Even in 2004, we still see hordes of black leaders playing the role of handy-sidekick to oblivious politicians. Jesse Jackson “suited up” Thursday in Tallahassee, one stop on his “Hope is on the way” tour.
With a month left in the race for president, John Kerry is straggling behind President Bush in major polls. Joining the Kerry and John Edwards campaign as a senior adviser, Jackson will help to close this gap. He is scheduled to visit key battleground states to assist the Democratic Party in winning over black voters.
In an article posted on BlackAmericaWeb.com, Jackson said, “The black vote is the swing vote.” He then gave examples of how black voters were able to sway past elections in favor of former presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.
It has been obvious that this race for the presidency will be tight. And although voting age blacks are being registered by the masses in an effort to expire Bush’s Oval Office occupancy, they still remain skeptical of Kerry.
After these recent decisions, who wouldn’t?
If the Kerry campaign’s only objective is to romance black people into going to the polls on Nov. 2, you can’t knock this strategy. Yet it’s a substandard attempt to appeal to black constituents.
Yes, Jackson is a renowned organizer of the people. For years, we have seen him rally black people together but why should black voters be made to listen to him? Jesse Jackson is not running for president.
Through the eyes of skeptical citizens, this undercuts their ability to speak with a candidate who claims to be their best choice. It keeps Kerry out of touch with the black electorate he is trying to win over, which has been one of its main grievances. And it underscores the commonly held notion politicians view minority voters as a marginal demographic.
Throughout his campaign, Kerry has courted the independent and swing voters. Now that he might be in danger of losing this battle he wants to appeal to the black electorate more intensely by unleashing Jackson, who may also be at fault.
While it is understandable that Jackson wants his comrade to take the election, it is a major disservice to the people whom he has served in years past.
The people should be given an opportunity to personally dialogue with candidates who may control their quality of life. By Jackson agreeing to be his mouthpiece, this lessens the likelihood Kerry will ever be obligated to sincerely tap into the concerns of the black community.
The only upside is that Jackson’s tour will make potential ballot casters more aware of what is at stake if they choose not to become involved with Nov. 2.