Obama Not Funding Black Community Turnout

Ron Walters, Florida Courier (Tampa), September 18, 2008

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Earlier on, I noted that Radio One recently had a $7 million deficit for the first quarter of this year and wondered how it is that a Black-owned radio empire could run a deficit in the middle of a presidential campaign if it was receiving the ad revenue from the campaigns that it has in the past.

The Obama campaign raised $66 million in the monTh of August, yet although it has announced a vigorous voter registration drive for the Black community, it doesn’t seem to have taken funding the Black civic culture into account.

Black organizations are being ignored

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Again in this election cycle, I have heard stories of young Whites showing up in Black communities to register Black voters. While on the face of it this would be a good exercise in race relations, this is a game of community power. The power of the Black community in elections has always resided not only in its turnout, but in the fact that Black leadership controlled the turnout.

We must control our votes

There is an old law of politics that he who controls the vote controls the power that it represents. So when Blacks were turned out by strong White-controlled urban machines in the first half of the 20th century, those White bosses owned the power of the Black vote and they used it for their own ends.

One of the major objectives of the civil rights movement was not only to enable Blacks to vote in big numbers and to have their vote have an impact in the political system, it was that it should be controlled by Black leadership who would do the bargaining for issues with that system. Is this basic fact of politics now to be sacrificed in a “post-civil rights” world?

Obama campaign no different

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The Obama campaign should be more than something we can point to with pride insofar as he ran a good campaign. This campaign will have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, most of which will have gone into the White community. Is that also something we should be proud of?

This is another feature of the accountability of this campaign to the Black community and my view is that those who have been critical of the Democratic party all these years cannot now give Obama a pass just because he is Black.

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