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Black Voters Look To Leverage Their Loyalty

(AP) — When black voters gave President Barack Obama 93 percent support on Election Day in defiance of predictions that they might sit it out this year, black leaders breathed a collective sigh of relief.

That encouraged those leaders to try to leverage more attention from both Obama and Congress. Although they waver over how much to demand from the president — particularly in light of defeated GOP challenger Mitt Romney's assertion that Obama gave "gifts" to minorities in exchange for their votes — they are delivering postelection wish lists to the president anyway.

"I think the president heard us loud and clear. The collective message was, 'Let's build on where we already are,'" the Rev. Al Sharpton told reporters after a White House meeting last week with a collection of advocates representing largely Democratic constituencies.

Specifically, Sharpton said, that means keeping the brunt of the looming "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending cuts off the backs of the middle and working class.

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous aimed that same message at Congress, especially on where tax relief is extended.

"We need Republicans to think hard and to pull back from the cliff 98 percent of our families, who make up the bulk of this nation, from seeing our taxes being raised," Jealous said.

Blacks made up 13 percent of the electorate this year, about the same as 2008, while participation among whites shrank slightly to 72 percent and Hispanics increased to 10 percent, national exit polls showed. Black leaders point to that minority participation as they sharpen their calls for initiatives to address black unemployment, which was 12.7 percent when Obama took office, peaked at 16.5 percent roughly a year later, and stood at 14.3 percent in October. The overall unemployment rate is 7.9 percent.

National Urban League President Marc Morial acknowledged in an interview that "we sweated turnout all the way to the end," because the country's underlying economic conditions made it tougher to mobilize black voters. Within days of the election, Morial sent to Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., an "urgent petition" asking that Obama's second term focus on economic opportunity and income inequality.

A jobs program should emphasize infrastructure and public works, broadband technology and energy "with a special focus on those communities where unemployment is and remains stubbornly and persistently high," Morial's letter said.

"We who represent the nation's urban communities will demand a seat at the table in these discussions," he wrote.

African-American voter samples in national exit polls are not useful for providing turnout measurements. Census surveys and other analyses eventually will provide turnout numbers for specific racial groups. But exit polls can be used to examine different groups as shares of the overall vote. And there, experts say, is where the evidence can be found of how much black voters delivered for Obama.

Nationally, Obama's share of the black vote was down slightly from four years ago. But in some key states, turnout was higher and had an impact, said David Bositis, an expert on black politics and voting at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Blacks made up 15 percent of the electorate in Ohio, up from 11 percent in 2008. And 97 percent of those votes went for Obama, leading Bositis to say Obama's margin of victory in the state came from black voters.

In Michigan, the black share of the vote grew from 12 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2012, according to exit polls.

"Michigan was one of the states the two parties jostled around, and eventually Republicans decided they were not going to win, and one of the reasons was the big increase in the black vote," Bositis said.

In Missouri, a state Obama lost in both elections, the black vote went from 13 percent to 16 percent of all voters.

Bositis said the black share of the vote remained roughly the same at 23 percent in North Carolina, which Obama narrowly won in 2008 but lost in 2012, and 13 percent in Florida, which Obama won both times. In Virginia, which Obama won in both elections, black voters were 20 percent of all voters, he said.

Women and people from ages 18 to 29 had the strongest participation levels in the black community.

In 2008, black women had the highest turnout rate, 69 percent, of all groups. Their 2008 record created a sense of obligation among some black female leaders to take an active role against new state voting laws they said threatened to curb black voter participation. Black women made up 60 percent of the black vote this year and voted 95 percent for Obama.

The enthusiasm of black women was demonstrated in Florida when more than 250 churches marched their congregations to the polls as part of the "Souls To the Polls" early voting campaign, said Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. A large percentage of the marchers were women, Campbell said.

"Countless women stood in line for hours to vote early so they could volunteer to work at the polls to help in the fight against voter suppression," Campbell said.

Black voters ages 18-29 made up 26 percent of the black vote nationally, a turnout close to what it was in 2008, according to the national exit poll. They voted 91 percent for Obama.

Republicans had reached out to black voters in 2004 and saw their share of the black vote increase in that election, Bositis said. But he said that in 2012, the outreach was nonexistent.

Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee chairman, said the GOP had an opportunity this election to connect with black voters on unemployment, health disparities, incarceration and other issues.

"How the heck do you win if you don't engage in the conversation?" Steele said.
 

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Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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They (balck voters) are of zero value to the Dims. They will turn out for the Ds and vote for the D candidate irregardless of actual group interest, and accordingly the "leverage" is essentially nil. if they think otherwise, they are delusional.
 

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They (balck voters) are of zero value to the Dims. They will turn out for the Ds and vote for the D candidate irregardless of actual group interest, and accordingly the "leverage" is essentially nil. if they think otherwise, they are delusional.
You're buying your own BS. It is in the best interest of black and Hispanic voters to increase the accessibility of higher education and to address the income disparity that is increasing, thanks in part to the lighter tax burden borne by that segment of the ecconomy which is engaged mostly in the upward redistribution of wealth.

What do the Republicons really offer them?
 

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Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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You're buying your own BS. It is in the best interest of black and Hispanic voters to increase the accessibility of higher education and to address the income disparity that is increasing, thanks in part to the lighter tax burden borne by that segment of the ecconomy which is engaged mostly in the upward redistribution of wealth.

What do the Republicons really offer them?[/QUOTE]

A chance to keep some reasonable proportion of what they earn once they break out of the minimum wage jobs they will be stuck in under Demonrat hegemony.
 

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Diamond with Oak Clusters Bullet Member
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You're buying your own BS. It is in the best interest of black and Hispanic voters to increase the accessibility of higher education and to address the income disparity that is increasing, thanks in part to the lighter tax burden borne by that segment of the ecconomy which is engaged mostly in the upward redistribution of wealth.

What do the Republicons really offer them?

First of all, many of those do not have the qualifications to go to college. So higher education is a waste of resources.
 

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You're buying your own BS. It is in the best interest of black and Hispanic voters to increase the accessibility of higher education
The only thing you could be talking about is free cosmetology schools. You can't be talking about four year colleges.

How could we do more? We pay, yes pay, black students to go to college. Grad schools fall all over themselves (actively recruit) to get black students. You only have to appear to be qualified.

In law school I shared classes with black students who were on a free ride with books and a "stipend" that had nowhere near my test scores or undergrad grades.

Here in my city, the County School Board will let blacks with any (any) bachelors degree get a free Masters in Teaching while already working as a full time teacher (with no certification).

I have two bachelors degrees and a JD. I'd have to go to school full time for a year to earn a Masters in Teaching, pass the boards, gets certified, and then -only then- apply for open teaching vacancies. My wife had to sub for over a year before getting a job.
 

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To get to college, you have to have good grades. You don't get good grades by hangimg out with your "homies" on the street listening to rap on your ghetto blaster and selling crack.
 

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You're buying your own BS. It is in the best interest of black and Hispanic voters to increase the accessibility of higher education and to address the income disparity that is increasing, thanks in part to the lighter tax burden borne by that segment of the ecconomy which is engaged mostly in the upward redistribution of wealth.

What do the Republicons really offer them?
Sorry, Lefty but affirmative action preferential admission to college has had no result except a lot of african-americans flunking out. We've tried putting more money and more black students into higher education and all we've found out is that we're at least 12 years too late. Kids raised in a culture that doesn't give anything more to education than lip service or belief in a degree as a magical document will not produce high academic achievement, regardless. You might read todays column by By Leonard Pitts Jr., in the Miami Herald - he's one of your fellow "progressives". As such he wont say a word against african-american culture but you can ask yourself which is better - that or the cultural, educational and work values exercised (at least in theory) by most Republicans. Those values would close the income gap. Your failed socialist bandaids just perpetuate the recipients as government dependents and economic and educational failures.


Lowering the bar is not the answer

I take this one personally. Let me tell you why.

As I recall, I scored 960 on my SAT. This was good enough for second-best in my class and many congratulations and backslaps from teachers and administrators. Based on that, I thought I'd done pretty well.

So I'm in college, right? Freshman year, and I get to talking with my roommate, this white guy named Reed, about our SAT scores. Reed's kind of sheepish, finally confessing that he scored "only" about 1200.

That's when I realized I had not done pretty well. I had done pretty well for a student of John C. Fremont High, in the poverty, crime and grime of South Los Angeles. I had done pretty well for a black kid.

As it happens, I started classes at the University of Southern California at 15 years of age, got good grades and came out four years later with my degree. So there was nothing wrong with my brain. I've always suspected my modest SAT score and the fact that I was encouraged to celebrate it said less about me than about the expectations others had of me — and kids like me.

So yes, it touches me in a raw spot, this news that two states — Florida and Virginia — have adopted new education standards under which they would set different goals for students, based on race, ethnicity and disability.

Like many other states, Florida and Virginia requested waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act's unrealistic goal of having every child at grade level in reading and math by 2014. But these states used their waivers to create separate and unequal performance standards for their black, white, Hispanic, Asian and disabled children.

Last month, for example, Florida set a goal of having 86 percent of white kids at or above grade level in math by 2018. For black kids, the goal is 74 percent. Virginia is wrestling with similar standards.

In fairness, both states would want you to know a couple of things. First, that these dissimilar standards reflect the achievement gap, the fact that kids do not start toward the goal from the same place. Black kids may have to cover more ground to reach a lower benchmark because they are starting from further behind. The second thing is that these are interim goals and the ultimate goal remains the same: close the achievement gap and educate every child to her fullest potential.

Understood. But if that's what these standards are, can we talk for a moment about what they feel like? The best analogy I can give you is based in the fact that some coaches and athletic directors have noted a steep decline in the number of white kids going out for basketball. They feel as if they cannot compete with their black classmates. What if we addressed that by lowering the rim for white kids? What if we allowed them four points for each made basket?

Can you imagine how those white kids would feel whenever they took the court? How long would it be before they internalized the lie that there is something about being white that makes you inherently inferior when it comes to hoops, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki notwithstanding?

Indeed, for all the talk about the so-called "reverse racism" of affirmative action, I have long argued that the real problem with it — and the reason it needs an expiration date — is that it might give African-American kids the mistaken idea they carry some inherent deficiency that renders them unable to compete with other kids on an equal footing.

We should be wary of anything, however well-intentioned, however temporary, which conveys that impression to our children. I am proof we have been doing just that for a very long time. And it burns — I tell you this from experience — to realize people have judged you by a lower standard, especially when you had the ability to meet the higher one all along. So this "interim" cannot end soon enough.

Because ultimately, you do not fix education by lowering the bar. You do it by lifting the kids.
 
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