Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has assured key supporters that she is serious about recapturing the suburban Atlanta district she lost to Denise Majette, last August. McKinney operatives began the filing process, last week, causing some consternation among Green Party members, many of whom want to place her name at the top of their presidential ticket in 2004.

The Greens should find someone else to carry their banner. McKinney has unfinished business to take care of in the majority Black 4th Congressional District, now represented by the white people's choice, Majette, whose presence in the Congressional Black Caucus is an affront to African Americans, nationally. Majette rode to victory in an open primary tidal wave of commingled white Democratic and Republican votes. McKinney supporters sued, charging that Democrats were effectively disenfranchised by GOP crossovers - a case that is still pending but should not figure into the five-term lawmaker's plans. Majette must be removed, and there is no one but McKinney on the horizon.

The unfinished business in DeKalb County is a national Black concern. Although many on the Left see only the progressive vs. corporate front aspect of last year's McKinney-Majette race, the assault on McKinney was actually a concerted Right effort to prove that the Black Consensus has collapsed, shattered by fundamental class and attitudinal differences among African Americans. Corporate media described the race as a contest between the civil rights-oriented Old School, and an "independent minded," "more conservative" Black youth and middle class. Racists came out of their closets long before the votes were cast, celebrating the dawning of a new era in which race relations were finally freed from the shackles of Black bloc voting. Every major corporate electronic and print media organ in the nation took a keen interest in the outcome, and cheered when Majette won by a 16 percent margin. House Negro reporters danced in the aisles of their newsrooms, for the benefit of their editors.

All the white hoopla depended on the two candidates effectively splitting the Black vote, thus demonstrating that the DeKalb Black community was, in fact, fractured. This "truth" would then be proclaimed as a general condition among African Americans, nationwide, and the civil rights era could be declared officially over.

A lying, racist rag

There was a problem with the new paradigm, however: it wasn't true. It immediately became apparent that McKinney had, indeed, been the overwhelming Black choice, while whites and Republicans expressed themselves through Majette. National media found it convenient to walk away packing their pre-election propaganda, never bothering to note, post-election, that Blacks had rallied to McKinney as if she were the only African American in the race. They voted in a near bloc, treating Majette as the surrogate white candidate. At least 90 percent of the white electorate also voted as a bloc, for Majette. An unknown number of Republican crossovers gave the election the numerical character of a landslide, but there was no doubt that this was a white racial victory.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, having nowhere to slink away to, decided to falsify the evidence. In a crime against journalism and reality itself, the newspaper invented a "study" that showed Majette had won with a "biracial coalition" including a quarter to a third of Black voters.

easily exposed the lie. Armed with the detailed racial data required under the Voting Rights Act, associate editor Bruce A. Dixon showed conclusively that Majette received no more than 19 percent of the Black vote. The Journal-Constitution's claims were "based on phantom voters, wishful thinking and phony numbers - lies made of whole cloth." In order to provide a false basis in fact to buttress its political fantasies, the paper assigned Majette between 6,000 and 8,000 Black voters who could not have existed. headlined the November 4, 2002 story:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Bogus Election 'Study': Black Majette vote grossly inflated, analysis reveals"

There is no emerging cohort of black, centrist leaning voters. The figures are public, a link to the precinct-by-precinct stats is provided at the end of this analysis and we challenge the Drs. Bullock and Boone, at the University of Georgia and Clark Atlanta, along with their colleagues in the press, to show otherwise. It's an urban myth, concocted and spread by the AJC, the Washington Post, Fox News, NPR and other news and opinion outlets. Neither McKinney nor Majette constructed a "biracial coalition" for this election. Four-fifths of the black vote went to McKinney and 90-95% of the white vote to Majette. Whites turned out in bigger numbers, and their candidate won ....

We at The Black Commentator searched the election returns in vain for signs of the "18,000 black voters who made up one-fourth of Majette's total," as proclaimed by Ben Smith and David Milliron in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on October 14. Their conclusions depend upon the votes of people that never were; black and white ghosts, inhabiting "predominantly black voting precincts" that must be invented to accommodate a fictional political class of conservative black voters. For perhaps the first time in history, a significant white southern institution has resorted to, in effect, padding the black voter rolls!

The crime has come back to haunt the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In reporting that McKinney's people were filing papers for a return match, the AJC was compelled to share the results of a study by University of Georgia professor Charles Bullock, one of the paper's regular quote men. During the campaign and its immediate aftermath, Bullock had given credibility to the Majette "biracial coalition" myth. Later, however, he conducted his own study, and found that Majette had garnered only 17 percent of the Black vote - entirely consistent with 's analysis, which had bent over backwards to give Majette the benefit of the doubt whenever questions of voters' race arose.

The Journal-Constitution's June 5 issue quotes Prof. Bullock: "What Majette needs to be doing is getting out, courting in the black community, trying to broaden her coalition because she did so poorly in her community."

Sounds like he's talking about the white candidate, doesn't it?

Get back to basics

Next time around, Georgia Republicans will be involved in hotly contested statewide primary races, unavailable to cross over to tip the Democratic primary scales. But that doesn't guarantee success for the McKinney camp. Although the forces arrayed against her in 2002 may have been insurmountable, McKinney did not have to lose as badly as she did. Bruce Dixon, a veteran of many campaigns, also worked briefly on McKinney's. In our September 19 post-mortem on the race, Dixon wrote:

There-was no field operation whatsoever. The McKinney campaign had failed to conduct a voter registration drive in her district. They hadn't performed a pre-election voter canvass in any parts of heavily black south DeKalb, which should have been her base areas. These are the organizing basics, the ABCs of electoral success for black progressive candidates against opponents with more money and media. Her campaign ignored the basics and it cost her. And all of us.

Cynthia McKinney's allies in the Green Party should make every human and material resource available to her, so that she can beat Majette soundly as a Democrat in 2004. When she takes her seat back, McKinney can proclaim herself to be as Green as she likes. Bernie Sanders is a Socialist/Independent Congressman from Vermont, who sits with the Democratic House Caucus. The Greens should be happy to have McKinney represent them, in reverse fashion. That's real solidarity.

But first, the stain needs to be removed from DeKalb County, Georgia.

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Issue Number 46
June 12, 2003

Other commentaries in this issue:

Cover Story
Muzzling the African American Agenda - with Black Help... The DLC’s corporate dollars of destruction by BC Associate Editor Bruce A. Dixon

Tweedle DLC & Tweedle GOP

Many ways to pressure Black radio... The Powells: A congenital problem?... A Black candidate’s DLC dilemma

Right Hook at the Bell!... Bell Hooks’ Black male-bashing by Joseph Anderson, Guest Commentator

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Hoax by Dwight Welch, Guest Commentator

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Commentaries in Issue 45 June 5, 2003:

Cover Story
Bringing Chaos to the Boardroom - Attack on Stock Value Is Key to Union Victory

In Search of the Real Barack Obama: Can a Black Senate candidate resist the DLC? By Bruce A. Dixon, BC Associate Editor

Union Victory

Far-right freaks out on BC cartoons... Black Harvard and the power matrix... Jayson Blair lingers, story not yet dead... Radio One’s role in killing local Black news

"Who Killed Black Radio News?" A letter to BC from Todd Burroughs, Ph.D.

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.