If the next White House and Congress will be better than the current, we must make every effort to quash bickering and party politics so common ground can found. African Americans who are familiar with official Washington know that we should diversify our political portfolio by supporting sensible Republicans. Obama and McCain have plans to finally bridge the partisan divide if elected.
In the rural South, we don’t trust parties much because the Dixiecrat Democrats fought against African Americans’ basic rights for years and Republicans’ core conservative principles have taken a backseat to the “politics of fear.”
The key to Republican candidates improving their numbers with African American voters centers on not turning us into Republicans but getting African Americans who generally vote for Democrats to occasionally vote for particular Republicans. For example, Obama is constantly talking about “and a few Republicans” –read the code. To me, he is appealing to his supporters to be clever and put a few Republicans in the House and Senate who will negotiate and debate with the best interest of the nation in mind.
In Georgia, Senators Chambliss and Isakson have reached across the aisle to work with moderate Democrats on immigration, agriculture and energy issues. Every far right supporter they lose should be replaced with four centrist African Americans. Isakson’s smooth brand of conservatism should be the model for the next generation of southern Republicans. Obama supporters should remember that Jim Martin—Chambliss’s opponent- beat African American Vernon Jones in the primary by highlighting Jones’ bipartisan record (I think Jones will vote for Saxby Chambliss.)
Jones would have worked day and night to energize new voters and could have won Georgia for Obama/Biden. The presidential election could have been swayed by Macon Congressman Jim Marshall supporting Obama/Biden on the zillion ads he is running from suburban Atlanta to the Florida panhandle. Democrat Marshall might have been the difference in Florida because his ads radiate as far south as Gainesville but the national Democrats evidently gave him a pass. Republicans across the nation should be calling attention to the race between Rick Goddard and Jim Marshall because a new Republican is better than a Democrat who ignores our historic efforts.
Georgia Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Athens won a special election last year by personally seeking a percentage of the African American vote than Republican strategists considered unobtainable. The first rule of American politics is that people like to be asked. Because the Republicans control the Governor’s mansion and both state legislative houses, an occasional nod to their candidates would be wise.