Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Motown Voters MIA
Given a once in a lifetime opportunity to elect an African American president, half of those voters in Detroit stayed at home last Tuesday. It's an incredible statement given all those TV pictures early on Election Day. The lines snaked around polling places In Motown as if citizens were getting a free pass to heaven. But as the day wore on, the lines got smaller and when they finally tallied the outcome just about 50% of those who could vote, did so. No records were set and to add insult to injury, the last time a record was set was in 1980 when 65% of the city went for Jimmy Carter. Let's recap that: A Black candidate gets 50% and a white guy from Georgia gets 65%. What the hey? Thanks to Rochelle Riley of the Free Press for pointing all this out. There is no question that in other parts of the country the African American vote was important for Barack Obama. He got 98% of that vote, so everyone is wondering what happened in Detroit? You can't blame the weather. You can't blame the Democratic Party and Obama who had an impressive GOTV or get out the vote machine. You can't blame Obama or can you? Early on he faced the criticism that he was not "black enough." But that seemed to have disappeared with time. Obama did stay away from traditional leaders of the civil rights movement. For example, dare ya to find a photo of Mr. B. with Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson. That was no accident, so maybe that perturbed some of the traditional civil rights voters? Perhaps all the polling persuaded some voters that the contest was over and Obama would win without their votes. And this is really off the wall, maybe somehow this low turnout was related to the Kwame Kilpatrick stuff. Remember Obama wanted nothing to do with him either, for obvious reasons. The bottom-line here is, no one knows what did happen and so while Mr. Obama was making history, so did Detroit voters by passing up an opportunity to send him to the White House.