November 11, 2002
BLACK DAWN:>Black Republicans becoming a force to be reckoned with in Florida (Rod Thomson, Nov 10, 2002, Sarasota Herald)
The older segment of blacks and baby boomers are the strongest Democrat supporters. They harken back to the civil rights clashes. But the youngest segment of black voters, who are becoming more educated and wealthier, form the largest segment of Republican support. And they are the future.
Johnny Hunter Sr., owner of the Tempo News, sees this moment as the beginning of the end of the Democratic domination of the black vote."A lot in the past have been closet Republicans. Now they see they've got to take a position," he said.
Frances Rice, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and retired attorney living in Sarasota, is also black and a Republican. She said there is a "wind of change" among black voters.
She and several other black conservatives began meeting last summer to discuss how they could change things in the black community. They sparked an organization called Partners for Progress, which has been reaching out to black small business owners and others with the message of conservatism. It's a hard road at first.
"It's difficult to get their attention because they've been blinded by the news and the rhetoric," she said. "But once you get their attention, you find the people are conservative, not liberals." She always points out that their Democratic loyalty has not resulted in any improvement on issues important to them, she said.
In addition, there is growing dissatisfaction with the old guard black leadership. For instance, in the same national poll, support for Jesse Jackson fell precipitously. In 2000, 83 percent of blacks rated him favorably. That fell to 59.5 percent in 2002. Meanwhile black support for black Republicans such as Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice is high.
President Bush's ratings went from 29 percent favorable in 2000 to 51 percent in 2002.
All of this helped propel an election landslide that Florida Democrats are calling Black Tuesday. They might amend it to lack-of-black Tuesday. And it may be only the beginning.
Stories like this just have to terrify the Democrats. Consider for example that in the exit polling I saw, Max Cleland won 93% of the black vote in Georgia and still lost his race. Now imagine that the GOP starts pulling just twenty percent of the black vote and try to come up with a scenario where Democrats win elections. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 11, 2002 1:07 AM