Friday, May 20, 2005

Harrisburg harbinger?

A while back, I posted a couple of items on how the GOP was courting the Black community. I mentioned how it would be interesting to see how this plays out. Last week, there was a fund raiser in Harrisburg, Pa. The MSM did not think much of it, since there was barely a mention. Donna Brazile, a veteran campaign strategist and some other dems have taken notice of this event. Donald Lambro explains why in his article.

"The GOP chairman rarely, if ever, attends fund-raisers for local elected officials this far down the political totem pole, but this event was an unusual case that sent new fears rippling through Democratic ranks.

The candidate is Otto Banks, a 33-year-old African-American and the biggest vote-getter in Harrisburg, a predominantly black and overwhelmingly Democratic city where a Republican hasn't been elected to the city council in nearly 20 years.
Like everyone else on the all-black city council, Mr. Banks was a Democrat -- that is, until this March when he announced he had become disenchanted and was joining the Republicans.

But there was much more going on here than just another local official making a party switch. Mr. Banks, an articulate Pennsylvania State University graduate, is a political star whose desertion was supported by some other city council Democrats.

Two of Mr. Banks' council colleagues stood with him when he held a news conference to announce his switch. Their unspoken message: We're not ready to join him, but we support what he's doing and why he's doing it."
The fact that Mr. Banks had changed parties would be unremarkable, except that he is a huge vote getter in Harrisburg and two of his calleagues stood by his side as he made his announcement. This could have a ripple effect as more in the Black community begin to realize that the DNC has taken their vote for granted. What should further worry the DNC, was Al Sharpton's complaint of the lack of color at DNC headquarters.
" "There's been a huge ripple" in the Democratic Party as a result of his switch, Mr. Banks told me. The reaction has been particularly favorable within his community. "More and more people of color are starting to take a second look at the Republican Party."

Mr. Banks, who now calls himself a "progressive Republican," voted for John Kerry in 2004, but after the campaign "took some time off and really started to do some soul-searching. I realized that many of the ownership and economic opportunity issues I stood behind were actually part of the president's program."
He is, for example, for school choice programs. He likes the idea of workers investing some payroll contributions and building a nest egg they can own and leave to their families.

Most troubling, he said, is how Democrats have treated their party's most loyal constituency. "The Democrats have definitely taken their African-American base for granted," he said. "We have lost our influence in the Democratic Party and by losing that, we have lost our ability to influence policies in our community.""
This could have a huge impact on the 2006 elections. Even a small movement of the Black vote from dem/leftist to the GOP, may well change the results in several close elections. The dem/leftists are very dependent on the Black vote. Others in the Blcak community have found that their views are mor in line with the GOP than the DNC.

This will be very interesting to watch. A shift in the Black vote from the DNC could change the future political landscape significantly. - Sailor

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