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HOW MANY "SWING" VOTES WERE IN THE ANTI-FLAG MARCH? | 2000-01-22

A few years ago, a single national black leader, Louis Farrakhan, called for a million black men to come to Washington, DC, in a show of solidarity. There are no more than twelve million adult black males in the United States. This black population was spread out across the country, with large concentrations of blacks three thousands miles away on the West Coast.

After the Million Man March, the disagreement over how many black men actually heeded Farrakhan's call was intense. In the end, Farrakhan's group sued the National Park Service, which had estimated the crowd at 600,000. The Nation of Islam accused the National Park Service of deliberately underestimating the numbers, and insisted that one and a half million black men had come to Washington.

Lost in all this was the sheer volume of turnout which was the subject of debate. The NPS had said that only five percent of the TOTAL black male population of the United States had dropped everything and congregated in the District of Columbia, while the Nation of Islam said one out of eight of the black male population of this country had done so.

Both estimates are staggering.

The fact that the entirety of the mainline black "leadership" of the United States made a major effort and got what they called almost fifty thousand marchers into Columbia, when put into this context, is not exactly overwhelming.

Now let us turn to the question that I have special qualifications to answer: What do those thousands of marchers mean to a cold-eyed politician? How many meaningful votes do they represent?

How many of the marchers represent a swing vote? The swing vote consists of people who might go from one party to the other on the basis of the issue they are marching about. How many potential Republican voters were in that crowd? How many people's vote might swing from one party to the other on the basis of the stand that party takes on the issue about which they are marching?

Liberals give two answers to this question. One is where they put their mouth, the other is where they put their money. If you don't want to be anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews, you have to say that just because a person is black doesn't mean that he is a Democrat. In the real world of politics, liberals devote their money and effort to getting out the black vote, because it means getting out the Democratic vote.

A few years ago, former Reagan advisor Ed Rollins was running a statewide New Jersey campaign for the Republicans, and he made some disparaging remarks about "walking around money." "Walking around money" is the money Democrats give black people to get them to vote. In the ensuing media fury against Rollins, I discovered that walking around money is not to be criticized. It is a bulwark of democracy.

Liberals insist that it is evil, racist, and unfair to say that, just because someone is black, they are presumed to be a Democrat. All Democratic strategists devote enormous resources to that exact proposition.

So if I were running a campaign, and a reporter asked me, on the record, how many swing voters were in that anti-flag march in Columbia, I would say, "Probably a very small number." But what if a political reporter asked me that question off the record? Well, first of all, no reporter would make a fool of himself that way. If one did, my answer would be, "You're kidding, right?"

But there is not just a swing vote. There is also a "march in" vote.

Once again, the same political commentators who insist that "black" is not almost synonymous with "Democrat" say that the Confederate flag issue could threaten the Republicans by increasing the black vote. It might be a rallying-point to get more of those who marched into Columbia to march into the voting booth.

This may be a valid concern, because the Confederate flag issue is the ONLY issue the black leadership has. Let us return to one of the major themes of Whitaker Online: no liberal program ever WORKS. Black Americans have an ever-increasing load of real, desperately serious problems, drugs, illegitimacy, families collapsing, and all the rest. But no one takes liberal solutions to these problems seriously any more.

After all, no part of our society has been the focus of more concentrated liberal programs than the black community over the past decades. And over those decades, all these problems have gotten steadily worse.

For black leaders, the Confederate flag issue is a godsend. Already in North Carolina, a black man got a professional license from the state that has a Confederate flag on it, and complained to CNN. If anybody thinks this issue ends with the moving of the flag from the capitol dome, they are dreaming. Practically every street in Columbia is named for a slaveholder. If black "leaders" are going to keep their substitute for earning a serious living, this issue has got to be permanent.