Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush and African-American churches

Joseph Knippenberg notes that the willingness of some black pastors to speak out in support of President Bush "may be an indicator of a modest movement away from the Democrats among African-American voters. A Pew poll conducted in late September found 12% support among African-Americans for Bush—not appreciably different from Bob Dole’s share of the vote in 1996—but a surprisingly low 73% level of support for John Kerry. John C. Green’s "American Religious Landscape" poll (completed in May, 2004) showed a six point decline in African-American Democratic identification from 1992 to 2004 (from 77% to 71%)." Here is John Green’s study Knippenberg refers to (PDF file, 57 pages). Knippenberg concludes:

"I’m hopeful for the future. Two years ago I argued that the faith-based initiative provoked so much Democratic opposition because it held out the promise of fundamentally changing the relationship between the needy and the state. Individuals embraced and assisted by a loving community would not long be clients of a welfare bureaucracy. Individual self-reliance—especially when embedded in a vital and vibrant community—is a good thing in itself. It’s bad only for those who want to rely on their clients for votes. And it may prove also to be good for the party that facilitated that independence. Not necessarily this year. But we can, I hope, be patient."  

Discussions - 9 Comments

If the 12% black support for Bush number is true, this could be huge.

Bush got only 8% in 2000, IIRC. If he’s actually achieved a 50% increase in black support, Kerry is in real trouble. The fact that Kerry’s now appearing with Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (AKA, Limburger to swing voters) is evidence that his campaign senses this and is worried enough to resort to the risky Sharpton/Jackson strategy to deal with the problem.

I would also surmise that blacks who do support Bush are probably fairly intense about it. They’re swimming against the tide , going against expectations and so on, and well aware of it. This should make them more likely to vote, which combined with the relatively low support number and the widely noted lack of pro-Kerry intensity among black Democratic supporters, again spells trouble for the John boys.

I think the Dems may be getting their comeuppance for the way they cried "wolf!" and demonized Bush in the eyes of black voters back in 2000 (consider the notorious James Byrd ad). Many black Americans may have their disagreements with Bush, but they’ve seen him in action for 4 years now and they know he’s not the racist devil that the NAACP and Donna Brazile smeared him as last time.

Nemesis, anyone?

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe all those black Baptists and Pentecostals who don’t care much for abortion and gay "marriage" will take the Breck Boy’s word for it, ignore their other concerns, and embrace Kerry as a faith healer who will make quadriplegics walk again if only we elect him president.

Or maybe not. Maybe some of them have decided they’re tired of being played for fools again and again by the Democrat Party and its minions.

I would argue that most of the loss of support for the Democrats and support for the Republicans would be heavily rooted in the gay marriage debate. Even if Kerry tries to distance himself from the party line, he is mired in it and losing support among Black Christians.

On a related note, Bush seems to be gaining among many Orthodox Jews as well because of his firm support for the state of Israel while Democrats and liberals are yelling their support for the Palestinian freedom fighters. Is Bush turning FDR’s New Deal coalition into a Republican one?

Folks, I wish this were true and blacks voted in larger numbers for Republicans but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it. Blacks are the most reliable Democratic voters.

The Bush people are working on a higher Black voter, but I don’t think they are counting on it to win the election.

I would have to agree with PCHUCK. Any inroads the Republicans can make would be excellent, but hardly enough to carry the election or cause a serious electoral shift. Unfortunately, for all the talk early in the campaign, the African American vote usuallu reverts back to what it has voted for. I think this is in part due to being held hostage by a select few and outspoken power brokers disguised as Civil Rights activists.


Ordinarily, in a landslide, what you say might be true. But, with every vote at stake and a closely contested electoral college, every inroads that Bush makes can affect the outcome of the election, even if particular parts of the electorate that votes for him are not in themselves decisive.

Whether or not the percentage of blacks who will vote for Bush has risen since 2000, this election seems to be at least a little different in the black community.

My coworker (a devout Christian black man in his late 20’s) has said that his church this year, unlike in years past, has shied away from endorsing the Democratic candidate. My coworker and his mother, along with others from their church, are considering voting for Bush because of his stance on abortion and gay marriage. Two black newspaper columnists in northeast Ohio have spoken out against the assumption that Kerry (and Democratic strategists) seems to make that blacks always vote Democratic.

I’m not saying that millions of blacks are suddenly going to jump ship and vote Republican this time around, because I don’t think that’s true. But from talking with my coworker, I would say that more people in the black community this year are wrestling with the issues... And there are even a handful that could now be called "value voters." Whether or not this makes any difference for Bush in three weeks is another matter.

I think Maria is correct. The values voter theme is definitely being tied to the religious part of the black community. I think that black Americans are tired of the Democrats assuming that they will vote for them and be pacified by welfare, failed public schools, and affirmative action. I think they want something more. Also, maybe we can speculate on a relevance of "security moms" and a "security black" vote for Bush, too.

According to an Oct. 11 NY Times article, "Among Black Voters, a Fervor to Make Their Ballots Count", black voter registration is way up in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. According to the article, alleged voter disfranchisement in 2000 is partly to blame. We’ll see if the voting numbers actually match the registration increases.

Allow me to add that Bush may get something of a bump from the last election by virtue of the war itself. The 8% he drew in 2000 reflected a disproportionate number of black women who voted for Gore. Fact is, in the 2000 election 12% of black males voted for Bush, while only 6% of black females chose Bush. The kicker is that black women outnumbered black men at the polls 60%-40%, which is what produced the commonly noted 8% figure. If black men find Bush a more believeable commander-in-chief than Kerry, AND they make it to the polls in closer parity with black women, the 8% may become 10% this time around. True, the exorbitant percentage of black males in prison or on probation or parole diminishes their impact at the polls. However, the growing black middle and upper class--those Bush has endeavored to welcome into the "ownership society" of homeowners--may offset the depressing incarceration figures.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL:

Warning: include(/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2004/10/bush-and-african-american-churches.php on line 643

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/sp/php7.2/lib/php') in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2004/10/bush-and-african-american-churches.php on line 643