April 11, 2006


A Change In Black Politics (Earl Ofari Hutchinson, April 10, 2006, Pacific News Service)

In 2000, the 23 million blacks eligible to vote dwarfed the 13 million Latinos that were eligible to vote, even though Latinos then had reached virtual parity with blacks in the population. More than one-third of the Latino population was less than 18 years old. Forty percent of Latinos that were of eligible voting age were non-citizens. Only five percent of blacks who were of voting age were non-citizens.

But that is quickly changing. Since the 2000 election, the number of Latinos of voting age, and who are citizens, has jumped. There are now an estimated 10 million Latino registered voters. That compares favorably with the 15 million black voters in the 2004 election. [...]

Democrats and Republicans will pour even more time, money, and personnel into courting Latino voters. The reasoning is that the potential political gain from a massive outreach effort to Latinos is far greater than putting the same resources into courting black voters.

It's sound political reasoning. That effort worked for Republicans in 2004. Bush got nearly forty percent of the Latino vote. The Democrats, meanwhile, maintain a solid lock on the black vote. In every election since 1964, blacks have given more than 80 to 90 percent of their votes to Democrats. [...]

With the tantalizing prospect of large numbers of newly enfranchised Latino voters voting Republican, there's absolutely no political incentive for Republicans to try to do more to get the black vote. That includes the GOP's relentless pursuit of black evangelicals.

Hispanic evangelical churches have an estimated 20 million members and those numbers are growing yearly. According to a survey by the Hispanic Churches in America Life, the majority of Latino evangelicals are conservative, pro-family, anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. Latino evangelicals are GOP-friendly and they have political clout. They got several mainstream evangelical groups to back the Senate compromise immigration reform bill. And while the National Association of Evangelicals stopped short of backing the Senate bill, it still urged "humane" immigration reform.

The leap in Latino voting strength, and the likely prospect that Democrats and Republicans can bag even more voters from the rising number of legal and illegal immigrants, comes at a bad time for black politicians. Though the number of black elected officials has held steady in state offices and in Congress, their spectacular growth of prior years has flattened out. According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the slight increase in the number of black elected officials has been in only a handful of deep South states -- and Illinois. There is some evidence that mainstream Democrats' de-emphasis on traditional black issues has already happened.

To his credit, the President keeps pushing programs like vouchers, HSAs, and SS Reform that disproportionately benefit poor blacks irrespective of their opposition.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2006 1:05 PM

To his credit, the President keeps pushing programs like vouchers, HSAs, and SS Reform that disproportionately benefit poor blacks irrespective of their opposition.

Agreed. Education vouchers are going to have the biggest up-front impact, in that they affect the next generation, giving them better jobs. The HSAs are tailor-made for the young worker to save big bucks.

Posted by: Ptah at April 11, 2006 1:31 PM

To Tancredo and others pushing the "evil in Mexico" nativist line: What Earl Ofari Hutchinson describes can be white America's future, too, if you push too hard.

Posted by: Brad S at April 11, 2006 1:33 PM

Imagining the Latino vote in the same way as the black vote has come to be in the U.S. is only possible if you think illegal immigration is the end-all, be-all of the issues they're concerned about. The concerns of Cuban-Americans are different from Mexican-Americans, are different from Puerto Rican immigrants, who are different from those from the Caribbean. That means while their not one massive voting block, they also have voices and voting clout within both political parties. The voices of African-Americans within the GOP is still muted, even though more and more blacks have assumed leadership roles within the party.

As for Tancredo, I see him more and more trying to be the Pat Buchanan of the 2008 primaries, with a hard-line immigration polcy of walling off the border and deporting as many of the 11 million illegals as possible as being his single-issue campaign strategy. He might even be the H. Ross Perot of the '08 general election -- it would normally take a ton of cash to do that, but if the big media outlets think he can do for Hillary (or whoever the Democrats' nominee is) what Ross did for Bill Clinton in '92, they'll shower him with gobs of free publicity.

Posted by: John at April 11, 2006 3:47 PM

If you secure the border, anger will subside and there will be no talk on mass deportations and most illegals will be brought into the system.

If you don't secure the border, the debate will get even more heated and real problems will arise from it.

OJ's strategy of illegal amnesty and throwing the border even more open is the worst possible policy.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 11, 2006 6:52 PM

It's the one Americans support.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 6:57 PM

poll citation please.

Posted by: toe at April 11, 2006 7:09 PM

A USA Today-Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday found that 61 percent of those surveyed want to make it a crime for foreigners to immigrate illegally to the United States.

Still, nearly two-thirds -- 63 percent -- also say the government should allow illegal immigrants to remain and become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over time.


Posted by: oj at April 11, 2006 7:19 PM