The sight of grinning Black elected officials rushing to endorse a White Democrat is a familiar scene. What made this bum-rush so noteworthy was that after Mfume filed to fill an open Senate seat, the party went out and recruited Cardin to run against him. With limited resources and lacking the support of party bosses, Mfume still came within 9 percentage points of defeating Cardin. If he had won, Maryland’s Senate race would have featured two African-Americans, guaranteeing that one would be elected to office.
This is true considering it took many of these same Black elected officials over a year to finally endorse their former CBC colleague and former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. By the time they did, it was too late.
Curry goes off, but may be representing the feeling of many African Americans gearing to vote for a new Senator in Maryland:
If we are truly tired of being taken for granted by one major party and just plain taken by the other, then it’s time to take a stand. Here’s my modest proposal for my fellow Black Marylanders – teach both parties a lesson by voting for the Black Republican, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. On the issue of affirmative action, Michael Steele is no Clarence Thomas. I disagree with Steele on most public policy issues. He is a Republican in every sense of the word.
But like the voting in New Orleans, this is not about one person. It’s larger than that. This is about demanding respect. And I can think of no better way to get the attention of both parties than, in this one instance, voting Republican to make a point. Some party leaders may not be able to read and write but they can count. If we do this, everyone will have to do some different kind of figuring. Republicans will have an incentive to court the Black votes and Democrats will have to work in earnest to earn the respect of African-Americans.