For black Democrats, what now?

An article in today’s Savannah Morning News contemplates the future of the black vote in Chatham County and the rest of Georgia. The piece presents a dilemma in which many blacks feel the Democratic Party takes their vote for granted – 85-to-90 percent of African Americans in Georgia have historically voted Democratic, according to the article – while Republicans completely ignore their vote.

But [the Rev. Benny Mitchell, the politically active pastor of Connor’s Baptist Temple Church] also knows that many Republicans tend to write blacks off because they figure few of them are going to vote for them anyway. And he’s equally aware that, after appropriate lip service, Democrats often ignore them because they figure they have nowhere else to go.

So with the 2006 GOP resurgence in Georgia, and African Americans now composing a large bloc of the Democrats under the Gold Dome, could there be a mass exodus of blacks to the Republican Party? Most consider it unlikely at this moment, but, “black elected officials in Chatham County and around the state face a paradox.”

The bottom line is that, under the GOP ascendancy, black-oriented measures, such as those dealing with racial profiling, find it harder to gain traction.

Some members of the black community are concerned by this, others are not. But it appears that African American politicians in Georgia are at a crossroads.

In the state Senate and House, blacks are an increasingly large bloc in an increasingly small corps of Democratic lawmakers. What can — or should — anyone do about it?


  1. ColinATL says:

    I think African American political leaders can and SHOULD be a part of the job of rebuilding Georgia’s Democratic party. Rather than a time of “licking our wounds,” this should be a time of “boundless opportunity.” πŸ™‚

  2. mainstream GOP says:

    I think Republicans should continue to compete for the black vote rather than ignore them, I was really hoping Dylan Glenn would be the Congressman from the 8th right now, and I remember being appauled when Lynn Westmoreland resorted to nasty personal attacks..but maybe Dylan will finally have his chance when Lynn gets stomped by either Casey or Johnny in the ’10 Governor’s race

  3. bowersville says:

    Main, they’ll decide that among themselves and I’ll most certainly agree with them. Not because of their present status, but because I respect them all, especially Handel.

  4. GOPeach says:

    I have worked with JC Watts and Herman Cain. There is nothing more exciting than a black conservative with substance and passion! Dylan Glenn is a class act.

    tMy son worked on Keith Bulter and Alan Keys’ campaigns and we are very glad to always back hese strong voices who have more backbone than most “white folks”!

  5. mainstream GOP says:

    GOPeach, I really like that video, I would have to agree that many of my black friends (ecspecially those that attend Church often) are both pro-life and pro-traditional marrige..but some how they arnt getting the message, they vote Democrat because most black people vote Democrat and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made sure that it is difficult for them to find the truth, that Republicans arn’t racist and we welcome the black vote and we dont take advantage of them like the Democrats do..if it werent for the Black vote, the Georgia Democratic party would disolve yet they continue to take it for granted rather than listen to their concerns.

    Alan Keyes? I can’t stand that man..he is a cook if I’ve ever seen one, I knew you were an ultra-conservative..but I didn’t know it was that bad lol…I really like J.C. Watts though.

  6. GOPeach says:

    I think he started out on the right track. My son worked with him when when he first got into politics. I think he did for the black conservatives what Pat Robertson did for Christian Conservatives….

    I would not vote for either Robertson or Keyes
    but I understand their place in politics. They awakened many people who were on the frenge. They gave inactive voters a reason to be involved in elections. That is always exciting!

  7. mainstream GOP says:

    ok, well I guess I can understand that..he wasn’t working on his 1996 or 2000 presidential campaign was he?

  8. GOPeach says:

    1996 in the Presidential Primary against Bob Dole. I shared Alan’s burden for the country. After all he had served in Viet Nam and Clinton was a draft dodger. The Blacks in America needed a leader to rise up and speak out. It was exciting. I have good memories and lots of pictures.

  9. GOPeach says:

    Jeff –

    My son worked with Keyes in 1995 prior to the 1996 primaries. It was a great experience. I remember Ralph Reed endorsing Bob Dole that year. That was a tough year. I tried to just enjoy the Olympics in Atlanta!

    As far as my pic …. not sure I have a dog in this fight yet. I am more concerned about Congress and local Cobb County seats in the 13th Congressional District. I am looking for a strong black man to run against Alicia Morgan or Steve Thompson. This would be my focus.

    So you can go ahead and keep your list Jeff.

    Perhaps you can throw your hat in the ring Jeff!
    Just think how much money you would make when you lost???? πŸ™‚

  10. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Thanks, Peach, but I like to make money in legal ways. Good to know that race is very important to you in local races — working hard for that color-blind society, I see.

  11. GOPeach says:

    No Jeff-

    It’s just that only a black man can unseat a black woman – See McKinney vs. Johnson. The black community is somewhat tribal. Like it or not. That is just the way it is ( in the South).

    Steve Thompson would have a tough time running against a repsected black leader/ coach/ business man in South Cobb. This is what we are hoping for.

  12. GOPeach says:

    Another example of the “black man” thing is the way David Scott (D) trumped Dr. Deborah Honeycutt (R) in the 13th Congressional.

  13. Every vote should be competed for. What draws people to Obama is not his voting record, it is his effective rhetoric. His message is inclusive. People are tired of the sleeziness of politics and want to believe in something. If we conservatives can grasp the concept of cooperation and market it in a positive inclusive way, we’re going to reverse the trend. That is a tough feat.

    When we talk of unity and working toward a common goal, some elements of our Party believe that we’re not conservative enough. We can be effective conservatives without being demogogues.

    There are substantial benefits to conservatism. In my opinion, we have not effectively communicated that message. Whoever does will win.

  14. Bobby Kahn says:

    One problem in communicating the message is the GOP’s complete lack of credibility when it comes to issues of importance to many African American voters. Those issues include under-funding education, the flag, voter ID, predatory lending, etc.

  15. GOPeach says:


    Okay Okay Okay …. One issue at a time here:
    Let’s break it down…

    You have GOT to be kidding me!!!

    This is how Georgia spends its tax dollars:

    – 39 percent – K-12 education

    – 15 percent – Low income medical care (Medicaid, PeachCare, etc.)

    – 12 percent – Colleges and technical schools

    – 10 percent – Corrections, courts, safety, juvenile justice, state patrol

    – 5 percent – Bond payments for construction of public schools, college/technical schools, prisons, some roads

    – 4 percent – Transportation

    – 3 percent – HOPE scholarship

    – 2 percent – Pre-K for 55% of 4-year-olds

    – 10 percent – Everything else, including economic development, environmental protection department, state parks, driver services, agriculture

    How much will state revenues increase from the previous year?

    Total state revenues for next year are projected to be $20.2 billion. The increase from the previous year would be $1.4 billion, excluding motor fuel and lottery revenues.

    When evaluating the state budget, I exclude motor fuel and lottery revenues from the analysis because they are dedicated for specific uses by state constitution. Motor fuel taxes can be spent only on road and bridge improvements by the Department of Transportation.

    Lottery proceeds can be spent only on higher education HOPE scholarships and 4 year old Pre-K classes. (Actually, lottery proceeds could be used for educational technology, but funds have not been allocated for this purpose for five years.) HOPE and Pre-K consume all current lottery revenues. More higher education students are choosing to remain in-state and Pre-K enrollment is increasing above the population rate. HOPE or Pre-K will likely need to be further rationed in the future.

    How will the $1.4 billion increase in general tax revenues be spent?

    1. K-12 education – $650 million

    – 2.65% higher student enrollment, 3% pay raises for teachers and other education employees, higher health insurance premiums.

    – The state will increase its share of health insurance premiums for all state employees. Still, employees will pay 10 percent higher premiums. Without the increase in the state’s proportion, though, employees would have to pay 35 percent higher premiums.

    2. University system and technical schools – $165 million

    – Higher enrollment and facility construction to serve an increasing student population

    3. Medicaid and other low income healthcare benefits – $123 million

    – Higher consumption and increased enrollment (not higher benefit levels

    4. Pre-fund future state employee retiree health benefits – $100 million

    – New federal accounting rules require states to pre-fund future state employee retiree health benefits (when a state offers the benefits)

    5. 3% salary increase for non-teacher state employees- $80 million

    – 70 percent of state salaries are K-12 education. This amount pays for the remaining 30 percent.

    6. Increase state’s portion for (non-teacher) state employee health care benefits – $71 million

    – See note under #1. This covers the other 30 percent of state employees.

    These six categories would account for 86 percent of the projected increase in state revenues for next year.

    Think about it: 86 percent of the increase would be spent only on increased student enrollment, state employee raises and benefits and increased low-income healthcare consumption.

    The remaining 14 percent would pay for increased prison space, additional DFACS caseworkers, immunizations for uninsured, services for disabled Georgians and dozens of other programs. Every proposed program increase is subject to scrutiny and reduction during the budget process.

    I can l go into more detail about the budget for K-12 education and higher education. The issues can be complicated. Differing interests compete for attention, funding and legislation.

    But as I see it Bobby …. We are doing MUCH to fund EDU…. MONEY does not make kids learn – PARENTS DO!

    Unfortunatly — Black ( and White) American kids are now taking a back seat to latinos in public school … PRINTING alone is costing
    millions — to print in SPANISH & ENGLISH..

  16. Calybos1 says:

    I can understand the quandary facing Georgian blacks. It’s tough to choose between the party that _pretends_ to care about you and your issues and the party that doesn’t even bother pretending.

  17. CobbGOPer says:

    And who cares what you think, Bobby Kahn. How much did you and yours do for African-Americans in your time as DPG chair?

    A note on Dylan Glenn and the 8th: even if Westmoreland were to give up that seat and run for something else (guv, senate, whatever), DG still wouldn’t be able to win in that district if a white candidate challenged him. Sad to say, I know, but I worked on that campaign in ’04, and we didn’t lose because Westmoreland had better ideas or better experience. We lost because DG is of a certain skin-color.

  18. rugby_fan says:

    CobbGOPer, while it did not happen during his tenure as chairman, changing the state flag had, and has, a great deal of resonance with African Americans.

  19. CobbGOPer says:

    Obviously it did, seeing as they turned out in great numbers to help Roy Barnes get re-elected as Governor.

    Oh wait, he didn’t get re-elected, did he?

  20. GOPeach says:

    I am very active with the Cobb Black Republican Council which is an auxillary group of the Cobb GOP.

    It serves as a place where “Black Issues” are heard and discussed. I have learned to not assume that I know how they will vote. There is a myth that Blacks will support a Black no matter what. Maybe in the 60’s.

    Here are a few great links for Conservative Blacks:

  21. mainstream GOP says:

    Bobby Con, nice to see you chimed in here..Voter ID would not have been a big issue in the African American community if certain Democrats including you didn’t go and out right lie to them saying their right to vote was in jeopardy, several states have already gone with this, and there has been no infringing on anyones right reguardless of race, it’s as if you Democrats are implying you cant win with out illegal votes..Jimmy Carter, a man who has observed several foreign elections to keep them fair agrees with Democrats can’t win a damn thing in this state with out lieing to the public and trying to misslead them and scare them…and the flag, I have heard no complaints of our new flag, the only ones Im hearing complain are the flaggers..and Im sure African Americans arnt on that side…your statement further shows you take the black vote for granted, you Democrats better watch out because as Republicans get smarter and start working more on courting the black vote..we will be further chipping away at your base..the DPG has never sufferd as many losses as they have under your leadership, what credibility do you have here?

    GOPeach, how many sons do you have lol..this can’t be the one from GSU youre talking about lol..I was behind Bob Dole all the way back then, I was just dissapointed when he picked Jack Kemp to be his running mate, we could have done so much better..not to mention how he always said “Bob Dole thinks….”, that irked me. I would say there isnt the slightest chance of unseating Alicia Thomas Morgan, reguardless of the race of that Republican compare it to Cynthia McKinney vs. Hank Johnson, but Johnson was a Democrat too..and Cathrine Davis was a black Republican and didn’t fair very well either time, and Honeycutt didn’t do to swift either down in the 13th..The only Republican I’d say that has the slightest chance against David Scott would be Herman Cain, but David Scott is not a bad man..he has really been a voice for Dobbins AFB, Lockheed-Martin, and Delta..I would much rather have him in the 13th than some of the other Democrats that are in that area…I think youre right about Steve Thompson though, we could win that seat if we can get a decent candidate down there (and by decent I don’t mean Mark Grant again πŸ˜‰ )

  22. mainstream GOP says:

    to respond to two other points Bobby Con made,

    1. Republicans do have credibility when it comes to the issue of education, we are promoting school choice and vouchers so that children in poor communitys with poor standards of education have the option to attend a different school so they have a fair chance to succeed..the Democrats by and large oppose this; We also tried to strengthen and preserve the HOPE Scholarship last year with the HOPE Chest Amendment that your buddy Mark Taylor was the chief obstructionst in the way of making sure all GA Lotto funds go to the HOPE and Pre-K programs (Programs set up by Zell Miller, but you’d think it was Mark Taylor the way he was talking last year, yet wanted to block this measure) so we’ll try this again now that Casey has the gavel.

    2. The issue of preditory lending is a cause for concern for both parties sir, I can not understand why you would think Republicans wouldn’t care, this is obviously another one of your false scare tactic pieces of propaganda you expect to shove down the throats of the black voters of Georgia…you may disagree, but I think they are smarter than that.

  23. CobbGOPer says:

    I think AA politicos and activists from outside the state pushed that issue in order to profit from it, just as they did in South Carolina. I think the AA community in Georgia was and is more concerned with issues of education, jobs, and community development, things that directly impact their lives. While I’m sure they saw the flag change as a positive action, it wasn’t something that was going to bring them more jobs or better schools, and they knew that.

  24. shotgunjohn says:

    This is a fascinating post. In a similar manner, the GOP takes 2d Amendment advocates for granted – where else will we go? Oh Zell! We miss you!

  25. Adam Fogle says:

    In a similar manner, the GOP takes 2d Amendment advocates for granted – where else will we go?

    That’s a great point and opens other potential paradigms.

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