavior so that we’re not taken for granted by the Democrats and ignored by the Republicans,” Johnson emphasized.
BET founder Robert Johnson is calling on the Black Lives Matter movement to form an independent political party. “I think it’s time that African Americans form an independent party, not be an appendage of one party or ignored by the other party.” pic.twitter.com/WBIyfbxAVx
— CNBC (@CNBC) June 23, 2020
In a letter to the Black Lives Matter organization last week, Robert Johnson said that this new independent party should be formulated based on the principles of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“I am writing to you with a suggestion that Black Lives Matter (BLM) consider establishing a formal independent political party. The party could be founded on the principle articulated by the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. That formative principle stated, ‘Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies.…just permanent interests,'” he wrote.
Johnson cited the scores of black and white people who have turned to independent parties in the past to help create change.
“The effort to create an independent Black party, created specifically to address Black issues, is not a new idea among Black people,” he wrote. “There are many people, both Black and white who believe that independent parties can make a significant contribution to the current political system as to how this nation of 300 million diverse citizens can be governed in the best interest of all Americans.”
“Many pundits will try to convince you that it is impossible for independent parties to exist in this country,” he concluded. ” They will argue that the American people seem to be satisfied with just two choices. To the contrary, I believe a politically astute and structured Black independent party, committed and engaged in the electoral process, can prove them wrong.”
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