Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Discouraged ... Or Just Smart and Thoughtful?

There are increasing reports that one of the major reasons the Democrats did so badly in this election was that many African American voters stayed home. When they did vote, African Americans delivered over 90% of their vote to the Democrats.

Perhaps they were discouraged, as some commentators suggest - I'm sure at least some African Americans were discouraged.

But I also think that something else is also going on: More thoughtful African Americans understand that the racial demonization of the Republicans and George Bush that has been perpetrated by the Democrats is at least dubious. I write this largely on the basis of admittedly personal, anecdotal experience - but also on structural grounds. Specifically, every day every American sees Colin Powell and Condi Rice acing it. Secretary of Education Rod Paige has an unenviable, tough job - but he toughs it out and makes a difference.

I don't think these appointments and performances have converted millions of Afrian Americans to Republicanism. But, I also think that together with the President's education and faith-based initiatives, the whole package has raised enough doubts in the more thoughtful, private reaches of the African-American community to increase their resistence to the usual Democrat race-mongering. It may not yet be enough to create a substantial African-American vote for Republicans - but it's likely enough to persuade at least a substantial minority of African-Americans not to vote Democratic.

Sometimes not voting at all is the correct, rational, public-spirited decision. Goo goos take note.

UPDATE: The more this kind of thing spews from the left, the more the African American community is likely to pause and wonder who speaks in their names.

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