The Presidential Campaign


W.E.B. Du Bois


April 1, 1916

The Negro voter enters the present campaign with no enthusiasm. Four years ago the intelligent Negro voter tried a great and important experiment. He knew that the rank and file of the Bourbon democracy was without sense or reason, based on provincial ignorance and essentially uncivilized, but he saw called to its leadership a man of high type and one who promised specifically to American Negroes, justice—“Not mere grudging justice, but justice executed with liberality and cordial good feeling.” They have lived to learn that this statement was a lie, a peculiarly miserable campaign deception. They are forced, therefore, to vote for the Republican candidate, Mr. Hughes, and they find there little that is attractive.

Mr. Hughes is a northern man of sterling honesty, but he knows nothing about Negroes and he has neither time nor inclination to learn. His final conclusions concerning them were made twenty or thirty years ago. Since that time he has neither examined these conclusions nor is there any reason to suppose that he will. Under ordinary circumstances the Negro must expect from him, as chief executive, the neglect, indifference and misunderstanding that he has had from recent Republican presidents. Nevertheless, he is practically the only candidate for whom Negroes can vote. We say nothing concerning the Socialist candidate. They are excellent leaders of an excellent party; God send them success! But the effective voter has a choice between two parties, the vote for the third party is at least temporarily thrown away.


For attribution, please cite this work as:
Du Bois, W.E.B. 1916. “The Presidential Campaign.” The Crisis 12 (6): 268.