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Dean: Blacks annoyed by party's outreach

Democratic leader says "we" can't come around every four years

By WILL LESTER
Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:14 p.m. ET May 25, 2005

WASHINGTON - Black voters are upset with the Democratic Party for coming around just weeks before elections seeking their votes, party chairman Howard Dean said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Taking black voters for granted is a long-standing problem for the party that dates to the 1960s, said Dean, who promised changes in strategy even as he cited diversity at the top of the Democratic National Committee.

Resting on the past
"African-Americans are annoyed with the Democratic Party because we ask them for their votes four weeks before the election instead of being in the community now and that's a mistake I'm trying to fix," he said. "There's a new generation of African-American leaders and a new generation of African-Americans. We can't go out and say could you vote for us because we were so helpful during the civil rights era."

Marking 100 days as the party's boss, the former presidential candidate addressed several issues in an interview with AP reporters and editors, including the compromise in the Senate on President Bush's stalled judicial nominees and the right of Democrats to filibuster.

Dean was hesitant to call the compromise a win for his party.

"It's a real test of whether this is a real long-term agreement. That will come when we find out if the president consults with the Democrats" before sending future nominees to the Senate, including a possible Supreme Court choice.

He was more forceful in describing the impact on the Republicans.

"The potential is that we loosened the death grip the right wing had on the Republican Party," Dean said. "It was clearly a loss for the president because he was getting accustomed to ramming things through the House and the Senate without any confrontation."

Improve outreach
Dean has pushed to strengthen the party in heavily Republican states and to improve the party's outreach to women, Hispanics and black voters. In the last presidential election, Bush fared better than previous Republican candidates with several traditional Democratic voting blocs.

Dean said he was not concerned that there might be a major erosion in the black vote but was worried about people staying home on Election Day. "We're going to treat every vote as a swing vote," he said.

During the 2004 presidential race, Dean angered many blacks when he said he wanted "to be the candidate for the guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks." He later apologized and called the flag a "painful symbol" to blacks

During one Democratic debate, rival Al Sharpton criticized Dean, the former Vermont governor, for having had a Cabinet with no blacks.

Dean's presidential run also was marked by his use of the Internet to raise money, and he said the party is looking for ways to "empower people" to get involved the way they were initially drawn to Dean's presidential bid.

The Democratic chairman expressed admiration for one Republican: first lady Laura Bush, who has taken a more active role for the administration.

"She's an asset, it's a smart move on their part," Dean said. "People like her, I like her. She's frank, she doesn't toe the party line, she's not a captive of the right wing. She's probably the best salesman they've got."
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© 2005 MSNBC.com

© MBM

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quote:
During the 2004 presidential race, Dean angered many blacks when he said he wanted "to be the candidate for the guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks." He later apologized and called the flag a "painful symbol" to blacks


While I appreciate his backtracking (though I don't buy it), IMO, this is exactly what went wrong with the Democratic party: they fold on everything all the damn time, always Sorry Sam. The Republicans shout out everything from the rooftops and stick with it, no matter how ludicrous it is. I watched in awe as they joined forces to plant the word in every corner of the media that "John Kerry looks French" (to absolutely ridiculous levels) and how Kerry folded like a cheap suit. No retaliation whatsoever from Dems. It's like they don't know how to win anymore. I think everyone's annoyed with them. Most people go to the polls based on a few soundbytes and snapshots.

"Improve the party's outreach??" What is that? How? Dean sounds like he's giving the same old lip service, only earlier in the game. If you're going to set yourself out as someone who does not advocate waiting until late in the game to start courting the Black vote, then I would expect you to begin to mention some clear ideas/goals. It is not enough to just shake hands with as many Black potential voters as possible, which is what they seem to mean when they say "improve outreach."
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
In the beginning of the primaries, I said Dean 'doesn't have a clue'. He still doesn't.

I don't know about all 'blacks', but all African American-Americans should register Independent.

That would let everyone, Democrat and Republican, know just how 'annoyed' we really are.

PEACE

Jim Chester


Good idea...
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
In the beginning of the primaries, I said Dean 'doesn't have a clue'. He still doesn't.

I don't know about all 'blacks', but all African American-Americans should register Independent.

That would let everyone, Democrat and Republican, know just how 'annoyed' we really are.

PEACE

Jim Chester

In some states, to register as an independent means that one is not able to participate in the primary or caucus process.
In some states, to register as an independent means that one is not able to participate in the primary or caucus process.---kresge

Exactly!!

To be registered Independent means no party has access to your vote until you WANT the access to be available.

It changes the entire game!

Neither party can sddress the African American vote until it is all on the line.

Both parties stated intent are formally incorporated into the respective platforms.

Those planks will have to be developed WITHOUT the assurance of African American 'power brokers' who say they 'have the handle' on 'which way we will go.'

Talk about 'sweat equity.'

The general campaign will have to really 'talk turkey.'

We will begin to get a sense of power of our vote in America's politics.

We might even decide to form an African American Political Committee.

Once we do that, wannabe candidates will come to us wanting to be our candidate BASED ON THE PLANKS IN OUR PLATFORM!!!!

See how easy it becomes.

And Jesse (Sr. and Jr.), and Al, and Kwiesi, and Ford, and Obama, and a whole bunch of European American wannabees will be 'knocking on our door.'

With promises you wouldn't believe.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
To be registered Independent means no party has access to your vote until you WANT the access to be available.

It changes the entire game!

Neither party can sddress the African American vote until it is all on the line.

Both parties stated intent are formally incorporated into the respective platforms.

Those planks will have to be developed WITHOUT the assurance of African American 'power brokers' who say they 'have the handle' on 'which way we will go.'

Talk about 'sweat equity.'

The general campaign will have to really 'talk turkey.'

We will begin to get a sense of power of our vote in America's politics.

We might even decide to form an African American Political Committee.

Once we do that, wannabe candidates will come to us wanting to be our candidate BASED ON THE PLANKS IN OUR PLATFORM!!!!

See how easy it becomes.

And Jesse (Sr. and Jr.), and Al, and Kwiesi, and Ford, and Obama, and a whole bunch of European American wannabees will be 'knocking on our door.'

With promises you wouldn't believe.

PEACE

Jim Chester

For those of us who want to have a more direct say in the parties (Libertarian, Democratic, Republican, ...) platform or in the parties nominee, your suggestion is unacceptable. Further, I do not see what you present resulting in anything "becoming easy."

As I have suggested before, I think that before one will see any radical transformation of the government or the existing political parties, we will have to see the radical restructuring of the political process along the lines of proportional representation, instant run-offs, an end to winner take all elections, etc. As long as we are tied to a two party system, minority voices will be stifled.

An African American Political Committee may have some merit in the interim, but I would question the extent to which it could speak for a majority of African Americans. The community is simply to diverse. What, pray tell, in your mind would be central elements of the platform.
I've only read the last two posts of JWC and Kresge, but ...

I can actually see both of your points of views ... and I must say both are compelling arguments. The way I see it, I understand Mr. Chester's point about registering independent ... but the only thing about that is, it wouldn't really be more than just a label. It's no secret which way Black folks have a history of voting and what our specific views are. I do not believe Republicans would drasically change their platform to "court" us or our vote ... although admittedly when it comes to the prevailing mindset of those in power, the term "independent" gets a load of attention paid to it, from both sides. Everyone goes after those swing votes. But in a choice between Dem and Repub, there's really only one way Black folks can swing! Eek

A viable third-party to turn to will be the only way to get either party to act right towards us. One with an acceptable platform and candidate. That would be the only kind of "threat" that really scared either party ... and both of them need - deserve - a good shit in the pants! Razz

However, I also believe that a massive (re)registration of Black folks into the Independant party at this stage of the game would definitely be an eye opener ek And, perhaps, rattle a cage or two, because if we could actually show that kind of unification, and a definitive show of control over and the degree of clout that the power of our vote has ... maybe then, until we get that third party, we could get a larger degree of respect in the political arena.

So, I'd have to agree with both y'all Big Grin tfro
An African American Political Committee may have some merit in the interim, but I would question the extent to which it could speak for a majority of African Americans. The community is simply to diverse. What, pray tell, in your mind would be central elements of the platform.---kresge

I understand your point made earlier in your post concerning 'having a say' in politics. There is the saying of course that 'All politics are local.'

We have thousands and thousands of local politicians, and we still stand outside 'with our noses pressed against the window.'

But look what happens if the aspiring African American politicians register Independent as well.

As for the planks of the African American Political Committee, it's a clean slate.

Write the prescription that fills the need.

Politics is a lot like law. Ownership can nine points of the issue.

Having a political committee is the table stakes for the game.

Without one you simply cannot get into the game.
quote:
Originally posted by Solomonic:
If statutes bar independents from participating in the primaries then registering as Independent is untenable. The last thing African Americans need is to have whites pick the candidates leaving us with an either or choice.


Wrong.

The only thing untenable about register Independents is their number. When number becomes larger the game must account for that power base.

Consider the Senator from New England.

One man in 100 votes.

When he decided he didn't like the way he was being treated by the Republican Party. He swithche.

He didn't become a Democrat.

He became an Independent.

The in-place strategy of both parties changed.

Immediately.


PEACE

Jim Chester
I can dig the Independant idea. It does seem that the more we spread ourselves across the two parties, the less power we have in our voices. We've been more or less taken advantage of by the Democratic party, and aligning ourselves with Repubs (whom I feel are truly the opposition) is out of the question. The only use for Blacks in regards to Democrats is to keep our votes away from the Republicans. Same for the Conservatives. It's all a political conspiracy to 'divide and conquer'.
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
quote:
Originally posted by Solomonic:
If statutes bar independents from participating in the primaries then registering as Independent is untenable. The last thing African Americans need is to have whites pick the candidates leaving us with an either or choice.


Wrong.

The only thing untenable about register Independents is their number. When number becomes larger the game must account for that power base.

Consider the Senator from New England.

One man in 100 votes.

When he decided he didn't like the way he was being treated by the Republican Party. He swithche.

He didn't become a Democrat.

He became an Independent.

The in-place strategy of both parties changed.

Immediately.


PEACE

Jim Chester




What the...?

Understand the example you cited was a unique exception and not the rule. Moreover, that 50/50 split was eliminated in the 2002 election. The tie existed for less than two years! We cannot expect long-term results depending on temporary anomalies.

The important thing to remember is that the Republicans have the President, along with majorities in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and on the Supreme Court. In fact, Republicans control a majority of the governorships and state legislatures throughout the United States. They won this hegemony without the support of African Americans who vote Democratic at nearly a ninety percent clip.

The Republicans don't need the African American vote! They are doing fine without it. They have not needed it since they abandoned the freedmen in 1876.

The party of the Willie Horton ad campaign knows which side its bread is buttered on. They know they need to pay lip service to the backlashers and evangelicals whose votes enable them to cut taxes for the rich, give big business a free ride, and implement neo-con policies worldwide. They also know that they are winning election after election without blacks. So what's in it for the Republicans?

These days they are focusing on Federal Court judges, the last vestige of the Federal Government they don't control outright. They are paying more attention to what college professors are saying in their classrooms and what Bill Maher quips about on HBO than courting the black vote.

Blacks don't need to remove ourselves from the Democratic Party; we need to fight for greater influence within the party. The Republicans simply do not offer a real alternative for us to leverage our votes.
Understand the example you cited was a unique exception and not the rule. Moreover, that 50/50 split was eliminated in the 2002 election. The tie existed for less than two years! We cannot expect long-term results depending on temporary anomalies.---Solomonic

The point of registering Independent is independence. The arithmetic is anecdotal. There is always only one in the beginning.

The point of registering Independent is also more than the 'language of a society.'

Registering Independent is ultimately about acquiring and asserting power.

While neither party may need us, both parties need to control us.

Keeping us in their house, any house they control, is success for them.

Defeat for us.


PEACE

Jim Chester
And in addition to what Kevin says, we also need to be more active in our LOCAL governments. Our cities, towns, our individual wards if we live in big cities... planning boards, city council meetings, civic events, and such. Not only do we focus too much on national political power instead of economics, we focus too much on national politics instead of local politics. Our local politics, and economics, is where we need to be more focused, IMO.

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