(FinalCall.com)—They’ve been loyal, faithful, dedicated and
they deliver the vote. But ever since Blacks came to the Democratic
Party, they’ve been the victims of discrimination.
Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, in a
strongly worded letter to the Democratic National Committee, the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association, complained
loyalty isn’t rewarded by hiring of Black media and political
consultants for polling, media buying, merchandising or other campaign
And while Black votes benefit white Democratic
candidates, reciprocal support is rarely enjoyed when Blacks seek
elected positions outside of majority minority districts, the Black
Caucus members added.
"We need to take the gloves off and tell it straight,"
said Rep. Earl Hilliard, (D-Ala.). "The Democratic Party has
discriminatory practices. Not only in their hiring practices but the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is structured to
discriminate. Were tired of being discriminated against and being taken
Blacks are the most devoted Democratic Party voting
bloc, providing more than 50 percent of the votes needed to win
statewide elections in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi and South
Carolina and at least 25 percent of the vote necessary to win many other
states, the letter said.
Black elected officials, the letter continued, are
usually the most dependable members of the Democratic Legislative Caucus
and most ardent supporters of Democratic candidates.
Still Blacks are rarely recruited for and are
discouraged from seeking top offices, the lawmakers said. A fierce
battle took place between former Bill Clinton money-raiser Terrance
McAuliffe and former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson for DNC chairman
earlier this year.
Mr. Jackson lost the battle and agreed to serve as the
DNC national development chair, as part of a compromise with Blacks
upset by a Clinton annointment of Mr. McAuliffe with no Black
consultation. Mr. Jackson is now responsible for chairing the new DNC
Voting Rights Institute, leading the DNC in developing its equal
opportunity program and assisting state and local party organizations.
He was unavailable for comment on this article.
Perhaps most importantly, Black Caucus members said
important constituent issues, such as affirmative action, mandatory
sentencing, and redistricting, are often afforded second tier exposure
by Democratic Party organizations.
"We need to move beyond junior partner status," said
Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), who was one of 19 Black Caucus members to
sign the letter.
Jim Jordan, executive director of the Democratic
Senatorial Campaign Committee, wrote to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Missi.),
"It is undoubtedly true that the DSCC and many of our candidates have
not done nearly enough to foster strong connections or to exploit the
political experience, expertise, and professionalism in the
African-American community. In short, your criticisms have hit home. We
are resolved to do better."
"The Democratic Party will never be as great as it can
until African Americans are true partners," warns Rep. Carolyn Cheeks
Kilpatrick, a Black Democratic congresswoman from Michigan. "We want to
win but the win won’t happen if we’re not thoroughly involved. It is an
advantage to the party to include us. The other party is recruiting
Mr. McAuliffe, bruised in the contest for DNC chair,
came aboard with promises to make changes. Democrats will run diverse
campaigns that include important core groups, "union members, women,
Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, Gays and Lesbians—we want you as
candidates and we want you to run our campaigns," he said.