Sunday, May 11, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS — Many black voters are making it very clear: They're concerned that Barack Obama is going to be denied the Democratic presidential nomination that they see as rightfully his, and if that happens, a lot of them may stay home in November.
"It would hurt me not to vote," said Charles Clark, an Indianapolis retiree. He's thinking about leaving the presidential box on his ballot blank this fall if Hillary Clinton is the Democrats' nominee.
"There was a heck of a push made so blacks could vote. I know that," he said. "But it would also be very unfair if they pushed Barack Obama to the side."
Michelle Moore, an Indianapolis housewife, is less gentle: "Hillary Clinton would not even still be in the race if Obama was a white man," she said.
Her tough tone was common this week in this city's black community. Why, people asked, is the Illinois senator's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright being judged so harshly? Why won't Democratic Party officials acknowledge that Obama's in the lead and unite around him?
African-Americans have been the Democratic Party's most reliable bloc, giving about 90 percent of their votes to former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the last two presidential elections.
In a close election this year, an African-American exodus from the voting booth could be costly to Democrats, particularly in the South, where blacks are a large proportion of the electorate.
If Obama isn't the nominee, "there would be a significant number of African-Americans who would stay home. They're not voting for (presumptive Republican nominee) John McCain," predicted David Bositis, a senior analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which researches black voting trends...(Click here for remainder of article).