The Cost Of Bloc Voting
May 08, 2008, 02:04 AM
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This is from Time Magazine's website—black voters in Indiana felt ignored by both Barack and Hillary.
Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2008
Indiana Black Voters Feeling Ignored For weeks, Delores Smith, membership coordinator at the Madame C. J. Walker Theater in Indianapolis, has e-mailed and called Sen. Barack Obama's representatives, hoping he'll hold a campaign event at the 937-seat theater. It is, after all, named in honor of one of the nation's first black millionaires. And its place in the heart of one of Indianapolis' oldest black neighborhoods makes it a key stop for candidates seeking this city's nearly quarter-million African-American voters — the largest concentration in Indiana. But so far, Smith says, "I haven't heard anything."

Even before the major distraction this week caused by the remarks of black liberation theologist and former Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright, black voters in Indiana have been feeling ignored. While both Democratic presidential candidates have been jockeying for the rural, working-class white voters who make up much of Indiana's electorate, they have been largely absent from predominantly black neighborhoods that have historically been among the party's strongholds. For much of the campaign in Indiana, as well as around the country, many black voters feel there has been little effort to engage them on issues that have particular impact in the black community, such as the home foreclosure and HIV crises.

Amos Brown III, one of Indianapolis' most popular black talk radio hosts, says many African Americans here, like elsewhere in the country, were buoyed by Obama's success in overwhelmingly white states like Iowa and Idaho. Obama generated even more local excitement with his March 15 visit to a suburban Indianapolis high school. But since then, Brown says many of his listeners are asking, "Where is he? And, is he going to come to the 'hood or not?' Hoosiers, black or white," Brown adds, "like to be courted. It's important to go to the smaller towns, but it's just as important to go out into the neighborhoods of the big city. I haven't seen that with Barack or Hillary."[More]

In the general election, blacks vote 90 percent for the Democrats. In the Hillary vs Barack primary, they vote more than 90 percent for Barack. That means both candidates can ignore them—Hillary because she can't get their votes, Barack because he's already got them. If blacks want more positive attention from the Democratic candidates, some of them will have to consider voting Republican.