September 17, 2003


Blacks Forget How to Political Horse Trade with Democrats and Republicans (Earl Ofari Hutchinson, September 15, 2003, AlterNet)

Embattled California Governor Gray Davis makes appearances at selected black churches and handpicked black groups. Davis's wanna-be gubernatorial recall election replacements, Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, Tom McClintock, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, have made no appearances before black groups. But they have appeared at countless rallies, forums, town halls, and confabs of women's, Latino, environmental, and labor groups, and before Indian casino gambling owners, pro gun and anti-abortion, and taxpayer association groups, and business groups. They have carefully spelled out to these groups what they will do for their vote should the recall vote ever occur. This is astute, political horse-trading that all interest and advocacy groups engage in with politicians, and that politicians want and expect.

There are two recent textbook examples of this. One is the driver's license law for illegal immigrants. Davis vetoed the bill twice. But this time Latino Democrats bluntly told him sign the bill or you can kiss the Latino vote, and your job, goodbye. Davis got the message, quickly signed the bill, and then scurried over to the annual Mexican Independence Day parade in Los Angeles to soak up the cheers from Latino Democrats and the crowd. The other example is Bustamante's deep, and embarrassing, flirt with Indian gambling casino interests. They heavily bankroll his campaign and in return he lobbies hard for them to expand their gambling operations.

But why won't Davis, Bustamante, McClintock and Schwarzenegger appear at a serious open policy issues forum with black voters and spell out what they'll do for them in return for their vote? Because they feel they don't have too. The Democrats and Republicans assume that blacks are blind-faith Democrats and will blindly pull the lever for them again. They are and they aren't. Blacks make up about 8 percent of the California's voters. In 2000, nearly 85 percent of blacks voted for the Democrats. But despite the myth that blacks are monolithic Democrats, nearly 15 percent of blacks in California voted for Bush in 2000.

Exactly what is the GOP supposed to trade for "nearly 15%" of 8%?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2003 7:53 PM

"The Democrats and Republicans assume that blacks are blind-faith Democrats and will blindly pull the lever for them again. "

It's an assumption based on the historic record, and based on the fact that the harder the GOP has tried to reach out, the nastier the reaction and the lower the vote totals. We've reached the point where it is irrational for Republicans to waste any effort on the "black vote" until such time as the "black vote" shows any inclination to listen.

The irony is that if a third of that 8% were going to the GOP, that just might be enough to make a difference and be worth the effort. So in their effort to create and enforce a monolith, the so-called "black leadership" has made themselves irrelvant except as a base for clowns like Sharpton and Jackson.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 18, 2003 12:12 PM

Yeah, you're right, the Repos shouldn't trade anything for 15% of 8%--the Party of Lincoln should continue with barely veiled racism to collect the white moron vote. Hey, the ends justify the means, that's what Jesus taught, right?

Posted by: Jimmy at September 18, 2003 3:20 PM

You can use GOP racism and get 70% of the white vote or Democrat racism and get 85% of the black vote. You're both racists, but one gets to be the majority party, the other ends up trying to stop elections from going forward.

Posted by: oj at September 18, 2003 3:30 PM


The point isn't that the GOP doesn't want black votes.
The point is, that blacks as a whole won't make their support for the Dems conditional.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 19, 2003 7:15 AM