Sunday, September 24, 2006

DNC African American Leadership Summit in Motor City this weekend ...

We're not certain how critical this summit of leading African American Democrats in Detroit over the weekend will be after it's all said and done. It could very well turn out as old wine in a new bottle, with regurgitated strategies highlighting nothing more than the usual voter mobilization efforts.

The rhetoric from both major parties struggling to court the Black vote is rather stale and predictable. On one end, we have Democrats trying to find a way to re-energize a traditionally loyal demographic that is showing signs of becoming fiercely independent. On the other end, we have Republicans seeking to steer some of those independent votes to their statewide Black candidates in PA, MD and OH (we believe they have a chance in 1 out of three of these states). Somewhere on the margins we find a maturing Green Party movement promoting an interesting slate of African American candidates in key local, state and federal races.

What would be rather forward-thinking and innovative is if Black Democrats, Black Republicans and, even, Black Greens and others were able to sit in the same room and devise a way to translate this newfound partisan interest in the Black vote into something truly empowering, collective and tangible for the greater African Amerian community. We think the smart strategy is to identify candidates, platforms, agendas and plans based on their merits and potential for community advancement rather than the party affiliation. That sort of agenda seems unattainable at the moment as the parties have us divided (and conquered) into competing camps.