As the article points out, the Democratic party in Maryland has failed to pay adequate attention to the concerns of AA voters. Meanwhile the Republican slate is looking increasingly diverse. What can Democrats do to stop the migration of the AA vote?
Well, first, we can vote for AA in the primary. Kweisi Mfume and Stuart Simms are two AA running for statewide office, and with them on the slate, diversity no longer remains as a huge issue. Whether these men win or not, the Democratic party must still court the AA vote.
As dailykos poster ademption has made some great posts and diaries on the Covenant with Black America, the bestselling book and nationwide movement by AA to bring issues important to their National Community to the political forefront. The thing is, these aren't just issues that affect AA, but all lower-to-middle-class Americans. Things like Universal Health care, support for small business, judicial reform, and education reform.
To win back the trust and loyalty of the AA community, the Democratic Party must embrace the CWBA platform and promise to address these issues. Not only should we embrace the issues alone, but with a clear intention to work with CWBA.
Maryland Democrats should have a statewide platform. This platform should include these specific points:
-Maryland Democrats will insure all Marylanders. Federal Candidates should run on Universal Health Care, State candidates on improving health care access for those in our poorest communities.
-Maryland Democrats will ensure a quality education for all Marylanders. Federal candidates should run on increasing federal scholarships to minority students and reforming No Child Left Behind. State candidates should talk up lowering tuition at state colleges and increasing salaries for our educational workers in the trenches, Teachers, Principals, Counselors.
-Maryland Democrats will fix the broken justice system in our state and our country. Federal candidates should talk about increasing funding for effective juvenile justice programs, and possible reform of our outdated drug enforcement policy. State candidates should talk about searching for new alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, restoring the moratorium on the death penalty, about reforming the police system to spend more money on community policing and officer's accountability to the community, and about possible decriminalization of soft drugs such as marijuana.
-Maryland Democrats will make Maryland a powerhouse of Minority Business. Federal Candidates (Mfume is great on this one) should focus on grants for minority business and easing the tax burden on small start ups. State candidates should focus on grants and tax relief for minority business owners
-Maryland Democrats will make your hard work valuable again. Both State and Federal candidates need to talk up a Minimum wage increase big time (Steele says he supports it, but his Governor veto'ed it and Steele stayed quiet). They can also focus on making home ownership more affordable for AA by giving a tax credit to low income home buyers.
-Maryland Democrats will take ALL Maryland citizens fully into the 21st century. Federal candidates should talk about net neutrality and federal grants to AA tech businesses. State candidates can talk about ideas like free wireless for all in certain urban areas, as well as increased technology funding for public schools. The could also talk about increasing scholarships for AA seeking degrees in the tech sector. I don't think it would hurt to propose some sort of program to provide free or heavily discounted pcs and internet service to low income families.
I say the words "talk about" a lot, because all Democrats can do now is talk. The thing is, once we get elected, we actually have to DO these things. Honestly, I think it is a great and very progressive platform. I still need to buy the CWBA book, I recommend that anyone interested in the future of the African-American community and it's relationship with the Democratic party does the same.