Their faces weren’t the happy, joyous faces of four years ago. Instead their faces were grim, determined, businesslike. Indianapolis’ African-Americans poured out of their homes and apartments on Nov. 6 and voted with a quiet determination to put their president back into office for an historic second term.
And though their votes didn’t move Indiana back into President Barack Obama’s column this year, Black votes helped shake up local and state politics.
It’s been amazing to me to see the change in the local white media’s attitude about this election. Last year, the TV stations and the Indianapolis Star created breathless stories about how Blacks would vote in the mayor’s race. This year, absolutely no stories about the impact of the Black vote in this year’s election.
Four years ago, Blacks had a great turnout in Indianapolis. But President’s Obama’s 2008 win wasn’t just powered by Black voters; thousands of white independents and Republicans helped the president win Indiana by a razor thin 28,499 votes.
This year, the president lost many of those white voters, but his strength among African-Americans and others in Indianapolis/Marion County remained strong.
Four years ago 381,759 voted in the city/county. This year, despite not being a battleground state and a far smaller presence by the Obama campaign, Marion County’s overall vote was only 21,924 less than 2008 – 359,835 voted; a 5.7 percent drop.
But, the overall percentage of registered voters voting was 56.2 percent; up from 54.7 percent in 2008.
Black voter turnout was huge in African-American majority precincts with many seeing turnouts of 50 percent and 60 percent or more.
André Carson totally dominated his newly redrawn district winning precincts in every township, including seven in Perry Township.
Carson’s Republican opponent Carlos May won only 140 of the district’s 447 precincts. May won no precincts in Pike and Washington townships, and only two each in Center and Lawrence townships. Besides May’s Southside base, his best showing was in Wayne Township, where he won 28 precincts.
I was amused by the pseudo analysis of the IPS School Board races by reporters and pundits who haven’t a clue about the people who live in the district.
The Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce crowed that Gayle Cosby, Caitlin Hannon and Sam Odle’s wins were a victory for school reform. But those same voters who voted for the IPS winners also overwhelmingly voted against Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett’s school reform agenda and for Superintendent-elect Glenda Ritz’s moderation approach.
Here’s the facts: Bennett only won two of the 220 precincts in IPS. One a neighborhood just south of Howe High School one of the schools Bennett took over from IPS. The other a nearly all-white enclave in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood bounded by College, 56th, Westfield and Kessler; a precinct that voted for Mitt Romney, Mike Pence but dissed Richard Mourdock.
Every other area within the IPS district voted overwhelmingly against Bennett and for Ritz.
IPS voters may have voted for change and perhaps made inevitable the exit of Superintendent Eugene White; but they didn’t vote for Mind Trust Tony Bennett style change for IPS.
Speaking of Bennett, his campaign completely misjudged the depth of feeling against him in Indianapolis. Four years ago, the then unknown Bennett lost Marion County by 69,000 votes; getting 40.4 percent of the city/county vote against his unknown Democratic opponent.
This time Bennett was well known, but his campaign operatives obviously forgot that he’d be facing a huge margin of straight Democratic votes against him. Instead of trying to reach out and garner some Black votes based upon some of his education achievements, Bennett’s campaign ignored Black voters. Did no advertising in Black media. No Black voter outreach.
Ritz parlayed her huge winning margin in Marion County with her coalition of small town and rural voters in winning 50 of Indiana’s 92 counties in the biggest political upset in this state this year.
The biggest potential loser from the election is Mayor Greg Ballard and Marion County Republicans. The landslide votes for virtually every Democratic candidate and the extraordinary poor showing by the major Republican candidates demonstrates the ineffectualness of local Republicans.
Example: Part of the local GOP’s strategy was not to run candidates in Black-majority legislative districts, ostensibly to hold down Black voter turnout. Their plan didn’t work. Despite Republicans not running in three Black-majority House districts, 208,917 votes were cast for Democratic House candidates in Marion County, compared with just 144,844 votes for Republican candidates.
In a year when Democrats were wiped out in the state Legislature, Democrats gained two seats here in Indianapolis. Black legislators’ scored huge vote totals in the election. Rep. Greg Porter received more votes than any legislative candidate in Marion County, Democrat or Republican, followed by Rep. Cherrish Pryor, Rep. John Bartlett, newcomer Rep. Robin Shackleford, Rep. Ed DeLaney and then Rep. Vanessa Summers.
The strong Democratic vote reinforces that Indianapolis/Marion County is Democratic territory. It should give City-County Council Democrats and Democratic countywide elected officials’ strength in the looming budget against Mayor Ballard’s pogrom against Democratic elected officials.
What I’m hearing
in the streets
Who placed an audio recording of a Marion County Superior Court hearing onto YouTube? Speculation focuses on one of the plaintiffs in a hearing Oct. 22 that tried to strike President Obama’s name off the Indiana election ballot.
Dr. Orly Taitz, the noted anti-Obama “birther” activist, was suing the state to get the president’s name off the ballot. A hearing in Judge S.K. Reid’s court was Taitz and her five other plaintiffs’ opportunity to make their case.
They failed. Judge Reid ruled in favor of the state. But audio of the two hour plus hearing was posted onto YouTube Nov. 1. Publicizing audio of Indiana Superior Court proceedings is a violation of judicial rules and Indiana law. Those involved could lose their law licenses or be prosecuted.
Court officials are investigating this serious breach of legal ethics by a group that seemingly doesn’t want to follow any rules of law unless it helps their goal of belittling the elected president of the United States.
See ‘ya next week.
You can email comments to Amos Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.