Jewish World Review March 4, 2005 / 23 Adar I, 5765
Fighting dirty for the black vote
Brazile notes that in "many key states, including Ohio, Florida
and Michigan, the GOP increased its percentage of the black vote by making a
modest investment of resources, reaching out consistently to ministers and
polarizing the black community with divisive wedge issues such as same-sex
Leaving aside Brazile's interpretation (who is polarizing, those
who push gay marriage or those who push back?), the numbers are certainly
intriguing. While Republicans gained a relatively modest 3 percentage points
in the overall black vote between 2000 and 2004, going from 8 percent to 11
percent, the party's performance in several large states was more
substantial. In Texas, the GOP won 15 percent; in California, 18 percent;
and in Ohio, 16 percent.
From Donna Brazile's perspective, this is frightening. Her
disquiet was not eased when she attended Tavis Smiley's forum in Atlanta
last month called "The State of the Black Union 2005." This year, wrote
Brazile, "in addition to debating the predictable myriad of national issues,
we found ourselves discussing new players in the dialogue blacks who lean
Brazile is saying out loud what Democrats have been quietly
worried about for many years now. As I point out in my new book,
"Do-Gooders": "It is a plain fact of American political life today that
Democrats are completely dependent on black votes. The day African-Americans
stop casting 80 percent to 95 percent of their votes for Democrats is the
day Democrats stop winning elections. ... In the year 2000, George W. Bush
won 54 percent of the white vote and 31 percent of the Hispanic vote. But Al
Gore won 90 percent of the black vote and thus topped Bush in the total
popular vote." Democrats at the national level consistently win fewer than
50 percent of white votes.
The Democrats' answer to this lopsided equation has been to
stoke racial animosity and distrust wherever possible. The more that
African-Americans can be made to feel targeted, victimized and despised, the
easier it is for Democrats to pose as their friends and champions. We have
thus witnessed countless episodes over the past decade and a half when
liberals have invented racist incidents.
Brazile herself contributed to this myth-making when she
declared that the results of the 2000 election in Florida represented "a
systematic disenfranchisement of people of color and poor people," adding
that "in disproportionately black areas, people faced dogs, guns, and were
required to have three forms of ID."
This is pure fiction. So were Democrats' claims that George W.
Bush somehow condoned the dragging murder of James Byrd in Texas, or that
Judge Charles Pickering was soft on the KKK, or that black churches in the
South were targets of a racist arson conspiracy.
Democrats have been hoping to prevent Republicans from speaking
to African-Americans by creating the equivalent of radio jamming. They've
spewed so much falsehood and emotion into the air that they hope Republicans
cannot be heard over the din.
But the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken
Mehlman, together with the ambitious President George Bush, are attempting
to penetrate that barrier. By seeking out black ministers like Bishop Eddie
Long and others, they are saying: "Give us a chance, and we'll give you a
choice. A choice in education ... a choice to own a business, a choice to
own a home."
Republicans have made this pitch before without notable success.
But it does seem that Mehlman has more of a sense for the music with black
audiences. Appearing at the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Mehlman told
his audience of business owners that "the party of Lincoln and Frederick
Douglass is not complete without more African-American support and
The expanding black middle and upper classes ought to be fertile
ground for the Republican message of entrepreneurship, traditional families
and improved education. But Democrats have fought dirty for this
constituency, and the smart money is on more of the same in the
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