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Our vote does count

Elinor Tatum | 4/12/2011, 5:30 p.m.

We found the first two Bloomberg administrations to be a vast improvement over the fascist Giulliani years in which Black and Latino residents were either ignored or faced open hostility, but, of course, Bloomberg forgot that this was a democracy and decided he could buy a third term. Of course, Black and Hispanic voters saw beyond Bloomberg's hubris and nearly delivered defeat, despite billionaire Mike's $100 million buying of the election.

And there have been other examples in New Jersey and Virginia where politicians have forgotten how vital Black votes are to their elected fortunes. In New Jersey, Jon Cortizine ran a campaign that failed to energize the Black communities that had first elected him and were his strongest supporters. Without a particularly strong showing in Newark, Patterson and other predominately Black communities, he was toast. And R. Creigh Deeds went down to crushing defeat to Robert F. McDonnell because Deeds not only ignored Black voters, but wound up running a campaign that was openly hostile to Black Virginians.

Today in this country, the Black community is not monolithic, but at the same time, it still believes in certain tenants of community. For politicians to think that they can do it without us--especially in places like New York, Chicago and other cities and states where we have substantial concentrations--is absurd. Politicians of all colors and ethnicities need our support, and the only way they are going to get it in this day and age is if they truly go after it. A visit to a few churches is not going to cut it. We need a real commitment and a seat at the table. Until then, our vote is up for grabs.