Monday, September 24, 2007

Will conservative black voters remain cemented to Democratic Party?

I suspect this poll of African-Americans in South Carolina is quite respresentative of the national picture.  If there's one issue Republicans should be able to make headway on, it's school reform (though I hope they don't -- instead, I hope DFER is successful in moving the Democratic Party).  Most African-Americans know that their children are, in general, being screwed by the crappiest schools our nation has to offer and that the Democratic Party, taking their votes for granted, is too often defending the educational indefensible status quo.

To be fair, Republicans have made attempts, both nationally and at the state level, to recruit black voters. In 2002, the S.C. Republican Party appointed an Outreach Committee to spread the party’s philosophy and try to  combat the feeling among blacks that the party is just for wealthy whites. I  doubted that it could be effective. But the poll suggests it at least made an  impression on black people. Still, few joined the Republican ranks.
We mustn’t overlook the fact that well over half of those who responded to  the Winthrop-ETV poll said they feel the Democratic Party takes black voters for granted. By and large, Democrats consider the black vote a lock. As a  result, they don’t always give black voters their just due. Their ears are most open to black people — and their visits are most frequent — at election  time.
Black voters have good reason to question their relationship with the Democrats. I’m seeing more do just that. While some have migrated to the  Republican Party, most have dubbed themselves independents. That’s especially  rue among the younger generation, which is more independent-thinking.
I’ve always felt African-Americans should be represented in both parties to  raise their political effectiveness. Without the diversity, it’s easy for one  party to dismiss certain sectors of voters.
Don’t expect large numbers of African-Americans to join the Republican  ranks any time soon.
But with one in five in the poll considering themselves independent, expect  that list to grow.
Who knows? That could prompt Democrats to consider their ways and  Republicans to ponder the opportunities.

Will conservative black voters remain cemented to Democratic Party?
By WARREN BOLTON - Associate Editor <>

A STRONG strand of conservatism runs through African-American culture and politics in South Carolina.

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