Is the Black vote in-play in 2014 Florida Governor’s race?
By Roger Caldwell
It is 2014, and the Black vote is an afterthought. The Republicans have written off the Black vote to the Democrats, and the Democrats assume in statewide elections, Black’s vote Democrat. This is generally the case in the last 15 years, and the Black community usually does not rock the boat.
As the Latino community is the largest minority in the country, statewide and national candidates in both parties are competing for their vote. “Hispanics are definitely in-play in Florida. The Hispanic population has grown so much in the past decades in Florida. The Hispanic vote has gotten so much more competitive,” says Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida.
The Latino community understands this new political power, and they are in a position to negotiate, and grow their political stature and businesses. Polls show that Scott and Crist are running neck and neck, and the political pundits believe that Hispanics will determine the next governor of Florida.
The difference with the Black vote, as opposed to the Latino vote is the Hispanic does not vote always with one party. “We’re the swing vote, the vote that’s unpredictable. Hispanics tend not to vote for the party. They’ll vote for the person,” says Evelyn Perez-Verdia, the Western-based publisher of the website PoliticalPasion.com.
It appears that the African American electorate can learn a new strategy from the Latino voters. It makes no sense that African American voters are predictable, and the Democratic Party expects our vote for every election. They spend very few resources with the Black Media, and they promise no projects or programs for our community.
In Central Florida at Black conferences and forums Nan Rich or her representative can be seen discussing her platform or passing out literature. But, Charlie Crist or Governor Scott and their representatives are very rarely seen at Black events or they just do not care. Scott has conceded the Black vote to Crist, and Crist thinks he deserves the Black vote in Florida because, he is now a Democrat.
In 2012, 17.8 million Blacks in Florida voted in the presidential election, and only 11.2 million Hispanics voted in the election. Based on these numbers, it would appear that the Black vote is the most significant voting bloc in the 2014 Florida governor election. It is time for the Black political power brokers to seat down and develop a strategic plan based on unity and Black power.
To start with Blacks must education our community to the importance of why we must vote at a higher level than they did in 2012. More Blacks must be registered to vote and we must tell Charlie Crist what we want to support him to defeat Governor Scott. Scott has never shown an interest in the Black vote for 3 years, and we should not trust him now.
For this election our community should negotiate with Crist, but we should hold him accountable to what he promises our community. The Black vote has the potential to put Charlie Crist in the Florida governor’s mansion, but Blacks must understand their power.