Larry Elder

The Democratic Party takes blacks for granted, according to former Democratic Party presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton.
Never mind that each one of the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates pledged to support race-based preferences. Or that the Democratic Party agrees with the NAACP's opposition to vouchers, arguing that they threaten a child's ability to get a good education. Or that the Democratic Party, like the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP and the Urban League, all support some form of Hillary-Care.

 Take blacks for granted? Democratic candidates, almost on cue, troop down to black churches around election time, precisely so that no one argues that the candidate takes blacks for granted. On taxes, spending, race-based preferences, skepticism about the War in Iraq and opposition to private Social Security savings accounts, the Democratic Party takes the position held by most blacks, and most blacks take the position held by the Democratic Party. What's left? Reparations for slavery?

 Given Sharpton's newfound disgust for the Democratic Party, does this mean he suggests that blacks reconsider their monolithic Democratic votes, and open their minds and hearts to the Republican Party?

 The Republicans, after all, long advocated vouchers, at least on a limited basis, for failing inner-city schools. A 1999 Harvard University study on the Cleveland, Ohio, voucher program found voucher parents more satisfied with their kids' education than public school parents. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin -- home of the nation's oldest and largest urban voucher program -- students involved must come from low-income families, with many minority students coming from broken homes. In Milwaukee, 64 percent of students using a voucher to enter ninth grade in 1999 graduated in 2003, compared to 36 percent of Milwaukee public school students. The six Milwaukee public high schools that have academic admission requirements -- as do many private schools -- only had a 41 percent graduation rate. In an NPR interview in January 2003, Sharpton said, "I believe in public education, do not believe in going into privatization, whether that be through vouchers or other schemes." Will he reconsider?

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit