My friend Clarence McKee, and I call him my friend because I really do like him, and even moreso his wife, who I used to work with, is one of those black Republicans who are over the moon at Jennifer Carroll becoming the lieutenant governor of Florida. Black Republicans, who spend much of their time feeling maligned and marginalized within Black America, or defending Clarence Thomas against … well … humans … and trying to explain that black tea partyers like Allen West aren’t nuts (though Allen West actually is nuts, but that’s another post…) see in Ms. Carroll a chance to finally make inroads into the mass of Black Americans who just have no use for the Republican Party. So how did the Scott-Carroll ticket do with black folk last Tuesday?
Terribly. They got 6 percent of the vote. That’s a third of what Charlie Crist got in 2006 (part of the reason Crist was dubbed the “first black governor” when he got elected — that and his deep, Greek tan…) and around what Jeb Bush is thought to have received in 2002 election (the Voter News Service abandoned its exit polls in that race after tabulation problems) after getting an estimated 14 percent of the black vote in 1998, partly on the strengths of endorsements from some black newspapers in the state. In other words, Rick Scott did as badly or worse with black voters as Jeb Bush did AFTER the 2000 election debacle.
Better luck… next time?
The problem for Democrat Alex Sink in the governor’s race wasn’t Jennifer Carroll peeling off black voters (4 percent of the state’s registered voters are Republicans, so the GOP barely out-performed their vote share, and Scott-Carroll got a mere 3 percent of black women, even though Ms. Carroll is one.) It was the fact that lots of African-Americans stayed home, or undervoted their ballots. Blacks make up 14 percent of the electorate in Florida, but were just 11 percent of the voters who showed up last Tuesday. By contrast, black voters made up 14 percent of the electorate in 2006, and 13 percent in 2008 (though 2006 is the better comparison since it’s a midterm.)
Scott won Hispanics by two points, 50-48, probably on the strength of the Cuban-American older vote in South Florida. I’d guess that if you further broke that number down, Scott did even worse than Marco Rubio, who only got 40 percent of non-Cuban Hispanics, while doing about the same as Scott overall.
Which bring us back to Clarence. In between missives about the wonders of Jennifer, he’s sending around an article from Tampa Bay Online, in which the writer excoriates the Democratic party for neglecting its African-American base. Here it is. Enjoy.