September 18, 2004

DEPRESSION, NOT SUPPRESSION (via [& title courtesy of] David Hill, The Bronx):

Black primary voters decline; 33% drop concerns Democrats (Gregory Lewis and Jeremy Milarsky, September 18, 2004, Orlando Sun-Sentinel)

Attempts to fire up Broward County's black voters apparently failed last month with turnout sinking to its lowest of the past three primary elections in key minority precincts, according to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis.

The study showed a 33 percent decline in 10 of the county's largest black precincts when comparing the Aug. 31 turnout with the 2002 late-summer primary. The turnout was off by 15 percent this year compared with the 2000 primary, also a presidential election year, according to the analysis.

The sharp decline has alarmed some who watch voting patterns in the black community, particularly in the Democratic Party where minority participation can decide an election -- also a potential issue for party officials in the Nov. 2 presidential and state elections. [...]

Some political observers also said the low turnout in the primary speaks to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's need to do more in black communities to energize voters.

"He must talk more about issues such as jobs rather than fighting the war in Iraq," said George Gonzalez, a University of Miami political scientist.

Gonzalez added that reliance on any prevailing anti-President Bush sentiment to draw African-Americans to the polls in the fall is a poor strategy for Democrats.

"The strategy that African-Americans have nowhere to go except for [John] Kerry is not true," Gonzalez said. "They may not want to cast a dirty vote. So, many may just stay home. I would not be surprised if African-Americans vote in historic lows."

Having given up on winning, Mr. Kerry can now start shuffling & bowing to the various constituencies that Democrats will need to turn out if they're to avoid annihilation this Fall.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 18, 2004 2:38 PM

The problem is, a shuffle and a wink from a Boston Brahmin ain't gonna move the vote.

The past 6 weeks have exposed Kerry almost completely: he has no constituency within the Democratic party.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 18, 2004 10:31 PM