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Preview: Minority Issues in the U.S. Presidential Election

Minority Issues in the U.S. Presidential Election

As a community project, this blog looks at minority issues in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Race, gender, age -- you name it, we cover the minority representation. This blog is a collaboration between Dillard University and Louisiana State

Updated: 2015-09-17T00:09:37.180-07:00


JC Watts on Diversity & the RNC


(image) I was reviewing some of the credentialed blogger coverage of the two political conventions this summer when I ran across this video of JC Watts. Watts is being interviewed by a credentialed blogger & he speaks about
  • what the Republican party can do to attract African-American voters
  • the increase in visibility at the local level
  • how to get Africian American voters to the polls
It is short & worth watching.

Vote or Die: More than Puff


It's crunch time. It's time to see if the efforts of artists like Sean Combs, and non-profit organization Citizen Change will result in increased voting.
We have all seen the shirts shouting, "Vote or Die". But are young Americans just wrapped up in the trendy campaign, or the real words behind it. Citizen Change has launched a very strong campaign to get young voters to the polls. Not only does the website give young voters links to each state's voting site, but it keeps them up-to-date on news and events surrounding the upcoming election.
Visitors to the site are encouraged to blog on Watchblog or Rock The Vote . There is even a long list of sites that give youth a clear look at the issues and how each will affect them.
So the resources are there, but are they being used? Are young voters paying attention to the absentee voter registration deadlines? Do they know about early voting sites, or that officials are urging them to vote early? I hope they know that if they show up at a polls in the wrong precinct or their names do not appear on the lists, they can still cast a "provisional ballot". These voters need to know what to do if they cannot find a polling site, or feel that they are being discriminated against while trying to vote.
The only way to ensure that young America's vote is counted is to arm them with knowledge. We cannot wait to make a difference, the time is now! Young voters cannot treat this movement like a hip-hop song, getting caught up in the beat and never listening to the true meaning in the words.

Bush, Kerry campaign for senior votes


From Yahoo! News:
Bush, Kerry Campaign for Senior Votes
President Bush and Sen. John Kerry vied for the senior vote Tuesday, swapping charges over Social Security and a looming shortage of flu vaccine two weeks before Election Day.
Check out the article.

Citizens Monitoring Voting in South


Via Dr. Jinx Broussard:With the presidential election less than a month away, voting rights activists in New Orleans, Miami and other Southern cities are gearing up to make sure that the polling is free and fair. Representatives of community-based, labor, faith- based and youth/student organizations gathered in New Orleans on October 1 and in Miami on October 2 to learn the process of election monitoring and how to train others as poll monitors. The day-long sessions were sponsored by Count Every Vote 2004 (CEV2004), an Atlanta-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting the voting rights of underrepresented, marginalized populations. "Our goal is to train 800 monitors in nine Southern states who will, in turn, teach other volunteers how to oversee the national elections impartially," said Dr. Keith Jennings, CEV2004 training director and president of the African American Human Rights Foundation. "We expect that 9,000 election monitors will be in the field on November 2." During the first half of October, CEV2004 is conducting eleven election monitoring trainings in cooperation with civil, human and labor rights organizations in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. The Miami and New Orleans trainings were attended by volunteers and staff members of Voices for Working Families, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 527 voter education, registration and mobilization group. The training in New Orleans came on the heels of voting irregularities in the September 18, 2004 local elections. Hundreds of voters in Orleans Parish were prevented from voting or were delayed when nearly 300 voting machines were not delivered on time to 52 polling places. "I didn't realize that citizens had the right to monitor elections," said Gilda Burbank, one of 17 participants in the New Orleans training. "This coming election, it's imperative that African Americans as a people get out and vote." CEV2004's trainings equip volunteers with the skills to observe, document and report on the election process. According to Dr. Jennings, an observer of international elections in 65 countries, the presence of election observers can deter irregularities and voter intimidation; reveal problems where they do exist; encourage voter participation and engagement; and restore public confidence in the legitimacy of the political process. The training addressed several potential election violations, including voter intimidation, irregularities by election officials, improper functioning of the voting machines, the late opening or closing of the polls, the denial of the right to vote, and other problems. Felicia Ricks, assistant state director of Voices for Working Families in Florida called the training "very informative." Referring to the checklist of election violations reviewed by Dr. Keith, she said the training equipped the seventy-five canvassers from her organization with the knowledge of "exactly what they're looking for." Voices has registered over 35,000 new voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to Ricks. One of the Voices canvassers, 21-year-old Patrick Lindor, said, "The training taught me how to stand up for what I believe in and it makes our job easier." In a recent guest editorial in the Washington Post, former president and veteran elections monitor Jimmy Carter said the international requirements for a free and fair election in Florida do not exist. He particularly pointed out that two elements are not in place in Florida-nonpartisan electoral officials and uniformity in voting procedures. "Hundreds, perhaps thousands of African American voters were disenfranchised in the 2000 Florida election debacle and in the recent problems in New Orleans," Dr. Jennings commented. "The 2004 presidential election is as hotly contested as the 2000 election. We want to make sure that every vote counts." Source: Count Every Vote Newsletter, Oct 5 Edition[...]

2004-10-11T05:33:04.506-07:00 offers commentary, analysis & investigations on issues affecting African Americans. Check out the previous issues section for a full listing of coverage.

[Via Dr. Jinx Broussard]

Gays and the GOP: Over for good?


Catching a flight out of San Francisco early this morning after a lovely fall holiday, I picked up a Chronicle and read a interesting article about the reconciliation (or lack thereof) of gays and the Republican Party. The article discusses the failure of an initially successful and influential group of gay Republican leaders who came together to better the relationship and image of the LGBT community and the GOP. You can check article out in full at the SFChronicle Web site, but I will give you an overview.

The authors explain how a small but prominent group of gay activists brought President Bush to the drawing table, spoke to him heart to heart and got the president to deliver on several of their requests. For example, the article sites Bush's decision to keep Clinton's anti-discrimination executive order, despite massive pressure from conservatives to repeal it. It also points out Bush's more than 40 gay or lesbian appointments in governmental positions, a record for a Republican. (Surprisingly, these are just two of about five examples the story talks about) Things for this small group were going great until a huge dark cloud came looming over their heads. The cloud was a little issue called gay marriage.

This changed everything. Bush received monstrous threats from conservative religious groups to support a constitutional amendment banning it, and he buckled. And by doing so, the group (they call themselves Austin 12 because the original meeting w/ Bush was in Austin) had to abandon their new found ally and accept failure. The article takes about how the individual members of Austin 12 could not go against their conscience. They each took Bush's support of an amendment denying them civil rights as a personal blow to the heart of their movement. And they quit.

Their are many aspects of this situation we could analyze and pick apart, but I think the main point here is that this group was trying a new approach to the same old political game and seriously trying to make progressive changes. Whether you agree with their political ideologies or not, the article points out how with compromise and work the government can address minority issues and be successful. But the majority truly wins out. In this case, it was the Christian conservatives that are deathly afraid of change that won and the minorities again were left by the waste side. The religious right lobby forced Bush to make a decision -- loose 4 million votes in November or appease 1 million gays? President Bush chose the majority, surprise, surprise.

not my town


Watching last night's town hall debate solidified my previously held thoughts that the candidates & campaigns focus too much on homogenous communities in the midwest. From the Iowa caucuses to campaigning in predominately white areas, I see the same faces in a campaign each year. These people don't look like modern America.

Yesterday Bush's blog post said that the Latino vote was where it is at. I tried, but I didn't see one Latino face in the crowd. Kerry has several community groups listed on his Web page (Africian Americans, Arab Americans, lesbian & gay community, etc.). But I barely saw these faces in the crowd either. The candidates obviously say they support & work for these minority communities ... but why are these communities going unrepresented in the town hall debate that is supposed to represent the voice of the average voter?

The average voter is not a middle-aged, midwest-living, white person. That is what I all I saw (with some exception) in the Gallup chosen Missouri audience last night. Diversity means more than allowing a few women & African Americans in the hall. That might explain why so few questions actually dealt with the minority issues we focus on here.

My Canvas: Controversy


Mr. Bush was quite the frank talker he always has been. I can't say that there were a whole lot of minority issues discussed in this "town-hall" meeting, but there was something interesting that exhibited today at the City Museum of Washington.

Here President Bush is depicted in the style of Manet's Olympia as a nude lying on the bed with Vice President Cheney in tow holding his crown. The images are now looking for a new home.

This isn't the only instance of homoeroticism that is being played with to perhaps influence public opinion. The incredibly popular JibJab series about the election has recently come out with yet another Flash cartoon entitled "Good to be in D.C.". You can check it out here. In it, Senator Edwards and Senator Kerry are... well, let's say "very close." It's not at all suprising that people of different ideologies are attacking one another and in terms of the very topical issue of the proposed ammendment to bar gay marriage, yet to parody either candidates' actions as homosexual and furthermore to make this into an insult is very degrading in my opinion.

Now that I have sufficiently avoided the debate on Friday, I found it quite interesting that both candidates stressed how they have no intention of reinstituting the draft. Of course this is a response to the wildfire of Internet and campus rumors swirling about the country, but it has been made clear; this war will be fought by the people who can't afford not to, or the volunteer Army. In a country with a net job loss (at least far from a job creating economy), people without financial autonomy sometimes have no choice in the matter. The two bills in the House and the Senate proposing for the universal draft were done as a protest by two democratic senators, and have been voted down. Without a draft, there is a shortage of supply with troops and thus an increase in demand for them. Their wages go up to compensate for risks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what we are left with is a military population that is increasingly feels the economic pressure to "volunteer" for the military branches, often to due to the slowdown of America's domestic businesses. I wonder how this bodes for minorities being in service because of a lack of other options.

2nd Presidential Debate Tonight


The past week has been full of debates & now we're gearing up for debate #3. This time, I hope the candidates for president will address more "domestic issues." While the veep debate did cover some minority issues earlier this week, the last presidential debate (which was centered around foreign policy) didn't do much for our topic here. It is expected that tonight will provide more opportunity for us to see how the candidates differ on important minority issues.

Checking each candidate's blog, I already see that they are gearing up for the debate. President Bush's campaign blog posts about what one can expect tonight. While most of the post lingers on foreign policy issues, the last line in the post is promising:
"Latinos are the new swing voters" [NY Post article]

I didn't see any posts specifically about the debate on Kerry's blog, but he does have an entire section on his site dedicated to the debates.

BET on Bush? Can America afford to?


Tonight, October 7, 2004 Sen. John Kerry had a specal interview with BET's Ed Gordon. The interview was short and sweet. 30 minutes of straight talk about Kerry's stance on minority issues, and how he as a president will make a difference.

Gordon's questions were not thought provoking, but rather a chance for Kerry to make an effort to speak to minority voters, especially the youth, who comprise much of BET's viewing audience. Gordon asked Kerry about his thoughts on the Democratic party supposedly taking the minority vote for granted, and Kerry denied the allegation saying that as soon as he accepted his nomination for presidency he contacted Congressman Elijah Cummings, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to be a point person during his campaign. Once again it seemed that Kerry took a roundabout way to answer the question, instead of tackling it head on, but he did eventually say that he does not feel minority voters, particularly Afican-Americans, are being taken for granted.

Kerry also spoke on what he would do if elected. Instead of a tax cut for the wealthy, he would roll back taxes and use the money for education, and health care. In fact, he said he has a plan that would guarantee health care to all Americans. Kerry stated that he wanted to keep initiatives for underpriveleged youth in action, like YouthStart, a program that he initiated and is currently in action in 43 states.

When Gordon asked Kerry what was being done to get young people to vote, he replied that he felt Republicans were trying to have a repeat of Florida, which he acknowledged is a fear of most minority voters. He stated that there is a legal task force in place to ensure that African-Americans are not disenfranchised again.

While this blog is supposed to be non-partisan, I can't help but say, Bush is not giving me, a minority voter, much to work with. Kerry is making an attempt to speak to minority voters in any way he can, using whatever medium he can because as he and Gordon agreed, if Kerry has full minority voter support he will win the election. However, is his attempt in vain? Is this for show? An attempt is no longer good enough, voters must vote for the candidate that they feel will best keep their promises.

Kerry's appearance spoke volumes. Given Bush's rejection of the NAACP conference in July and Kerry's acceptance of the invitation, and now Kerry's appearance on BET, it might come across that Bush is not concerned with the minority vote, which is why one vote can make all the difference.

Radio Waves


African-American media personality Tavis Smiley addresses some aspect of the presidential campaign every day on his NRP show. Tomorrow he's hosting a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to talk about the upcoming presidential election.

Last week, featured did a feature on the Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates. On another note, Tom Joyner, another radio personality, also frequently discusses the election.

[via Dr. Jinx Broussard]

Kerry to Appear on BET Tomorrow


Via Dr. Jinx Broussard:
Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator John Kerry has accepted BET's invitation for a prime time interview special to address African-American voters. This special will be televised Thursday, October 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, with an encore showing on Friday, October 8 at 11:30 p.m. ET/P.

Veep Debate and Gay Marriage Ammendment


This is an snippet from the debate I found on Yahoo! News and the marriage part is from CNN: CHENEY: "Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference. In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of — the Legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage. And the fact is that the president felt that it was important to make it clear that that's the wrong way to go, as far as he's concerned. Now, he sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president." EDWARDS: "I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry. I also believe that there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships. But we should not use the Constitution to divide this country." "I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter," Edwards said. "I think they love her very much and you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter [and] they're willing to embrace her." There is a clear line drawn between the candidates on this issue. The Kerry/Edwards line has been more moderate. Yet, in this debate, Edwards made the decision to bring up Cheney's gay daughter (which diffused the issue with moderates). Why would Edwards bring up Cheney's gay daughter, and then also alienate many within his own base by defining marriage as between a man and a woman? It seems logical that he is desperately trying to play to the middle of the electorate by stating that marriage is between males and females, but why does he also help Cheney out with moderates by speaking about Cheney's daughter? It made plenty of sense to say that the Constitution shouldn't be invoked, but Cheney insinuated that he'd rather have the issue be a states' rights issue with his initial statement in the the 1st paragraph, so Edwards was reinforcing the point Cheney had made. What did Kerry/Edwards get out of this? And with the statements about giving benefits to gay couples, but not to recognize them as "married," did they do anything to replace their "have it both ways" image that has hurt them so much in this campaign? After Edwards spoke about Cheney's daughter, Cheney was more civil to Edwards. He thanked him for the kind words and declined to comment on a number of issues. Cheney in this debate seemed like a father with a naive son; and this is coming from someone who wishes John Edwards was in John Kerry's place as the Democratic nominee. I can't help but wish I had a viable candidate that didn't seem like a rhetorical talkbox. Bush was so defeatable this year on any number of issues, most notably Iraq. He created a monster that could have slain him by invoking the religious right and trying to limit the right to marry for homosexual couples. He did divide the country. Unfortunately, instead of bringing unity and compromise on a number of troubling issues, his challengers look like they will just confuse people with legislative speak. [...]

Yes, I'd Like To Order An Exit Strategy Please


In part one of three debates both candidates went head to head to discuss the state of the Iraq conflict and what the future president will do about it. Both men agreed that regardless of whether America should be in Iraq right now, the real issue is making sure that we stay there until the job is done. However, as the two went back and forth and back again over the issue, I could not help but wonder what do the men and women of our armed forces think about it all? Coming from an extensive military background I know that one of the first things you are trained to do is support and defend the Commander in Chief's (also known as the President) choices, but knowing what you have to do and actually wanting to do it are two separate entities. With minorities comprising 40 percent of the army, 34 percent of the Navy, 32 percent of the Marine Corp., and 24 percent of the Air Force issues concerning Iraq are of great concern to them. Which is why voting in this year's election is so crucial. Tours of duty are getting extended while we continue to get attrited in Iraq. So what did Bush and Kerry have to say about Iraq? Bush said that Kerry waffled many times, wavering on his support for the war in Iraq, which in Bush's opinion is not the characteristic of a strong leader. Kerry replied that Bush was spending funds elsewhere, not in the U.S., when Iraq was not the center of the war on terror. Kerry continued by saying that Bush made tax cuts for the wealthy in America instead investing more ino homeland security. Kerry said that he would have used funds for helath care and education instead of war in response to Bush's claim that opposed an $87 billlion supplemental for equipment and vehicles for the troops in Iraq. Both agreed that there is currently no exit strategy in place for the Iraq conflict, which scares me and I am sure frustrates those serving the country in the armed forces. While the first debate was "dry" it left me wondering what the two candidates propose to do? Although Kerry said that he has a a four point plan to get us moving in the "right direction," I still have questions and want answers. I felt like both were going in circles talking about the issue, but not providing any solutions. I, a citizen of the United States, demand answers and action and will use my vote to ensure that the candidate who will provide those things for me. Will you? Regardless of who you support, the election is not won....yet, so please make sure to vote. [...]

Reaching Young Voters


If you have not been paying attention, the buzz about the upcoming election on Nov. 2 is every where. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. This year's election has taken the entertainment and fashion industries by storm.

MTV has done a great job in promoting its Choose or Loose campaign. I am glad to see that national and local news casts are not the only ones trying to encourage young people, especially minorities to vote. Yesterday I watched a Choose or Loose special hosted by Christina Aguleria. Last night's topic was sex and politics. This was a good package that was put together which showed what the average teenager and Twentysomething has to deal with in everyday life.

The special talked about schools which provided sex education, shelters for battered women or women who needed help during pregnancies and the always controversial-abortion. And the message was clear that whom ever is elected in November will have the power to make or break the funding possible for shelters, programs and sex education in schools.

President Bush is highly against abortion and Sen. Kerry believes that it is up to the woman to choose her unborn child's fate. This is a heated debate within itself. But there were girls who shared their stories about their lives and sex at an early age.

MTV's message is a simple one. Young people have rights and are people, too. Their votes are very important even though some may think they are not.

Minority superstars are trying to get the message out also. I have seen commercial spots with Jennifer Lopez encouraging Latinos, especially Latino women to get out and vote. Sean "P.Diddy" Combs is also on a crusade. His "VOTE OR DIE" t-shirts are everywhere. Combs has made it apparent of how important it is to vote by making appearances at both polictical party conventions.

I was not old enough to vote in 2000's presidential election for the record books. Remember Florida? Hopefully, that problem was fixed and nothing like that will happen this time.

This year is special because at 20 I am a registered voter and plan to get running on Nov.2 to cast my vote. I registered at my church when I turned 18 and have been voting in local elections ever since.

Voting is very important! Please, do not take it for granted. Some of our ancestors did not have the freedom to have a say in politics. So, make them proud. November 2 will be your chance.

TARGET: women & young people


(image) 40 million women did not vote in the last election. Wow. That number is larger than the number of residents in the state of California.

Yesterday, Oprah hosted a "vote party" on her show. She had the A-list of Hollywood's engaged there - Cameron Diaz, Sean P-Diddy Combs & Drew Barrymore. The focus was on getting women & young voters to understand the importance to vote.

Here are some quotes from the show:

  • "If women alone voted, they could decide the next election." - Drew Barrymore
  • "I've been discouraged with the 2-party system ..." said an Oprah audience member, to which Oprah replied "So you just thought you'd back out of the whole thing?"
  • Political campaigns are not designed for (young people), they are designed for 70s year olds - but 70 years olds vote." - Jon Stewart
  • "Listening to the candidates like listening to Telemundo & not speaking Spanish." - P-Diddy
Organziations targeted at getting the minority vote moblilizedFor more on Drew Barrymore's youth vote mobilization project, watch "The Best Place to Start" tomorrow on MTV at 9 a.m. CST (10 EST).

history of blogging meets this blog


Chuck Olsen, a filmographer known for his documentaries on blogs, just posted a "History of Blogs" movie (.mov). The short piece talks about the history of blogging most of us know about (Blogger, LiveJournal) ... but then steps back into time to people just like the bloggers in this little corner of the net.

The original bloggers weren't bloggers because they had a computer a Blogger account. They were bloggers in spirit because they had something to say & a desire to communicate their ideas:

"Our very democracy was founded upon personal political writing intended to inform, motivate and bring like-minded people together to act. But somewhere along the line, mass media took over for the voice of the people."

And so today, with the other several million bloggers out there - we take our voices back. In this blog we discuss a topic important to us - minority issues - because we feel there is still room to have our voices heard.

faces of supporters


Everyone talks about how the campaigns are courting minority voters. But what does this really mean? Are they going to areas with a dense population of minorities? Are they talking about the issues important to minorities? Are they posting pictures of minority supporters?

(image) In an effort to understand the face of the campaigns, I went to each candidate's Web site photo gallery today to see which faces made the cut to be included from the campaign events (Bush, Kerry). After all, these are the faces were are supposed to connect with & say "that person looks just like me & she supports him ..."

So how did they do? Overall, both candidates receive high marks for minority representation in their photo galleries.

  • Kerry had more pictures with African Americans & seniors featured
  • Bush had more pictures of women featured
  • Kerry had more "group shots" of supporters increasing the opportunity for diversity
  • Bush's pictures were more concentrated on smaller groups than Kerry's

Suggestions for improvements?
Don't make me go to your silly photo gallery - where are the minorities on the front pages? Only John Kerry had minorities (women, African American, seniors) on his front page ... & even then they were mixed in a crowd. Don't show me I'm just another face in the crowd, take the time to concentrate on me.

Overall, the Hispanic and Asian representations were next to nothing. Come on now, we have more minorities than just women, seniors, & African Americans. Let's diversify this definition of diversity.

welcome to our community project


The great thing about blogs is that they give a ‘voice to the people.’ This election cycle in the United States, the people want to be heard. Our collective voices will help shed light on minority issues being covered by the candidates & the media – as well as those not being covered.

Who are we? We are a group of young citizen journalists in Louisiana who have come together to cover the election from this perspective.

Minorities can be people of different races, gender or sexual orientation. We don’t discriminate in our definition. Here you’ll find us compiling a non-partisan view of the election so you can decide which candidate best represents the minority issues you believe in.

And so, this is our ‘community project.’ Only, our community isn’t confined to our city or even our state. Our community is the nation. We hope that this project will serve that community by providing a non-partisan examination of minority issues in this election.