September 23, 2002
Can you tell itís an election year?
Thereís so much political pandering going on right now with just six weeks to go until the general election that Iím thinking of starting a Macintosh computer users group so the political candidates will start paying attention to my needs as a Mac addict. Itís probably a futile attempt, but it is certainly worth a shot!
The 2002 election cycle has come down to a single group of people who have traditionally voted for Democrats from generation to generation: African-Americans. However, this year there is a concerted effort on the part of the Republican Party and the GOP gubernatorial nominee to reach out to this group of voters who have been overtly taken advantage of by the Democrats for far too long!
The Spartanburg County GOP and Steve Parker have been running a radio ad designed to attract African-American voters to vote for Republicans in this yearís elections. Over 200 spots will run on a local black gospel station between now and November 5th in an attempt to convince African-American voters to choose Republican candidates this time. It is a bold move that, if successful, may be a foreshadowing of things to come for Republican candidates in future elections held across America.
The liberal newspaper columnist everyone loves to hate, Lee Bandy, wrote an article in yesterdayís issue of The State entitled ďBlacks worry about GOP taking reinsĒ. In typical Bandy fashion, it details about how awful it would be for the African-American community if Republicans end up controlling both the governorís office and both houses of the General Assembly after Novemberís elections. Oh, boo hoo! Can you get any more pathetic than that?!
I guess the campaign season is now officially kicked into high gear (well, as high gear as this oneís going to get anyway). Predictably, when liberal Democrats are losing (and losing BAD!) politically, their response is usually fearmongering and class warfare. That is the exact strategy being implored by the Democrats through their journalistic cohort Bandy. Let the games begin!
The Republicans and Democrats are now engaged in an all-out tug-o-war for the African-American vote!
Democrats claim that they have been the party that has taken care of African-Americans over the years providing for their needs while Republicans have been described as being bigoted, racist and mean-spirited towards them. With over 95% of African-Americans voting for Democrats, the party of Hodges and Hollings has slowly begun taking these important voters for granted. This has slowly opened the door to the political coffin for Democrats in South Carolina.
Enter GOP candidate for South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.
Sanford has been actively courting the African-American vote by visiting black churches and meeting privately with leaders in the African-American community. He is reaching out to a group of voters who have traditionally been overlooked by the Republican Party. Sanford believes the issues he supports are ones that are attractive to African-American voters. For his efforts, Sanford hopes he can earn 10% or more of the African-American vote. Political analysts say if Sanford can accomplish that, then he will undoubtedly become the next governor of South Carolina (as if there is any doubt in any thinking personís mind otherwise).
While many African-American leaders in the state seem to like Sanford after they meet him in person, none have made the decision to support him publicly. Their concern is not with his willingness to reach out to them, but rather in his message. Some African-Americans feel insulted by the constant political pandering they have been subjected to. However, the Democrats have been doing it for years. What is the difference now that Republicans have chosen to do it?
Nevertheless, the lack of interest by African-Americans in supporting Republicans may have more to do with peer pressure than anything else. There is a real stigma within the African-American community against voting for a Republican...EVER! The Democratic Party has been successful at spreading this fear of Republicans throughout the African-American community. There is a deep-seeded history of hate and violence associated with the idea of conservative leadership dating back to the civil rights era.
The concern, whether it is real or imagined, is that African-Americans will not have a voice in government if Republicans are elected. This misnomer explains why Democrats continually receive an overwhelming majority of the African-American vote in every election! The 2002 election may be the beginning of a political paradigm shift.
If Jim Hodges and the Democrats think they have the African-American vote in the bag, then they may be in for a huge surprise on Election Day! Many of those voters may just decide to stay home. Quite a few other brave ones will have the courage to vote Republican. Many African-Americans in South Carolina will be voting for Republicans for the very first time in their lives in November. It will be a beautiful sight to see Mark Sanford and the Republican ticket capture 10 percent or more of the African-American vote.
Jim Hodges has failed the African-American community just like he has failed every other voter in this state. Gov. Mark Sanford will lead South Carolinians of all races into a future filled with promise and prosperity. When he does, African-Americans will remember what he did for them the next time an election cycle rolls around in 2004 (when George W. Bush will be re-elected President of the United States and Sen. Fritz Hollings will be soundly defeated by...well, thatíll be a future article!).