In analyzing the recent Democratic bath in the off-year
election, black Representative Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., defeated in her own
primary, accused the Democratic Party of "taking black voters for granted."
Tavis Smiley, black NPR commentator, made the same assertion while
chastising his guest, former Vice President Al Gore, for allegedly
committing the same crime.
The Democrats-take-black-votes-for-granted argument goes as
follows: Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe insulted
blacks by failing to provide greater financial assistance to black
Democratic New York gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall. Democratic
gubernatorial candidate Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend failed
to choose a black running mate, instead selecting a
Republican-turned-Democrat. Former Vice President Al Gore insulted blacks in
failing to more aggressively challenge allegations of Florida black "voter
disenfranchisement." Thus, goes the reasoning, Democrats "take black voters
Three points demonstrate the faultiness of this reasoning.
First, what more can Democrats offer blacks -- that would
actually improve things -- yet still remain Democrats? Social programs? Jobs
training programs do not work. Black labor lawyer Peter Kirsanow, currently
a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, says, "Federal job-training
programs have varying degrees of success. The effectiveness is marginal at
best. Others simply compound the unemployment problem with a waste of
taxpayer money. There is little evidence that the effect of government
training programs upon employment is more than trivial."
Head Start? A 1995 Rand Corp. study found that Head Start helped
white kids but not black kids. Any gains black kids made in Head Start faded
Enterprise zones? According to the liberal New Republic,
"Enterprise zones in their current form may actually be more of a hindrance
than a help. In fact, they may come to engender exactly the kind of false
hope perpetrated by the social programs of the past so deplored by
conservatives like (Jack) Kemp. Enterprise zones can't address the deepest
problems of the ghetto: welfare dependency, teenage pregnancy and broken
families, drug addiction, crime, and men and women who are not only
unemployed but also unemployable."
Affirmative action? The Detroit News analyzed the effect of
racial preferences on graduation rates. "Among black students who were
freshmen in 1994, just 40 percent got their diplomas after six years,
compared to 61 percent of white students and 74 percent of Asians. . . . The
state's universities have special programs aimed at helping black students
meet financial, social and academic challenges, but graduation rates for
blacks haven't improved consistently over the past decade, the News found. .
. . Universities knowingly admit students who have a high chance of failing.
. . . The 10 years' worth of data analyzed by The News shows that the more
selective a university is in choosing its students, the more likely its
students are to graduate."
Reparations? Sure, this pleases extreme lefties like McKinney,
but say good-bye to "moderate Democrats," independents and swing votes.
Second, promising ideas like vouchers runs counter to the
Democratic Party's teachers' unions base. Even though polls show inner-city
parents want educational choice, the Democratic Party opposes it, as do the
major teachers' unions.
Blacks stand to benefit more from choice in Social Security than
virtually any other group. But, again, the Democratic Party opposes this
personal responsibility concept, as does the Black Congressional Caucus.
Crime remains a huge problem in the inner city, but "black
leaders" like Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, consistently hurl
baseless charges of racism and racial profiling. This makes cops less
proactive, thus emboldening criminals, causing an increase in crime.
The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 produced a dramatic decline in
caseloads of all races, yet half the Democratic Party voted against it, as
did the Congressional Black Caucus.
And third, given the Democrats' near pathological demonization
of the Republican Party, what more does the Party need to say or do to
attract black voters? Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., said of the 1994 Republican
Party, "They don't say 'spic' or 'nigger' any more. They say 'let's cut
taxes.'" Donna Brazile, Al Gore's former campaign manager, called the
Republican Party the "party of the white boys." NAACP Chairman Julian Bond
derided the George W. Bush Cabinet appointees as having come from "the
Taliban wing" of the Republican Party. Congresswoman Waters, who formerly
chaired the Black Congressional Caucus, refers to the Republican Party as
"the enemy," and once called Republican former Los Angeles Mayor Richard
Riordan "a plantation owner." In a rally at a black church, Vice President
Al Gore, during the 2000 presidential campaign, called the election a
referendum of "good and evil."
Mission accomplished. Many blacks now flat-out despise
Republicans and would never vote for one. Why, even the father of retiring
black Congressman J.C. Watts, R-Okla., once said, "A black person voting for
a Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders." Or, as someone
once put it, the Democratic Party has convinced blacks that Abraham Lincoln
was a Democrat and George Wallace a Republican.