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The polls show the Republicans to be in trouble as they face mid-term elections. But are they, really? There are multiple problems for the Democrats, many of their own making. Putting aside the issue of gerrymandered congressional districts, which have ensured victory for the vast majority of incumbents, the Democrats have not defined themselves as a party with a purpose. Instead, the leadership is purposefully non-ideological, afraid to offend anyone. The actual result of such a stance is that the Party turns nobody on. In the United States, a largely non-voting nation in which the most active minority wins the day, a failure to define oneís mission is a formula for defeat.

The failure to define a mission is directly related to failure to mobilize a base of support. Yet the Democratic leadership remains in steadfast denial about the nature of the partyís base Ė the people most likely and eager to confront the opposition. Not since 1964 have Democrats won a majority of the white vote. This is a well-known fact, but one the Democratic leadership pretends does not exist. In doing so, they insult their actual base of support in the largely non-white central cities, while pandering to white voters that left the party because of their racism. Kevin Phillips, in his latest book, estimates that one-third to one-half of the white exodus to the Republican Party was based on race.

I think this is an understatement. In the Deep South, where the lily-white Democrats once ruled a one-party Jim Crow state, white Democrats are now quite few. There is not a state of the Old Confederacy Ė the political base of the current Republican regime Ė in which whites are not a distinct minority of the Democratic Party. In places like Mississippi, white Democrats are as scarce as henís teeth. They didnít leave the party because of confusion, but because of their own racism, just as whites left the cities in multi-millions for the same reason. If Democratic leadership thinks it can reclaim these white voters, while at the same time retaining the Black Democratic majorities in the South, they are insane. Rather, Democrats must mount a crusade around bread-and-butter issues that mobilize the base that they do have, and gathers a minority of whites of good will, as well.

But that, they refuse to do, because they pretend that race is not an issue. They turn to relatively progressive country music folks like Willy Nelson and the Dixie Chicks to show that, yes, they are of the same stock as the people who re-created an apartheid politics in the South. Yet, vast majorities of Black folks know that the elections of 2000 and 2004 were fixed, and fear that the electronic fix will be in, again, in 2006. Any competent Democratic politician would be attempting to counter the demoralization of the core base of the party. But there donít seem to be very many competent Democratic politicians Ė and, therefore, Republican demise is in no way guaranteed. For Radio BC, Iím Glen Ford.

You can visit the Radio BC page to listen to any of our audio commentaries voiced by BC Co-Publisher and Executive Editor, Glen Ford. We publish the text of the radio commentary each week along with the audio program.

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July 6, 2006
Issue 190

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