Watch an excellent symposium held at the National Press Club, looking at the impact of Independents and African Americans in the Mid-Term Elections. The program looks at African American voting behavior in the various political races....particularly in races involving Black Republican candidates. Did Black voters vote based on race or based on political philosophy and the issues?
Ronald Walters participates in this discussion. The forum was organized by a new Independent political action group. Hopefully efforts by this independent political group (& others like it) will spread.
Summary from Video host:
Professor Ronald Walters and Analyst David Bositis join a panel discussion on "Black Vote 2006." The event, hosted by Independents Across America, looks at the impact of Black candidates and voters in the mid-term elections. They also consider Democratic party control of the U.S. House and the 2008 election landscape.
Watch program here.
The Angry Independent:
I hope that one day we can get away from the discussion of "The Black Vote". It's as if people see Black Americans as a monolith- having the same opinion on most or all issues. I hope that Americans will one day get away from voting in racial blocks (White or Black) and will vote based on issues instead. On the other side of the coin, I think it was race that doomed Harold Ford in Tennessee..... White voters in the South (most White voters in Tennessee in particular) could not tolerate the idea of voting for a Black candidate. That's really what it came down to in Tennessee.
These voting patterns are not good for Blacks, either as voters or candidates. It takes away from our individuality and our diversity of interests. Blacks are not all the same!!!
However, the voting patterns always seem to support this stereotype.
One of the reasons that this is happening is due to the lack of voting choice.... the dominant two party political system. If there were more viable political parties that provided more choice and represented ALL of the various political interests and viewpoints that exist in this country of 300 million people, there would be much more diverse voting patterns. As long as people have only two "viable" choices, there will be this Black voting pattern going in the same direction.
On the wider issue of voting, I also noticed that Right Wing Conservative ballot initiatives really didn't work as planned. The idea (one of the main strategies by Republicans) was to bring Conservatives to the polls in large numbers. But voters did not fall for this trick this time. Voters were able to split their voting. They often voted for Conservative ballot initiatives such as gay marriage bans (something that's not even a crucial issue in America at the moment), but still voted for Democratic candidates. They voted issue by issue, candidate by candidate, instead of straight Democratic or Republican. I did not have confidence that American voters were capable of doing this....because it requires a little more critical thinking. But many were able to do it. It also showed the power of Independent voters and Conservative Democrats.....or Moderates. Independents spoke loud and clear. Now if they could build their own political party...that would be great. But I won't hold my breath. Such a task is basically impossible in the undemocratic U.S. system, which impedes the birth and growth of new political parties.
Additional article on this issue from the Baltimore Times.
Article from the Seattle Times.