Evening Exchange; 091092; Black Vote
Good evening. Tonight we begin a three hour look at the impact of the black vote.
Up next on a special edition of evening exchange and in focus.
I am Derek McGinty sitting in for Kojo Nandi. And welcome to a very special edition of evening exchange and in focus tonight we will look at the effect African-Americans have on elections nationally and locally. We begin with a look at the national scene. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus. And as the caucus prepares to celebrate it may soon see his its membership grow from 26 to 39 after the 1990 census a dozen majority black congressional districts were created so far eight of these new districts have been won in five Mary elections by black candidates. How will these victories impact on Congress and the caucus. Joining us to discuss the far reaching effects of reapportionment and the importance of the black vote is David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political Studies. We want you to know that we are going to dedicate the last portion of the evening exchange to hear how you feel about the right to vote. So please be ready to call when we say so. Mr. Sykes Welcome to the program. Glad to have you with all those new Congress members coming into the United States Congress black congress members.
What kind of effect do you expect to see initially on the fairly substantial increase First of all from 26 to the upper 30s. In of itself it's going to be important but the composition of the Congressional Black Caucus is going to change there should be close to 10 women in the Congressional Black Caucus. And if there are say 50 women in the new Congress that means that the black women members of the Congressional Black Caucus are going to be about 20 percent of all the women in Congress. Plus the Democrats are probably going to lose some seats in the house they won seats in the previous three elections and you can't keep increasing your numbers sooner or later they have to start coming down. And if the Democrats lose 20 to 30 seats that means about one in every six Democrat Democrats in the House of Representatives will be back in the next Congress.
Now one important factor to mime is that with a larger group it becomes naturally more unwieldly is it more likely factions in the black caucus that we haven't seen it will really depend upon the issues.
Most of the members will will be representing urban districts. So there will be one thing that will represent a coherent vision in terms of the Congressional Black Caucus and that is the need to deal with the problems of urban America. But there will be factions the Southern members will increase from five at present to probably at least 16. And as I said to the women members will increase from four till probably 10.
With all these new members coming in from the south will they be in the more of the Mike Espy mold from a sitting congressman who has a large proportion of white voters in his district. Well but he has to appeal to in other words you can't just run on the black agenda.
I think that most of them will be more given that their districts and more urban will be more liberal than Mike Espy. Mike Espy is somewhat unusual in that he probably represents the most ruled district the ball the CBC members and so that the new members will still be a fair amount more liberal than Congressman espy.
And we've seen some new members come into the Congressional Black Caucus over the years but it's been a fairly static group a lot of the people there have been in Congress for several times and have created a lot of seniority for themselves with all these new members coming in. Do you think the new dynamic will develop in the membership.
Yes I do. I think that in terms of age. In the beginning of this decade around January 1990 the average age of members of the Congressional Black Caucus was about 57. And probably by the time the the new members are sworn in January of next year the average age will be more like 50. So they'll be a lot younger. It will be a lot more diverse in terms of regions of the country and there will be a lot more women with all this reapportionment and pushing for these congressional districts.
Democrats have ended up with someone likely allies I should say black Democrats because Republicans like the idea of the word ghettoizing all the black votes and one likes to dilute the Democratic voting strength of their districts. What does that say for the overall Democrat Democratic strength in Congress.
I don't think that the Republicans are going to gain all that many seats. It's a it's a long time. Practice is called Packing in terms of redistricting. It's a long time practice and they may pick up three four or five seats. But given that the Democrats have 100 seat majority right now they're being allies too. Especially the blacks in the State legislatures who are drawing these districts. I don't think it's going to change the partisan composition all that much.
You know you brought up something pretty important that is black. State legislators are a lot more states needs to be had federal seats how Lacson state seats fared with reporting the changes would be even more remarkable than in the US Congress when all was said and done.
There probably will be one hundred two maybe even a hundred twenty new black congressional the state legislative districts. There presently are for 60. If you were to get a sense of the feel for the change that's taken place. Louisiana had its new state legislative elections last year after their state legislative redistricting and their black membership in the Louisiana State Legislature. This was the election with David Duke when he was running. But the black members of this state legislature in Louisiana increased 60 percent in one election and that was because of the turnout.
It was mostly because of the redistricting although the turnout no doubt. The balance in some districts so that there were black members in tightly contested races who did win.
Can you talk a little bit about the relative importance of blacks getting that kind of experience in state legislature.
Almost all people who run for higher office or I should say all. There are a few career paths but probably the dominant career path is to the state legislatures. So if you look at some of the most significant black political figures in the United States in the past say 10 to 15 years a tremendous number got their start in the state legislatures. What you're talking about Governor Wilder in Virginia Harold Washington mayor of Chicago urban diaboli who's just retiring this year prior to being a U.S. congressman and lieutenant governor of California was a state legislature. Charlie Rangle was a state legislature the new. They're about to go. They'll be at least 12 new black members of US Congress and probably nine or 10 of those will have come out of state legislatures so that means that the ability to run strongly at the state level is almost more important than running at the federal level or at least just as important. It's especially important because the U.S. Congress because of the federal budget deficit have been dumping a lot of responsibilities on the states in the past five to 10 years which means the states are making decisions about education and making decisions about welfare and making decisions about housing and health policy and such. And the fact that now they'll be these large concentrations. Black members in the state legislatures including leaders committee chairmen and assembly speakers and majority leaders they were there there at the location where a lot of important policy is being made.
When you're making that kind of important policy and you're elected in a majority black district but move into a leadership position where you're leading an entire body how do lawmakers make that transition are they able to make the transition from being black lawmakers to being leaders of bodies with a totally different agenda.
Well they haven't had any particular problems. Willie Brown is a good example in California who is a state leader in California who's not doesn't just represent a black district in say second manto but who is in fact a state leader. They have no particular problem whatsoever. There's a lot of horse trading involved in the legislative process in a lot of give and take. And they've had no problem no problem whatsoever. And in fact. A lot of black leaders in the state legislatures have done very very well in terms of their role.
The question of race though comes up over and over again when we're talking about voting patterns and as you know the main reason more and more blacks have become elected is because there are more and more black districts. Are you seeing any ability of black voters black black candidates I should say to attract more voters from other races white voters and others.
OK some of that is exaggerated the notion that the black elected officials are only getting elected black districts. Twenty six members in the Congressional Black Caucus right now seven of them are from majority white districts and probably another four five are from districts that are essentially 50 52 percent black voters in those districts plus in terms of mayors big city mayors in places like Denver. Came to City Los Angeles New York major cities across the country. There are black mayors of cities where the the proportion of black voters is lower say 12 percent to Denver with a black mayor a 33 percent Kansas City. Those aren't black cities. What is that so you think about the electorate. I think that for there's a substantial portion of both black and white voters who are increasingly pragmatic especially in urban areas about what life in urban America is about and that they realize it's time to start dealing with problems in terms of a variety of urban problems.
Now up till now almost every black lawmaker at the national level has been a Democrat.
We have one socialist in the in the Congress right now who's a member of the Black Caucus So we want to see in the future. I think black lawmakers in other parties and Republicans.
If the present moment in time the prospects aren't very good the one Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus Gary Franks from Connecticut. I believe that Roll Call the newspaper of Capitol Hill listed him as the third most vulnerable Republican for re-election in the House of Representatives so you may not even be back next time around. There's a lot of interest among quite a few areas of the country about third party efforts. But the third party is not the Republican Party.
Is that because of the Republicans themselves or is it because of black perceptions.
Probably most of it has to do with at least at the present moment in time with the Republicans themselves the Republicans do not have agenda that has any desire to address urban issues. People like Jack Kemp are sort of token figures in the Republican Party they don't represent the real interest of the Republican Party. If the Republican Party was more interested in urban issues in urban problems it might be different but right now with the religious right and to some degree the people who are mostly concerned about capital gains tax cuts no I don't envision any any movement towards the Republican Party right now.
Now in past years we have had. A lot of black candidates we know Jesse Jackson running for president that kind of thing helping turn out are you concerned about turnout of the black vote in this fall.
Really depends upon the region of the country in terms of the South. There is so much going on in the south this year in terms of those dozen new black congressional districts. A lot of state legislative districts plus the people who are running for Congress in the state legislatures I'm just starting out they're leaving offices as city councilors and berries and such and moving up which means their seats are now open. So there's a tremendous amount going on in the south and I don't think that there's going to be a fall off in the black vote in the south in the north. It's potentially a different story. Bill Clinton is taking a conscious decision to appear to make strong appeals to white suburban voters and to keep people like the Reverend Jesse Jackson in some of the older civil rights leaders sort of it arms length and in terms of his campaign. And I'm less sanguine about what the black vote might be in urban areas in the general election.
You know I'm really curious about this new guard that seems to be coming on board him in Congress and as you know the state legislators. Are we going to see a different sort of black agenda we've been seeing. We've seem to have been led by the same folks for quite some time. We've seen a changing of the guard I think.
The changing of the guard increasingly the growing body of major black leaders do not come out of the civil rights tradition.
They come out of what is basically a mainstream political tradition and they see things in pragmatic terms in terms of bargaining and coalition building. And I think that there is a change in that they will be more pragmatism in bodies like the Congressional Black Caucus. Is that a good thing in your mind.
I always think a little idealism is not A is not a bad thing. So if it isn't taken to an extreme. Yeah it's a good thing.
You think the agenda though will change along with.
I think that the agenda especially if Bill Clinton was elected that the agenda black white Democratic lawmakers is not going to be that different in the new Congress.
I think matters having to do with health care with education with family Lee Child Care with funding things like Head Start funding things like the welfare reform programs that have taken place. I think both white black Democrats will have fairly similar agendas.
That's interesting to hear you say that when it seems as though the Democratic Party doesn't want to have much to do with appearing to be in solidarity with this team around.
There's a very interesting thing that's happening this year. Did a national survey of black voters in June and we asked about a wide variety of policy questions that had to do with the elections this year. And surprisingly Bill Clinton is very much on target with the overwhelming majority of black opinion on most policy issues.
But I think the key is Bill Clinton has sort of turned a cold shoulder to a lot of black leaders like Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery and people like that and he has consciously gone after white blue collar Southern voters and suburban whites in the north than white ethnics in the north the sort of Reagan Democrats. And while on the one hand he is advocating a policy agenda which is entirely consistent with with black public opinion in the United States. He is being quite cool to the majority of black leadership in the United States.
How important is that you think to the rank and file black voters since voters tend not to be all voters tend to be more visceral in terms of how they react to the candidates rather than cerebral voters don't go out and study the positions of candidates and such. It just. How to get a sense of is this person my kind of person or is this person not my kind of person. Bill Clinton risks coming across as being somewhat aloof and risks definitely risks and black support in that regard you feel that black support is key in northern states at all in a lot of states yes in states like Illinois for example Bill Clinton has to be counting on Carol Moseley Braun to turn out a big black vote. And once they're there when they make the comparison between Bill Clinton and George Bush they're going to say we don't much like Bill Clinton our point differently that we don't entirely trust Bill Clinton but on the other hand we know we judge Bush's and we don't want to vote for George Bush.
Thank you David Bositis from the Joint Center for Political Studies we appreciate you joining us following evening exchange at 8:00 James Adams will continue our channel 30 to look at the Black vote on in focus. Later on we will take your comments so please join us via phone. But up next an evening exchange a look at the black vote and the Democratic Party.
Welcome back. As both the Democrats and the Republicans gear up for the November elections the Democrats hope that blacks will turn out to support their candidate. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and political pundits say the Democrats need the black vote to win. How will these new districts affect the Democratic Party. Will an increased opportunity really be enough to encourage African-Americans to get out and vote. Joining us right now is John Dean who works for the Democratic National Committee thanks for coming in. Thank you. Let's talk a little bit about that turnout situation. Today we hear that Bill Clinton is going to meet with the Reverend Jesse Jackson to try to work out his role in getting the vote out in the black community how important do you see that.
Well that's very important that's going to be critical in a number of states. I believe that Governor Clinton met with the Reverend Jackson in the lab at the National Baptist Convention yesterday. There was an earlier meeting with Chairman Brown and Jackson prior to this weekend this past weekend. And there have been in the announcement the Reverend Jackson will be leading a national voter mobilization drive in the black community. So that is critical I think we have seen since 1986 that in about 12 to 14 he statewide races around the country the black turnout has been the vote that.
Elected a number of Democratic senators and it was critical in 1986 as you noted Jesse Jackson got a lot of support in 1998 when running for president. But as someone who's just a Get Out the Vote fellow is he really going to be as effective as he was when he was actually on the ballot.
Clearly as a candidate his influence with the voters greater He has a stronger drawing power.
But I still think that as a leader who has considerable influence in terms of mobilization organization the black community that his presence on the campaign trail will be a dis a very positive factor in key states especially since there seems to be some some question in the minds of some black voters about Bill Clinton's real commitment to the black agenda.
We talked a little bit about it in the last segment with David Bositis and he points out that although Bill Clinton is right with the concerns of black voters on the issues those question marks about his real commitment remain.
I think that Governor Clinton has had to perform a fairly tricky kind of a balance. On the one hand the one thing you misunderstand about politics is if you don't win and we don't mean it.
And as Congresswoman Maxine Waters told a number of people at the convention in New York that quite frankly her constituents in South Central L.A. simply could not survive another four years of Bush. While there may be some differences in terms of policy in terms of approach with the black community that for the time being I think you got to understand the fact that Governor Clinton is going to have to make certain appeals to certain segments of the vote and that other times he may not be totally with us on the agenda but I think the important thing now is to get a Democrat in the White House.
So you're saying what a lot of people are saying basically and it's look at Bill Clinton let him say trust me I'm going to vote for him anyway. Is that going to be enough to get people out to the polls they may not be against Bill Clinton but are people who usually don't vote or vote rarely want to feel strongly enough about a candidate like that to go out and vote for him.
Well I think that when you consider the history of blank which is a patient in this country I mean you're talking about being out of slavery for a 63. To now we have advanced considerably in terms of our political sophistication. We have done it even as elected officials as you mentioned earlier.
I think they will decide as mentioned that a number of prominent African-Americans were elected officials are elected in districts that are not judged what I want but elected officials and citizens of beginning to understand is that as we increase in sophistication our agenda kind of has to adjust. So when a candidate says I'm going to do something about health care he's going to do something about my health care in the way persons of good. He says I'm going to do something by giving more affordable housing that's more affordable housing for me and to those folks. And I think black voters are beginning to come to that kind of level of sophistication.
All right let's talk about that level of sophistication. You mentioned Maxine Waters district of people say by people can't survive another four years of George Bush. That may be but I would bet that the voter turnout level in that same area is not one of the highest around.
I would agree I would think that any urban area with tremendous problems you're not going to have to go to.
And I think that's something that people just have to stand because when a person is dealing with survival dealing with loss of job dealing with very difficult times trying to support a family they really aren't caring too much about vote and I think that's just a fact. I think that's unfortunate. I think that makes many urban centers like these powder kegs potentially so that I think that hopefully we can get some national and we can get enough support out there so we can elect to go and begin to give people some hope.
Well I think we should say that what's happening is not happening in a vacuum I mean you know voter turnout is down among everybody.
Well you know the sad fact is that of all industrial democracies voter turnout in states is the lowest in the world. And it's not getting better it's getting worse each year.
A lot of people attribute that to the to the to this whole episode of negative campaigning that we saw in Ronald Reagan in a lot of people are turned off because deep down in their subconscious they sense that they were being food with the images and the propaganda of the Reagan. It's a I think a lot of the reaction to Bush this is a reflection of that anger. So all of those contribute to the burdens and well the bets what they're going to do.
Why should I want to thank you why should I bother. And that's what's happened in the black community to a greater extent schoolin. Now what can Jesse Jackson or anyone else do to get that mindset under control.
Well a technique that I often use when I managed campaigns years ago was that I would try to find as many connections as possible between the office and the voters daily life. I used to run candidates for mayors of cities to regain use for the original district. I tell them the first thing you do the research that office find out all the things you can do. If you collected that will affect the voters like you can improve the tracks to make sure you can urge the school board to do so it's because you approve the budget that would connect with the voters life and say if I'm in this office these are ways I can directly help. And if possibly some of that could occur I think that you might pick up some of the use of the word because the interesting thing is most voters don't really know what various levels of elected officials do that affect them.
They also don't know a lot about the issues involved. Again Mr. Bositis points out it's the visceral the gut level the feeling that gets people out to vote and you see it happen all the time you saw it with Ross Perot. How many people just didn't have any idea what he was talking about. Do you have any idea what these are but yet they they got excited they came out to vote now of course they're disappointed maybe they won't come out at all and that is a principle. So what about in the in the black community do you run the risk of not being able to generate that level of excitement even with those even with your talking issues.
Well I have another phenomenon that you have when dealing with voters is that you have positive motivation and then you have negative. You do have some campaigns elections where the voter goes out and votes for someone. You have other elections where the voter will go out and vote against someone and I think what you're going to see in the black community a great deal this year black voters going out voting against George Bush.
Is it part of the problem that the things that are being discussed by the candidates now like Bill Clinton's draft record like whether or not George Bush may have had some affair. Is that something that black people don't really care about and therefore they have a difficult time getting excited about.
In my experience black people don't really care about those kinds of issues. They're really concerned about what are you going to do that's going to affect me. And when you get into personal things people are saying well so what. How does that relate to how you and. And so that they don't attach the kind of importance that maybe other segments of women will do that at least in my experience as I talk like what other kind of things are going on in the Democratic Party to get out the black vote outside of Jesse Jackson obviously by himself he can't do that so much. Well we have been every since Chairman Brown won his chairmanship. We've done a number of things to begin to get ready for this. We produced a manual on how to register people using the different registration procedures that are in process in various states and that has been distributed to state parties and distributed to community based organizations around the country. We have attempted to get resources to nonpartisan voter participation groups to help them register to vote. We have. Developed a African-American state leadership list which we made available to the candidate which is a list basically of those people by state. If you're going to do politics in the black community in that state you've got to talk to him so that they don't have to reinvent the wheel like Dukakis did with elected officials in the state legislature. Community based fraternity and sorority civil rights leaders just a whole list of people that if you're going to do politics in Jersey you've got to talk to these guys.
Let's talk a little bit about black dissipation in the party structure itself in this time. In 1992 in July when the Democrats met in New York City you had a pretty high number of black delegates However it was a smaller number than you had in in 1988 is that significant.
I don't think so because our process has been open since the reforms of the late 60s and the fact that there was a falloff black delegates of the gods and any party political significance I think just to sort of the draw of the cards.
But it might have something to do with that very low black turnout in the 1992 primaries which could use a very low turnout in the general election as well.
No not even that because you see your delegate base comes from the different citizens committees that are formed in the state during the primary season so you have Pennsylvania you have Citizens Committee for Clinton for Tsongas for Brown for all the other Democratic candidates. Then when the primary ballots are counted then we assign a percentage that each one of those groups will get to pick delegates then those groups not the state party.
The Clinton committee the Tsongas committee the brown committee intensifying then picks their delegates certifies them to the stage here and then surprise them to us that's why I say there's no direct political significance in the fall.
Back in 1990 when Doug Wilder was really considering running for president there was a lot of talk that this was the new black candidate this was the new more moderate more acceptable to the mainstream black candidate. He didn't do very well in the presidential election and dropped out very quickly. But is there any kind of sign that there is going to be a new black candidate a new kind of Democratic black candidate coming to the fore.
I think yes I think that you see that in Congressman now we see that in congressman speak different kind of political situation. You see that in Chairman Brown. You're going to begin in creasing the to see the black politician that is going to say I'm can handle the black agenda but I'm going to have an inclusive agenda of which the black will be a party base and they'll run on that and they'll win a majority of my situation. I wonder if you've gotten to the marrow of leaving the Seattle Kansas City Seattle and haven and it's worked in some places.
I wonder whether or not they will begin to engender any of the same kind of resentment that some white candidates have to deal with and that people are feeling like well you're not really focusing on our agenda completely because I think you might agree that black people tend to expect an extreme focus on them and I think again that's where that new sophistication has to come in because what we misunderstand because we are still basically 10 the population at most of the political jurisdictions that but a majority of blacks have black elected officials.
If we're going to expand our base politically. Beyond 10 percent of the population in must begin to move the politics that gets us elected from constituents other than just pure black and sticky.
Where do you see the black vote playing a pivotal role in the 1992 presidential elections what states and where is the level of turnout critical where it could very say 10 percent and make the difference do you have any ideas.
Just let's start with New York Pennsylvania. Jim in North Carolina Georgia Florida Alabama Florida Texas Ohio Illinois Michigan Missouri.
California and these are all states where the black vote will play a pivotal role. A lot of these states don't have huge black populations.
I was a black population can play a pivotal role. Even when it's 10 percent if 90 percent of that 10 percent vote for you and you don't get 50 percent of the white vote that's that will put you in.
Is that likely to happen you think it's that as I say history has shown this since 1986 that it's happened as Bill Clinton you think increased his comfort level now in dealing with people like Jesse Jackson and others who he was obviously trying to get a little bit farther away from. Well I think that Bill Clinton has always had a very good comfort level with him. Well you may have had a comfort level with us on a one to one basis you know what about in an electoral situation where he's kind of running scared from being tagged with the special interest label. I think that he's beginning to do better. What makes you think that.
Well because I think that he has finally just finally been able to make some kind of accommodation politically with Jesse Jackson. You're certainly moving very well with the members of the caucus and some of the negotiations. And it's as I say this is a difficult situation.
Gods it's sensitive.
And I wonder whether or not this meeting and this new supposed role that Reverend Jackson is going to have is political I mean something to say something to do to put on television looks nice but we don't hear much about it after.
Well I I I don't think it's and I don't think Jesse Jackson would accept it purely window dressing. I think that it is a substantive role. I think that would continue. I think that there will be other kinds of relationships with the black elected officials and black mood as we get closer to what are the kind of leaders you think will be drawn into the electoral battle. I think that in addition to your national leaders your political I think that there probably will be some selective movement in the national black religious movement.
I think that that will be a factor. I think that.
Will those be the same. What about these black candidates. Like Carol Moseley Braun in Illinois who are on the ballot. Well she's on the ballot for the Senate in Illinois.
You think that will have a big effect on bringing out more black voters that wherever you have a new candidate like Carol Moseley-Braun in Illinois wherever you have new people running for congressional seats and you have a crescent that literally starts in northern Virginia and swings all the way through skips over Mississippi and into Texas.
Each one of those states will have one or more new black congresspersons.
So that means in each one of those states it's going to be a surge of black voters behind those candidacies even though they're only going to be in most cases one congressional district in North Carolina the two congressional district Georgia their two congressional districts in Alabama just one in Texas. So but but just the amount of interest going to draw out a lot of black people. So that will make a big difference in the state. And remember most of the black people in the country live in that Christian states.
John Dean constituency liaison with the Democratic National Committee I want to thank you for coming by we had a good conversation I appreciate it. Thank you.
As we noted earlier even the exchange marked the beginning of an evening long look at the black vote. James Adams is standing by with a sneak preview of tonight's in focus discussion James.
Hello Derek we're going to be talking about a number of issues concerning voter participation. Just listening to your conversation if I could dove tail for example. We were talking about the numbers of black candidates that generate tremendous amounts of enthusiasm and consequently we see higher black participation in elections. But what about when there are blacks on the ballot. What about just those issues that every day politicians can affect. We're going to talk to some folks who are going to try to analyze why individuals don't vote. We have at least one guest who says that African-Americans should boycott the process shouldn't vote at all. And we're going to try to get to the root of what needs to happen in the Washington metropolitan area to get more minorities at the polling places. As you know Derrick in the district in Virginia and in Maryland in each state each jurisdiction there are approximately half of the population is registered. But when it comes time to cast. The ballad only about half of those individuals never show up and the effect that they have on the elections often times is negligible when in this area we have seen in so many occasions where participation can make a big difference in everything from the election or smoke to Governor Wilder. We will talk to in an interview at the beginning of in focus. So we're going to go for two hours we're really going to thrash this out in the way that we believe we can only do on television. We're going to give folks at home an opportunity to call in and quiz some of the public officials and representatives from organizations that we have in the studio as well. And we have a studio audience of individuals who are just concerned about what's happening and together we're going to try to come up with some answers.
Thank you James we appreciate it. Sure the show will be very good tonight. We are now going to open our phones to hear how you feel about the U.S. election. Are you going to vote. If so why. If not why not. Please join us with your phone calls. We're back in a moment.
Welcome back to evening exchange we now await your phone calls and your comments. Please call us right now to join the program John Dean of the Democratic National Committee has graciously agreed to stick around and answer your questions. So we want to know what you think about these elections and has what Bill Clinton has said and done with the Reverend Jesse Jackson other black leaders. It satisfied any concerns you have about him. Are you prepared to go to the polls in November and support him or are you prepared instead to vote against George Bush. These are the questions we need to have answered tonight the phone number is there we need you to call us to have the program moved forward so please do so as quickly as we quickly as you possibly can. Mr. Dean I have a few more questions for you as we await phone calls from our viewers as we look forward to the November elections. Do you feel as though that Bill Clinton's momentum is picking up even though President Bush tried to get a bounce of sorts from the Republican National.
We feel it is slowly picking up. We anticipated the bump from the Republican convention. It wasn't as large as we thought it would be and it faded much quicker than we thought it would fade.
And you think that's a sign of just overall dissatisfaction I think that's a sign of overall dissatisfaction I think that's a sign that Bush really doesn't have much to run on. You notice that Bush's campaign so far has been basically in negative campaigning tried to run down the other candidates and been really not very specific in terms of some of these programs. All right we have some phone calls so we'll go to those calls here on the air go ahead caller.
Good evening I'd like to say good evening. First you get you down. You know that's who you are I listen to you religiously on radio and then also I'd like to say. That present I'm not going to vote for President Bush I'm going to vote for Bill Clinton. I think in fact I'm a product of the well laid off in March of 91 Londo how to recession can actually affect family and Bush. Certainly not if you know he's taken this economy and you know literally to hell. We need a change in this country and we need somebody to do something for the people of this country. Never mind given your money away to foreigners and I have no problem with giving money to foreign aid you know they can go on backyard birds. No I didn't. I didn't vote for Bush in 88.
So no matter how bad the economy was you probably were going to get President with you.
Well I mean if you did an excellent job I supported him in the Gulf War OK. But you know now if you did an excellent job with the economy with the problems that exist in this country then yes. I would have given money given him but he hasn't done anything to help people. This burden he has you down to be right around thinking about oh well there's no profit in this. You know you've got to either be blind or you've got to be so rich that you know it's no problem.
Don't expect him because I appreciate it. It's Edina do you think that there are a lot of voters black voters possibly like this gentleman who well I don't know whether or not he's black but might have that same attitude who would say if George Bush had done a good job I give him my vote. Not not having that strong party loyalty.
I think you would find a lot of voters who would say that and I think that they would in many respects very sincerely I think that the one thing that people have sensed is that George Bush has really paid no attention to this country domestically that he has sort of allowed things to drift that his primary concern has been assistance to the world. And that he's really done nothing that would in any way.
And low income it's interesting to know that when George Bush was first elected and was taking office in early 1990 a lot of black voters felt good about him because I guess first of all it wasn't Ronald Reagan.
And secondly he was making nice noises. He was meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus he was seeming to have concern about some of the things that President Reagan had let slide. Were you a little worried in the Democratic Party that you could lose a little bit of the grip on your base.
We were concerned because as you say he did seem to give the feeling that he was going to be a kinder gentler president. He also had something of a reputation while in Washington of being a much more moderate Republican than Reagan and the reaction to him in the black community nationally simply wasn't strong. And so there was some feeling that he will be a more moderate president than turn around soon.
Let's go back to the phones you're on the air go ahead.
Yes I'm going to get to it and I don't agree that I'm a bit deaf about the public. I can I know where I come from. I know that's how hard it is going in the public face and I don't have what anybody ever about it going to invent their own. That got you. I'm to make a rape or a really good night at a private party a lot of them are about and that the Republicans haven't done a thing but I'm back. And I am not a robin. They don't want to go on Oprah. They've gotta get her butt. Wipe.
I thank you Paula. The woman makes an interesting point. Senior citizens vote probably greater numbers than any other portion of the population. You just heard some of the reasons why because they've been through the times when they couldn't vote especially in the black community.
Do you think that energizing young voters is your toughest job that is the toughest job because unfortunately in this country we do not have a sense of history. We're talking about the early 60s when people were dying in the south. And today there well there's a generation today that has no memory of that and really has no appreciation of what number of people going through who are alive today. The other thing is that you know I'm partisan but I'm not crazy. You know I do know that the Republicans is the party of Abraham Lincoln who in turn freed the slaves. Of course he freed the slaves because he wanted to save the Union. I do know that the Democratic Party under Franklin Roosevelt entered into a coalition that began to do things not only for the nation as a whole but for black people. I do know that the Democrats going back to the 40s you know at risk to themselves as a party came out for civil rights that was when he would hope he drafted the civil rights plank that's when the the South left the party. I remember those things so that on balance the when you look at the parties right now as David Bositis said Republicans are really going to do anything for black people. The Democrats over the past 100 years have been the party that's passed every major piece of social legislation this country has seen Back to the founding and you're on the air go ahead.
We have another volume on my head.
All right well we'll wait and hopefully have further calls as we go along. There is a new breed of Republicans OK I'm told we do have calls here on the air go ahead Paul. Yes or no. You're on the air.
Oh good. Yes I want to too. Good evening. There again I wanted to point out that you know where that wall that the percentage of population of black people and they were rated in the main a fortune. But I think it is important that number of fact the fact that we might be as many as 20 or even 25 states having said that I think that you can broaden that black people do what you will just talk about young black people in particular black people in general. How important is that we vote I think the problem is that black people people and once again people in. Rule in the country don't understand that you don't have to vote for the candidate that you're given I mean there is allowance on the ballot for one to write in a candidate nothing to write in none of the above. Someone is saying I don't want to talk about my own media by having a place for none of the above on the ballot design already a place a right in place and none of the above vote for none of the above color.
Doesn't that waste your vote in some way.
No it does not waste your vote because you have your vote but you are grown and in whatever a voting precinct that you are voting in and those votes are counted and the reason that people with money and people who are an upper middle class middle class communities vote in greater numbers is because they understand that if. Many of the people in that precinct vote in North America counted as being a great number of people who are registered voted arbitrary get the benefit of the services they get more response from the police and from their political representatives because these people know they're not going to remain in office or in the position they're in if they don't respond to the needs of the community because the community is the breadwinning community that's what we need to understand.
Thank you Paul we appreciate that.
Let's go to our next phone call you're on the air go ahead. Paul you're on the air go ahead.
Yes yes Hello you're on the air. But I'd like to be gentlemen to getting this is directed at me to be missed again I'd like to ask you this question. Do we have a far right political structure that is taping the coast. We like people of action. I'm a young man 22 years so I see that the black leaders of the day try to live half white. But the civil rights movement used to be if they think they don't seem to be moving forward with the modern day agenda you know we have black crime. We have black if it.
That's all I'm going to stop you right there just so we can have time to let Mr. Dean address that question.
I would say that you need to take a closer look at your black elected officials both at the city state and at the federal level. And I believe that you will find the by and large they are moving beyond a strictly civil rights agenda and have been for the parents that say five years. I think the one thing that you notice is that they are attempting very seriously to address the present needs of the black communities where they're serving. So I would just think you need to take a closer look at who they are and their record in terms of what the legislation they're proposing and the policies they have been proposing because I think they are moving beyond the civil rights agenda I can't think frankly of black elected officials at any level of government anywhere in the country that is staying at this time with a civil rights agenda.
It may not be a civil rights agenda but it may be an agenda that he feels is not a progressive who has not moved beyond your old was words of the past about things like I guess. From a vacuum whatever it may be it's you think it's time for some new some new language.
Well then I would suggest that he become more involved himself and encourage others to go along with after all the elected official listens to nothing more intently than to vote because he realizes that he stays where he is this long as he addresses the concerns that they have. And if you feel their concerns lead in certain direction than Believe me he's going to move it. What before I would like to just respond to the earlier question.
I'm afraid we don't have time for that was because it's the day we have to say goodbye for now I want to thank you for sticking around and I want to thank the listeners I should say to viewers who took time to call us we've run out of time in this segment. We will be right back.
An NT you know an np np np.
Well evening exchange is over but don't go anywhere because James Adams is here and he is going to deal with the continuing issue of the black vote on a special edition of IN FOCUS James as you know we talk about a lot about the national scene on the black vote.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- Evening Exchange
- Episode Number
- Black Vote
- Producing Organization
- Contributing Organization
- WHUT (Washington, District of Columbia)
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- The impact of the black vote nationally and locally in the 1992 election. The increase in members of the Black Congressional Caucus will be positive since they mostly represent urban centers and will allow them to centralize support for causes important for these areas. But with greater numbers, there is the possibility of factions. State legislatures will see a greater increase in black representation. The guest refutes the inference that black leaders are elected in black communities by citing examples. The Republican party doesn't adopt urban issues in their platform to attract black voters, so the black electorate continue to support the Democratic party. Turnout in the 1992 election is discussed and how Clinton is not actively seeking the black vote, even though his positions are those that blacks would predominately support. The Democratic National Committee is making efforts to provide resources to community leaders so that they can help people register to vote.
- Asset type
- Talk Show
- Copyright 1992 Howard University Public TV
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Director: Smith, Kwasi
Guest: Bositis, David
Guest: Dean, John
Host: Adams, James
Host: McGinty, Derek
Producer: Jefferson, Joia
Producing Organization: WHUT
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
WHUT-TV (Howard University Television)
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- Chicago: “Evening Exchange; 091092; Black Vote,” 1992-09-10, WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 16, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_293-21tdz2qh.
- MLA: “Evening Exchange; 091092; Black Vote.” 1992-09-10. WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 16, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_293-21tdz2qh>.
- APA: Evening Exchange; 091092; Black Vote. Boston, MA: WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_293-21tdz2qh