Low black voter turnout -- who's to blame?

Posted: Nov 02, 2006 12:01 AM
Low black voter turnout -- who's to blame?

"Democrats See Black Turnout As a Challenge," screamed the front-page New York Times article.

Twice as many blacks, according to a recent Pew Research Center report, now say they have little or no confidence in the voting system, compared to 2004. And 29 percent of blacks believe their vote will not be accurately tallied, compared to 8 percent of whites.

Donna Brazile, the black woman who ran Al Gore's campaign, says, "This notion that elections are stolen and that elections are rigged is so common in the public sphere that we're having to go out of our way to counter them this year."

But who told blacks that devious Republicans steal their votes?

Jesse Jackson, perhaps the most widely quoted "black leader," accused election officials in 2000 of stealing the black vote. Jackson thundered, "Today we stand surrounded, Jeb Bush on one hand, Miss Harris on the other, George W. and Cheney comin' from behind, the Supreme Court of Florida. But we will not surrender. Our hopes are alive. Our dreams are alive. Our faith is alive. God will see us through. It's dark, but the morning comes. Don't let them break your spirit." Never mind that attorney Peter Kirsanow, current member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that investigated allegations of black voter disenfranchisement, says no such disenfranchisement occurred.

Florida blacks voted in greater numbers than ever before, as a result of a vigorous NAACP get-out-the-vote effort. But many of these first-time voters failed to vote properly. Therefore, a higher proportion of black votes were properly discounted -- not due to some sort of scheme by Republican operatives.

2004 presidential candidate John Kerry, D-Mass., who lost the state of Ohio, recently wrote an e-mail letter to Democratic supporters. He accused election officials in that state of stealing the election from him. Now, it just so happens that Ohio's secretary of state in 2004, Ken Blackwell, is currently the Republican candidate for governor of Ohio. Kerry writes, in effect, that Blackwell stole the election from him, making the secretary unfit to hold the office of governor. "He used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote," wrote Kerry. Despite record black voter turnout, and a recount showing Bush won by 118,000 of the 5.5 million votes cast, Kerry accused Blackwell of using "his office to abuse our democracy and threaten basic voting rights."

Hip-hop star and fashion mogul Sean "Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy" Combs, as part of his "Vote or Die" effort, appeared on CNN on election morning 2004. Incredibly, he pronounced himself a victim of voter "disenfranchisement":

Combs: . . . I'm also a disenfranchised voter. And my first time voting was, like, 2000. So I know what the talk is inside the community. I know the feeling, the buzz. This is history for us. We will decide. We're the wild card of this election. ??

CNN: Why do you say you were disenfranchised four years ago? ??

Combs: Because politicians, they just didn't pay attention to us. We're part -- I call ourselves the forgotten ones, youth and minority voters. Their campaign trails don't come into our communities unless they go to the churches, and they don't stop and speak to us as young men and women, like we have power like veterans do or senior citizens, but that's all about to change.

CNN: But let me just try and clear this up. You specifically???

Combs: Yes, I did. That was my first time voting. ??

CNN: And your vote counted, right? ??

Combs: And my vote definitely counted, and I learned from that. And I learned from that, and that helped me to want to get involved in a situation like this.

CNN: OK, just for the sake of our discussion. How were you disenfranchised in 2000? ??

Combs: You know, just the candidates not, you know, speaking to my needs, not coming in my community. I'm from Harlem, New York, from an inner-city community, and just going, seeing the school systems there not being taken care of, seeing the people having problems with health care, people having problems getting jobs. And you feel just like nobody cares about you. And your vote doesn't count. ?


The so-called black leadership wants blacks to think of themselves as victicrats. Government failure to respond expeditiously to Katrina -- racism. Republican efforts to lower taxes -- racism. When asked why "Eight Mile" -- a black area outside Detroit -- suffers, while the neighboring and predominately Arab area prospers, black longtime Congressman John Conyers, D-Mich., responded, "Racism."

The so-called "black leadership" wants it both ways. They want to keep blacks monolithically voting for the Democratic Party by uniting them in anger and fury over often bogus charges of "racism" and "disenfranchisement." On the other hand, they apparently want the very same blacks to ignore these charges, and go out and vote, because "every vote counts."

Pass the Advil.