Election '06: Winners and Losers
By Shola Adenekan
Whether you like it or not, the whole world has been gripped by the US midterm election this week.
The centre right Republican Party had hoped to hail 2006 as the year of the black Republican. But with high-profile failures in Maryland's Senate race and in governor contests in Ohio and Pennsylvania, prospects for GOP gains among black voters turned up short this year and gave little hope for 2008.
Michael Steele, Maryland's lieutenant governor, lost by almost 10 percentage points to Rep. Ben Cardin.
Ken Blackwell, a conservative darling who would have been Ohio's first black governor, lost by almost 24 percentage points; Lynn Swann lost his bid for the Pennsylvania governor's office by 21 percentage points.
The three black Republicans were touted as a new front for the party.
Conservatives did little to help their image among blacks with the racist ad against Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., who sought to replace Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in Tennessee and become the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction.
They ran one of the cycle's most replayed ads, featuring a bubbly blonde telling Ford to call her.
Critics said the commercial made an implicit appeal to deep-seated racial fears about black men and white women.
With exit polls suggesting that nine out of ten African Americans voted for the centre left Democratic Party, here is what some Black writers think of the outcome of the election in which the Democrats regained both houses of the US Congress:
Booker Rising says:
I supported Rep. Harold Ford Jr.'s candidacy almost a year before he even officially announced it in Summer 2005. I would have voted for the moderate-liberal Democrat if I lived in Tennessee.
Yet someone must call out the political ramifications of Rep. Ford Jr.'s very-ill-fated and impulsive choice in allowing his love for white women to override his common and political sense by attending the Playboy Super Bowl Party, and thus giving the Republican National Committee the political ammunition in the first place to undermine his political goals via that controversial "Call Me" ad.
Bob Corker, the former mayor or Chattanooga, got 51% of the vote to Rep. Ford Jr.'s 48% of the vote. Mr. Corker led by about 48,495 votes. That is probably much closer than many folks believed Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. could do in Tennessee. Overall, he ran a fantastic campaign.
Yet the botttom line is that had Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. been dating or (politically even better) married to a Black Pearl, like Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has done, instead of chasing after white bimbos (vs. even dating a quality white woman), he would probably be U.S. Senator-Elect Harold Ford Jr. preparing to join Sen. Obama in the legislative chamber and not Harold Ford trying to decide what to do in a post-political career.
Let this be a lesson for other black men who seek higher political office: when you believe that you are too good for black women, don't be surprised if chasing after white women hurts your career with voters. Particularly in a tight political race.
A scene from the Republican Party's campaign ad against Harold Ford Jr., click on the picture to view the video posted on You Tube
Harold Ford Jr.
African American Political Pundit says:
Well, well, it’s clear a loud message has been sent to Bush. He has been put on notice by the American people that voters want change in direction, especially regarding the war in Iraq. Now the democrats control the House and the Virginia recount may decide who will control the U.S. Senate. It’s good news for democrats across the board, even in governorships across America.
African American’s need to make sure Democratic promises of a broad new agenda happens. But the broad new agenda must address issues of African Americans as well.
It’s not all about the middle class folks, let’s not forget about the poor people of our country. A living wage and health care for the millions who lack health care insurance is so important to that agenda.
Hopefully, another item to the Democratic agenda will be to fix the many voting issues across the U.S. Including the many voting machine computer problems.
Jack and Jill Politics says:
OK. I not only got a little misty watching the returns last night but being black, I also did a little dancing. Touchdown dancing. Wave your arms in the air -- "Hip Hop horayyy...Heyyy....Hooooo" style dancing. Raise the roof dancing. Excited fake jogging in place dancing. Awww yeahhh boy-yeee!
You've heard all the analysis on TV and read a lot of blogs and papers. But now let's talk about what this means for brothers and sisters in America. Let's just say there's good news, some more good news and some bad news. Some history was made yesterday. For African-Americans. For all Americans.
* All Black Republican candidates lose.
* Keith Ellison, an African-American and a progressive, became the first Muslim elected to Congress in American history. This news is so big that people can't even wrap their minds around it.
Skeptical Brother says:
The horrifying specter of a Ford presidency is dead. Barack Obama, the Safe Negro, can breathe easy again. Tennessee voters, enthralled by the wingnut hysteria and false message of the religious right denied Harold Ford Jr’s. the chance to play on the bigtime stage of the U.S. Senate.
Anderson at Large says:
There’s good news. Black voters are in the house this Election Day. From Massachusetts to Ohio to Tennessee to Virginia, blacks are letting their voices be heard.
Prof. Charles Ogletree reported that blacks in Massachusetts are determined not to be denied their right to vote. When the e-voting machines failed, they demanded -- and got -- paper ballots. When the polls were late getting started, election officials agreed to keep the polls open later. And it didn’t take a court order. Election officials may be slow but they know it’s a no-brainer to take on a bunch of Harvard lawyers.
Ogletree: “People here up North are feeling a sense of renewal, that their vote will be counted…People are stepping up to the plate and making a difference.”
Peteey Talley, convener of the Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation, reported on the difference that voter education has made in Ohio. Talley said her coalition got the word out that people could vote early, which has cut down on long lines. Poll workers were less stressful because there were fewer voters.
Main picture: Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected into the US House of Representative celebrates with his supporters.
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