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WEB POSTED 05-22-2001

 
 

 

 

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The need for a new Black politics FCN, 02-20-2001

 

 
 
Lawmakers rip Democrats for plantation politics

WASHINGTON (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 work.

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 for granted."

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 heavily."

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.

 


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