The African Diaspora Factor for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
by Siddique Wai
As a former 2013 Democratic candidate for the office of Public Advocate in the city of New York, amassing almost 14,000 votes in the Democratic Primary that resulted in a run-off with me endorsing Hon. Leticia James, who ultimately prevailed in the run-off, I have a unique appreciation and understanding as to how campaigns work in the City of New York. The three essential ingredients that oil the campaign machine are: (1) Money; (2) Effective and campaign professional organization; and (3) an army of volunteers to get out the votes. Without these three legged-ingredients, it will be almost unthinkable to be considered a credible candidate. Without these essentials, the press will hardly ever cover your campaign. Without money, you cannot get your message to both the community and media. Without a professional organization of personnel in the know as well as consultants to guide you through the process, you will not be able to make the ballot, let alone qualify to have your petitions overcome the legal challenges that too often disqualifies insurgents.
Without an army of volunteers to do-little drops, man the phones, serve as surrogates for candidates, host fund-raisers and saturate your name for necessary visibility in social media that would energize your base in all the important places you need to be to be seen and heard, your campaign will have an uphill battle to fight. Once one goes through these tedious processes and luckily survive to be placed on the ballot for the eligible public to vote for you, you have a chance to succeed. Even with all of these hurdles to cross, you as the candidate must and should be on the telephone making campaign money solicitations. As one good and trusted friend told me during my campaign‘” YOUR ONE AND ONLY JOB IS TO BE ON THE TELEPHONE BEGGING FOR MONEY THAT WE WILL NEED TO GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT. THEREFORE, YOU STAY IN YOUR LANE AND WE TOO WILL STAY IN OUR LANES.” This is what any successful candidate seeking any office must do and abide by in a campaign.
Since the beginning of the 2016 Presidential campaign for the presidency of the United States, I have been solicited by not only the presumptive nominees for the two major political parties but also their heavy weight supporters such as the President and First Lady of the United States; the Vice President of the United States; the National Democratic Party; Senators, Congress men and women, including PACS that are supporting political candidates. What is very telling with the stream of e-mail solicitations that I have received to date with no end in sight, I had the unique opportunity to actually speak to a representative of the Hillary Victory Fundraising staff Mr. Peter Thompson, who was speaking to me from the West Coast. He got my name because I have contributed to Hillary’s campaign and assured him that I plan to do more with some advice that I have for the candidate and her campaign team and staff. My message was simple and straight to the point. I reminded the very nice gentleman that the Democratic Party is making a terrible mistake by not courting the African Diaspora constituencies in these United States to become active participants in electing Hillary as the next President of the United States. That constituency I reminded him is all over these United States with a huge number of them eligible to vote in any election in this country. In fact, I reminded him that many of them are now citizens of the United States and many do also serve as credible leaders of their constituencies and communities that continue to influence public policy in their home lands.
The constituency has youths, children, mothers and fathers that are both bread winners that if properly courted could make a huge difference in even contributing to presidential elections in these United States. The communities have credible journalists that publish newspapers that their communities read and trust. They have radio stations that broadcast in a wide variety of languages dealing with issues of concern to their communities. They have entrepreneurs who employ anywhere from at least as ten to hundreds of employees. They know how to raise funds for causes that they believe in. They have foundations and not for profit civic organizations that are impacting public policy in cities and towns across America. They have an army of professionals working in universities, hospitals, clinics and in real estate that not only serve their communities but citizens in communities and areas where they reside and raise their children and families. In sum, the African Diaspora constituency in these United States is a treasure throve open to any presidential candidate willing to work with them. Personally, I am leaning toward Hillary for President. In fact I have already contributed to her campaign and plan to do so over the next few months. But as I told Mr. Thompson on the phone, TEAM HILLARY must make a conscious effort to not only solicit me but the African Diaspora communities and constituency. They are able and ready but Hillary and her team must reach out as soon as possible. I am able and willing to be of assistance, if called upon.
Mr. Sidique Wai, President and National Spokesperson, United African Congress and 2013 Democratic Candidate for Public Advocate, City of New York.