By David Person
Recently, one of my Republican friends, a very smart, talented African-American woman, sent me a text about the August 15th special election.
“Do you really think a Democrat can win a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied. “I do.”
In fact, I’ll go a step further. I believe an African-American Democrat can be elected. Three are on the ballot: Will Boyd, Robert Kennedy Jr., and Charles Nana.
Here’s a link to a sample ballot: http://sos.alabama.gov/sites/default/files/sample-ballots/2017/Generic%20Demo%20-%20Sample.pdf
This is a historic moment. All three men are passionate, articulate spokesmen for their candidacies. All three also have at least some positions that most would describe as moderate or conservative, which makes them a good match with most voters in our very red state.
Still, there’s the uncomfortable reality of racism in Alabama. Many of us believe that there still is a percentage of white Alabamians who will never vote for a black person. The proof is in the hateful comments made on blog posts and the on-going challenges to ensure equal educational opportunities for black students. And let’s not forget Shelby Co v. Holder, the case that ultimately undermined a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Nevertheless, black candidates can win if black voters who agree with them go out and vote. Only 62 percent of eligible Alabamians voted in 2016. Did every eligible voter in your church, sorority, fraternity and fraternal organization go vote? If not, why not?
Also, black candidates who listen to and engage with all voters, regardless of race or political party, can win some white votes. President Obama proved that in 2008 and 2012, shocking the nation and making history.
On August 15th, let’s make the improbable a reality. Your vote can make the difference. Will you help us make history again?
David Person is the owner of DavidPersonMedia, LLC. He is a media and messaging consultant for political candidates, educational institutions, media outlets, non-profit and for-profit businesses.
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