Cross-posted at MyDD

Those who know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories.

Polybius (205 BC – 118 BC), The Histories

This week, race and politics came to a head in the 2006 elections. Chris Bowers has already written about the changing political alliances shaping up in American culture. At the crossroads of race, politics and the blogs, George Allen found his senate career cut short after his “macaca” “joke” was blasted across progressive blogs. His presidential ambitions have gone up in smoke after the video found its way into the mainstream media. The macaca joke provided an perfect opportunity to remind voters about Allen’s racist history and offer voters a new alternative in Senator-elect Jim Webb.

As America diversifies and the majority becomes just another minority (at least in some locations), understanding what minority voter priorities and expectations are — and meeting at least some of them — will be important to maintaining and building their loyalty over time.

Howard Dean knows it. Here’s what he said post-election:

Yesterday was a historic night as well in the African American community. When presented with a choice, the African American community chose Democrats, because the Democratic Party respects the African American community and creates greater opportunities. We are honored that the African American community has again put their faith in the Democratic Party, and proud that Democrats continue to earn their trust. Democrats like Deval Patrick in Massachusetts and Keith Ellison in Minnesota are making history.”(Source: Oliver Willis)

Minority voters aren’t stupid. Every major black Republican candidate who ran lost. White voters aren’t stupid either.

But It’s Not Over Yet

We know from the exit polls that concern about corruption was a major motivation driving voters this season. Americans will be watching to see how Democratic leadership distinguishing itself from the lying, cheating, bigoted criminals who just got ejected. There are still a few races being decided. One of them deserves national attention for its symbolism.

There’s a run-off election in a district of Louisiana that might look familiar to folks. Remember Katrina? All those black people in New Orleans and selected areas desperate for help from someone. Anyone. Maybe even one of their elected representatives, for instance. Bill Jefferson (D-LA) is the incumbent from this area:LA-02. LA-02 map

Bill Jefferson is a bad man:

Five days after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, on September 2, 2005, Rep. Jefferson allegedly used National Guard troops to check in on his home and collect a few belongings – a laptop computer, three suitcases and a large box. By using the National Guard to visit his home and retrieve property — at a time when the citizens of New Orleans had no such similar opportunities — Rep. Jefferson appears to have violated House rules.

DavidNYC at the DailyKos:

Jefferson’s behavior was so outrageous that the Democratic caucus, in an extremely rare move, stripped him of his committee assignment. An indictment of Jefferson looks very likely. And as one New Orleans native put it, “You find $100,000 in your freezer, I ain’t voting for you.” Seventy percent of the voters in Louisiana’s second Congressional district apparently agree, because Jefferson carried just 30% of the vote yesterday.

Fortunately for us, Louisiana’s unusual electoral system mandates a run-off between the top two finishers whenever the winner fails to reach 50%. That means we can give Jefferson the boot he so richly deserves by supporting the second-place finisher, Karen Carter.

DavidNYC puts it best:

This race matters because we need to send a strong message, a message that the Democratic Party won’t tolerate corruption on either side of the aisle. Come January, we’re finally going to take back the House. But before we do, we need to clean house first. And that’s why the Swing State Project, DailyKos and MyDD are officially endorsing Karen Carter in her runoff on Dec. 9th.

If William Jefferson is re-elected, what will stop Republicans from making an example of him? If he is re-elected, how are Democrats any different from the self-interested corrupt politicians that just got booted? Most importantly, if this guy is re-elected, who will fight for the residents and business owners still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. It’s essential that the Democratic Party distance itself from Jefferson as an example of renewed transparency and priorities in the right place. Progressives should support Karen Carter who shows promise as a legislator who will be more likely to serve her constituents’ needs — when they need it most.

She has passed legislation requiring insurers to notify covered persons in writing of their intent to cancel their coverage. She passed legislation mandating a grace period and a lapse notice before insurance coverage can be cancelled. She authored legislation to mandate that insurance companies that write property policies in Louisiana offer coverage for levee breaches, the problem that caused the massive flooding after Katrina. It didn’t pass the legislature. This is part of what was on this sister’s plate this year while Bill Jefferson was having his offices and homes searched by the FBI. She was on the job doing the people’s business. He was looking for a way to stay out of jail. (Source: SkepticalBrotha)

A sampling of post-election reflections from African-American, Latino and Asian-American blogs can be found below.

***African-American Political Pundit wants to know how we can justify spending billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq when only 22 families have received rebuilding grants for Katrina damage so far. Over a year later. AAPP asks “I wonder if Democrats, who black folks voted for in number, will fix this mess?” A whole lot of other Black people are wondering that, too.

***Jack and Jill Politics lays out the good news, the better news and the bad news for African-Americans in the wake of the mid-term elections.

Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus, several of whom have roots in the civil rights movement, are poised to take control of some powerful House committees. This is important because they will be able to influence what legislation actually gets to the House floor and what shape it may take. Ha.


The real issue for us is the need to field Latino candidates in non-majority Latino districts,” he said. “We need to see that crossover, and we need the party to recognize viable Latinos. . . . For the most part Latinos in Congress are representing Latino majority districts. But the three senators show they can get elected statewide.
There will be a massive Latino rebellion against President Bush’s Republican Party, among other things for its support of a nonsensical 700-mile border fence. But rather than in today’s midterm vote, it’s likely to happen in the 2008 presidential election….Despite all of this, there is a general consensus that Hispanics will be – more than ever – a formidable force in the 2008 presidential race. Among other things, their numbers will be higher than ever: Most pollsters expect that Latinos will make up 10 percent of U.S. likely voters in 2008, up from 8.5 percent in 2004, and 6 percent in 2000.

*** JQ over at BlueLatinos gives up a little 411 behind the blue tidal wave sweeping the Dems to victory:

Exit polls reported by CNN indicated that 69 percent of Latino voters supported Democrats and 29 percent went for Republicans. Exit polls also showed Latinos making up 8 percent of all voters, which roughly translates into over 6.5 million Latino voters – a 38 percent increase from the 2002 mid-term election. That’s huge! The number of Latino voters went from 4.7 million to over 6.5 million, an increase of 1.8 million voters! To put this dramatic voter turnout increase in perspective, consider this: the number of White and African American voters decreased by about 18 percent, respectably. The same voting pattern should have happened to Latino voters; instead, we saw a voter turnout increase of 38 percent!

Lesson learned: voter registration works. Also, pissing off Latino voters does not.

*** lists the exit polls for Asian-American voters from AALDEF on key races and then shares a little advice:

  • Virginia Senate — 76% D versus 21% R
  • New Jersey Senate — 77% D versus 21% R
  • Maryland Senate — 73% D versus 24% R
  • Pennsylvania Senate — 71% D versus 29% R
  • Massachusetts Governor — 75% D versus 21% R
  • Michigan anti-affirmative action proposal — 76% against

So don’t let anyone ever try to sell you the outdated canard that Asian Americans vote Republican. And Democratic Party leaders, take note. Asian Americans may have provided the margin of victory in numerous races — and proper outreach and cultivation might have led to their putting a few other borderline Democratic candidates over the top. Adjust your plans for future outreach and attention accordingly.

In Memoriam: Ed Bradley

The night Ed Bradley first appeared on 60 Minutes, my family had a dinner discussion about black people on TV. And about Ed Bradley. And then my parents sat my brother and myself between them and we watched the show together. It was a really big deal. There were only a few channels on TV back then so I expect a whole lot of other Black people did the same. Ed Bradley’s achievements and investigative reporting shine not just for African-Americans. But for all Americans.

Minority Americans may watch The Daily Show with John Stewart. And we may laugh heartily and cheer him on as much as anyone. But don’t think we haven’t noticed the astonishing lack of diversity in presenters and in guests. Don’t think it for a minute.

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