The Democratic Party is taking blacks for granted. Again.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Democratic National Committee laid off 10 black staffers this week. The layoffs occurred without any discussion between DNC chair Terry McAuliffe and the members of the Congressional Black Congress. Several leading black Democrats in Congress expressed shock and outrage when they learned of the firings.
"After I heard the names, I said, 'they're all black.' I couldn't believe it," said Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. "I tried calling Terry (McAuliffe) but he hasn't returned my calls." Brazile, who took a pay cut while serving as Al Gore's campaign manager in the last election, to prevent the layoff of competent staffers, suggested that same option should have been extended to the staffers. "This is no way to treat a group that has been loyal to us. A group that gives us 80 percent of their vote."
In the 2000 presidential election, 90 percent of black voters cast their ballots for Gore. In Florida, Bush got only 7 percent of the black vote. Even in Bush's home state of Texas, 95 percent of black voters supported the vice president. Of course, these things tend to be cyclical. The Emancipation Proclamation formed a powerful union between African-Americans and the Republican Party that lasted from 1865 until 1972. The Democrats more recent support of minority voting rights, civil-rights initiatives, affirmative action, as well as its own ethnic diversity, established them as the party of inclusion for much of the '80s and '90s. Now, the pendulum swings again.
According to recent reports by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, African-Americans are becoming increasingly disenfranchised from the Democratic Party. Part of the problem is the perception that the Democratic Party, through sheer arrogance and conceit, is dissing blacks. Meanwhile, the Republican Party has been engaging in genuine outreach on the issues that African-Americans care about most.
At bottom, Black America's loyalty to the Democratic Party makes it the easiest voting block for the party to take for granted. After all, what incentive is there for the Democrats to go out on a limb for blacks, if it is taken for granted that they would vote Democratic no matter what? In effect, black voters have given away their bartering power, making it very easy for Democrats to focus instead on courting other voting blocks, like the unions, Hispanics, etc.