A Quick Number from Clinton's Win in Michigan

The numbers from the Democratic primary in Michigan, with 81 percent of precincts reporting, show Hillary Clinton well above 50 percent -- 57 percent, to be exact. Even with 38 percent of the primary electorate giving Clinton a bode of no-confidence in this one-person race by voting "uncommitted" and the contest not awarding any delegates to the Democratic National Convention (at least not yet), this win presumably gives Clinton at least somewhat of a momentum boost heading into Nevada and, even more importantly, South Carolina.

But something in tonight's results from Michigan should strike some concern with the Clinton camp, too, particularly as pertains to South Carolina. Josh Marshall:

According to the Fox exit polls, in the Democratic primary tonight, Clinton took 25% of the African-American vote and "uncommitted" is getting 69% of the African-American vote. Now remember, Hillary is only major candidate on the ballot. The others, and even Hillary to a degree, boycotted the primary because Michigan got crosswise with the national Democratic party over the date of their primary. Rep. Conyers (D) is an Obama supporter and he pushed for the state's African-American community to vote "uncommitted." There's too much screwy about the Democratic primary in Michigan tonight to draw too much from this; but it is suggestive.

Chris Bowers frames these results as a win for Barack Obama, and I can't say that I think he's too far off. If African-Americans in Michigan are overwhelmingly willing to vote for a non-candidate over Clinton -- particularly at a significantly higher rate than White voters -- it's not beyond the realm of imagination that they will have trouble voting at a much higher rate for Obama than for Clinton. While a lot of folks within the Beltway establishment may have chalked up the kerfuffle over past week and a half between the two leading candidates over issues of race as a win for Clinton, at least in the short term it looks like the fracas is having a seriously deleterious effect of Clinton's support among African-Americans.

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African-Americans on the Iraq War -- The Military and Electoral Impact

What's interesting is that you don't see a lot of discussion about the Iraq War among black bloggers. That's because we all agree on it and solutions seem obvious. If other bloggers are like me, I am just so sick of talking about it. The difference among black folks is that we were largely against the war before it started and have quietly been protesting it ever since.

Most African-Americans can point to someone they know personally who has been impacted in some way -- negatively -- by this war. Could be a neighbor, relative, classmate, co-worker, relative of a relative. You nah mean. Me -- I've had 2 cousins go over to Iraq. And my cousin's half-sister's husband. This colors our view of those who believe in a wait-and-see or worse yet, a "surge" approach.

Discussions in the black community tend to focus on <span style="font-weight:bold;">Osama bin Laden</span> -- isn't he still at large? -- and on <span style="font-weight:bold;">the Money</span> -- it sure seems like a lot of money is being spent over there in Iraq. How is it that none of that money was seen fit to spend on helping the victims of Katrina or re-building New Orleans? Or on better healthcare, education, poverty, our cities, the environment for folks living right here in the United States?

Still it's critical to talk about it because Democratic candidates looking for black votes will need to speak to us on those terms to be heard. And it also impacts the current national security. Quietly, the military has been dependent for generations on regular enlistment by young black soldiers. Why do you think that the educational and career opportunities are always touted. That's been the lure for young men and women eager to join (or stay in) the middle class.

If the military is 25% black and there's been a 50% drop in the rate of black enlistment, that sounds like a mounting readiness crisis for the U.S. military. BlackMilitaryWorld.com recently polled its audience on this subject:

Recently there has been a significant amount of media attention given to the decline in recruitment levels of blacks in the various branches of the military.  Military officials as well as the national press are seeking reasons for the drop in enlistment levels.

Black Military World.com founder, CDR (Ret.) Gregory Black has been queried about this decline by several national news sources including National Public Radio (NPR), the Boston Globe, and XM Radio.

"There is no doubt that the war in Iraq has played a role, says Black. However, there are other factors that must be considered such as an improved economy with more career and educational options for qualified blacks, and a growing culture of young people who are not connected to the traditional values that many who join the military possess."

A poll on the Blackmilitaryworld.com website asked visitors if the Iraq War has swayed young blacks away from military careers.  Of 113 responders, 73% feel that the war has had a significant role in the nearly 50% drop in black recruitment, with another 17% indicating that the war has had an effect but to a lesser extent. The remaining 10% did not see a clear connection.

There's a recent column over at the Boston Globe by Derrick Z. Jackson that breaks this down:

The drop in African-American enrollment in the military may be as powerful a collective political statement about Iraq as when Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, major polls showed that African-American support for the invasion was as low as 19 percent, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, while white support ran between 58 percent and 73 percent in major polls.

Even today African-Americans by far lead the way in calling the war a mistake. According to Gallup, 85 percent of African Americans say it was a mistake, compared to 53 percent of white Americans. According to Pew, a plurality of white Americans, 49 percent, still say it was the right decision to invade Iraq, compared to 21 percent of African-Americans.


This war, launched under false pretenses, now has so little merit that the enrollment of African-Americans in the military may be at its lowest point since the creation of the all-volunteer military in 1973. In 2000, 23.5 percent of Army recruits were African-American. By 2005, the percentage dropped to 13.9 percent. National Public Radio this week quoted a Pentagon statistic that said that African-American propensity to join the military had dropped to 9 percent.

Candidates looking for the black vote, take note.

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More Evidence Blacks, Jews Won't Soon Jump Ship from Democratic Party

During the lead up to both the 2004 election and the 2006 midterms, I spent a great deal of time trying to dispel the notion that American Jews were on the verge of renouncing their historic ties with the Democratic Party after having voted Democratic in every presidential election dating back to 1928. African-Americans were similarly said to be moving away from the Democratic Party to the GOP ahead of the 2004 election, and to this end in 2005, RNC chairman Ken Mehlman apologized for his party's "Southern strategy" in the hopes of bringing more African-Americans into his party.

Of course non of the poppycock about Jews and African-Americans switching their allegiances from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party was proved to be founded in reality. According to exit polling from 2004, John Kerry received about 88 percent of the African-American vote and 74 percent of the Jewish vote (the latter figure being estimated to be low by The Solomon Project [.pdf]). Likewise, exit polling from 2006 showed that 89 percent of African-Americans voted for Democratic House candidates nationwide while 87 percent of Jews did so. And new polling indicates that on the issue of greatest importance to the American people today -- Iraq -- African-Americans and American Jews are the most strongly opposed to the politics and policies advanced by this current Republican administration as it relates to Iraq. Gallup has the details.

An analysis of Gallup Poll data collected since the beginning of 2005 finds that among the major religious groups in the United States, Jewish Americans are the most strongly opposed to the Iraq war. Catholics and Protestants are more or less divided in their views on the war, while Mormons are the most likely to favor it. Those with no religious affiliation also oppose the war, but not to the same extent that Jewish people do. The greater opposition to the war is not simply a result of high Democratic identification among U.S. Jews, as Jews of all political persuasions are more likely to oppose the war than non-Jews who share the same political leanings.

For this analysis, Gallup combined 13 surveys from the last two-plus years that measured both support for the Iraq war (using Gallup's "mistake for the U.S. to send troops to Iraq" question) and respondent religious affiliation, for a combined sample of more than 12,000 interviews. Across the time period these 13 surveys covered, an average of 52% of Americans opposed the war by saying the United States made a mistake to invade Iraq, and 46% favored the war by saying it did not make a mistake.

Looking at the specific polling data, by a 77 percent to 21 percent margin, Jews state that they believe that going to war with Iraq was a mistake; Black Protestants say the same thing by a 78 percent to 18 percent margin. Both of these margins are significantly larger than the 52 percent to 46 percent spread among all Americans. Givent he fact that Iraq is THE cleavage within the electorate today -- polling cited here last month showed a 98 percent correlation between views on Iraq and of President Bush -- it's fairly safe to say that the data on the views towards Iraq held by African-Americans and Jews do not augur well for Republican attempts to break these groups away from the Democratic Party any time soon.

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GOTV: GOP binges on gay rights while Dems fear black apathy

Two bits of news from the NYT:
  • G.O.P. Moves Fast to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage
  • Democrats Fear Disillusionment in Black Voters

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How can we royally $%@# 300,000 Blacks? It's easy!

The answer is simple: continue to allow the media and Congress alike to ignore the lack of voting representation of the citizens of Washington, DC.

Amid the much-touted burgeoning democracy in Iraq, the controversial elections in New Orleans, and the excitement of this year's increasingly promising Congressional elections, a centuries-old issue has managed to be kept on the back burner and under wraps, rendering voiceless more than half a million American citizens living in the capital of the greatest democracy in the world.

Matters of constitutional rights that hinder our democratic process impact every national policy decision, from the war in Iraq to immigration reform, from healthcare to education, and from network neutrality to environmental protection. Because of their universal effect on the decisions made through our democratic process, such matters should certainly leave us trying to bring them to the forefront of national media and congressional debate; but the pointed and racially-motivated reasoning behind this particular matter should leave us nothing less than astounded and disgusted.

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