Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Need to register black voters, who you gonna call?

By DeWayne Wickham

OK, OK. I know Jesse Jackson put a foot in his mouth a few weeks back when he was overheard complaining about how Barack Obama talks to black folks - and for suggesting that he'd like to snip off a piece of the Democratic presidential candidate's anatomy.

But Jackson apologized and Obama said he accepted the Baptist minister's mea culpa. But have the people running Obama's campaign gotten over that slight? I don't think so. If they had someone on Obama's team would have reached out to Jackson by now to get him to mount a major voter registration effort in support of Obama's White House run.

With just two months left before election day, Republican John McCain took a 4-point lead over Obama among registered voters in a Gallup Poll released Monday. McCain's lead stretched to 10 points among likely voters.

This bad news came just days after I obtained a confidential document from the Obama camp that is even more alarming.

In the battleground states of Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Virginia, hundreds of thousands of blacks who are eligible to vote are not registered to vote.
Thirty-five percent of eligible black voters in the metropolitan areas of Miami and Jacksonville, Fla., aren't registered; 38 percent in Indianapolis, and 27 percent in Detroit.

In the metropolitan areas of Richmond and Norfolk, Va., 40 percent of eligible black voters aren't registered. Thirty-two percent of Atlanta's eligible blacks aren't registered. In Denver, 41 percent of that city's eligible black voters are not on the city's voting rolls.

Jesse Jackson registered millions of blacks during his 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns - and in the years since. But so far, the Obama campaign hasn't called upon him to help get more blacks registered in time to vote in the November general election.

This is a mistake the political strategists running Obama's campaign may soon come to regret.

1 comment:

Pat said...

An interesting idea, but why do black folks need Jesse to rally them up to register to vote? If Jesse gets sick and can't hit the "register to vote road", then I guess we should all just stay home and not vote at all. It is truly sad that far too many African Americans fail to realize the power of the vote. Other ethnic and minority groups have made that connenction without a Jesse to wake them up. Hopefully, we will wake up and make that connection. Unfortunatley, I believe too many of us will sleep right through this election.

Pat Wheeler