The 2002 Mid-Term Electionsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
The 2002 mid-term elections have taught Americans, particularly black Americans, several important lessons. Carl McCall's attempt to become the first black elected governor of NY and Ron Kirk's effort to become the first black US Senator from TX resulted in spectacular and crushing defeats. A national campaign to unseat JEB Bush in FL was a complete fiasco. A lesser known black gubernatorial candidate from Nevada also lost his bid for the governship office. Not since the Eisenhower Administration has the GOP enjoyed a political trifecta (Control of the White House, Senate & Reps). What went wrong for the Dems?
First, the politics of GOP Demonization has proved to be an ineffective political strategy. President Bush's political savvy and popularity was greatly underestimated. The "die was cast" when Wisconsin Rep. Jim McDermott and MI Rep. David Bonior made their infamous comments from Baghdad that they trust Saddam Hussein more than President Bush regarding the war on terrorism. The first rule of "trench warfare" is to understand and appreciate your enemy. Dems and black voters misunderstood this basic point. Secondly, black voter apathy remains high. A story reported in the Associated Press yesterday showd that in many large urban areas, typically Deomcratic strongholds, the percentage of registered voters who actually cast ballots was less than 40%. This display of apathy certainly doomed any hopes for Democratic victories in closely contested races. Third, despite the romanticized devotion many black voters display towards President Clinton and Jesse Jackson, their noble efforts to encourage high black voter turnout and endorsements of Democratic candidates proved equally ineffective. It is clear, at least to me, that the future of this Party rests not with the Clinton-Jackson-Daschle wing or Democratic revisionists like Rev. Sharpton. Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.(D-TN) appears to be a promising leader and his announcement about competing for the House Minority Whip is a good sign.
The mid-term elections are not politics as usual. Remaining in denial about stark political realities serves no purpose. It doesn't take one to be an MIT political scientist to read the tea leaves. Change is both good and inevitable. QED
-- Anonymous, November 08, 2002
Bill, I agree with your points. Ron Kirk defeated himself by trying to get elected on Black Votes alone. Kirk was running for the office of "First Black Senator from Texas" rather than running for the open US Senate seat from Texas. If evey eligible black voter had registered and voted for Kirk, he would have lost. To be elected statewide in Texas you must appeal to all voters.
Kirk allowed his supporters to use code words on the "black" radio stations; such as you know "them", "us", etc. Basically the Dems nationwide were pandering to minorities and ethnic groups. That tactic won't work any more. The so called white liberals no longer cast a vote for a black candidate out of guilt. It is had to feel guilty when you see so many blacks making 5-figure salaries whhile pushing Affrimative Action. The Black Minister's Alliance in Dallas was split on support for Kirk. The black community is no longer monolithic; we are able to think for ourselves. The truth is that there is no longer a black agenda; nor should there be. I want the same good life that anyone in my position desires, regardless of race.
-- Anonymous, November 08, 2002
Being a Texan I had the opportunity to watch Ron Kirk shoot himself in the foot first hand. At one point he said something to the effect that Bush didn't care about the dangers of war with Iraq because minorities make up the bulk of the armed forces, and would suffer the most casualties. The implication was Bush is a racist, so using minorities as cannon fodder is ok by him.
I couldn't believe it! I thought that method of pandering to race died out in the 60s. Everyone saw straight through it as a blatant attempt to sew division. It cheapened his candidacy, and robbed him of any credibility.
It also showed his complete lack of knowlege of matters like this. First of all, minorities aren't over-represented in the armed forces, or even combat arms. The ones in the most danger right now are special operations troops in Afghanistan and other areas we aren't being told about, aircrews supporting them, and pilots policing the no-fly zones over Iraq. These are the ones being shot at daily, and these groups, especially special ops, are disporportionately represented by whites.
Ron Kirk deserved to lose because he was unqualified and out of touch with the values of most Texans. Number one, liberal politics don't sell well in Texas outside of a few concentrated areas. Virtually every public official in my part of West Texas is a Republican, and the few Democrats that are in office go out of their way to point up their conservatism and ties to Bush.
He also tried to reopen old wounds for his political benefit, and it didn't fly. Most Texans have moved past race baiting. The only places it plays anymore are inner city neighborhoods, college campuses, and the poorer areas of the Rio Grande valley. As mayor of Dallas he was able to play those cards successfully, but when he tried to use the same method on a statewide level, he got clobbered.
Let's give it up for Ron Cornyn, the new Republican senator from the great state of Texas!
-- Anonymous, November 09, 2002