Friday, March 19, 2004

Josh Marshall put this out yesterday. His approach was that it was a shot at the Democrats because they can't hold their own with the voting public and therefore they have to rely upon minorities to pad their vote. I think he's correct, but if you look a bit deeper, its a somewhat insulting argument. It's arguing that the Repubs don't need non-white voters. It's arguing that the minority vote is inconsequential and that they vote Dem because they don't know any better. It's a racist and degrading argument. What does that mean, "Without black voters," are they some monolithic group that votes according to a memo that's handed out? I doubt anyone thinks that. In fact there is a growing group of black conservatives. If the Republicans think they can bandy about insulting stereotypes like this and keep the number of black conservatives who support them, they are fooling themselves. I doubt there is anyone in this country who likes to be referred to the way Judy Woodruff refers to black voters.

Judy, how dependent are Democrats on the African-American vote?

Without black voters, the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections would have been virtually tied, just like the 2000 election. Oh no, more Florida recounts!

What would have happened if no blacks had voted in 2000? Six states would have shifted from Al Gore to George W. Bush: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oregon. Bush would have won by 187 electoral votes, instead of five. A Florida recount? Not necessary.

Right now, there are 50 Democrats in the Senate. How many would be there without African-American voters? We checked the state exit polls for the 1996, 1998, and 2000 elections. If no blacks had voted, many Southern Democrats would not have made it to the Senate. Both Max Cleland and Zell Miller needed black votes to win in Georgia. So did Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Bill Nelson in Florida, John Edwards in North Carolina, and Ernest Hollings in South Carolina.

Black votes were also crucial for Jon Corzine in New Jersey, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, and Jean Carnahan in Missouri. Washington state and Nevada don't have many black voters, but they were still crucial to the victories of Harry Reid in Nevada and Maria Cantwell in Washington.

Nebraska and Wisconsin don't have many black voters either, but Ben Nelson would have lost Nebraska without them and Russ Feingold would have lost Wisconsin, too, in both cases by less than half-a- percent. Bottom line? Without the African-American vote, the number of Democrats in the Senate would be reduced from 50 to 37.

A hopeless minority. And Jim Jeffords' defection from the GOP would not have meant a thing -- Judy.

Also, it's an idiotic argument, any political group would be out of it if a major part of their constituency deserted them. Many black voters support the Democratic party because they believe it represents them best, not because their black.

You can read the whole article here.

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