Many black conservatives rightly point out that blacks, unlike most other groups who vote “green” for their children, families, jobs, and economic security, too often vote against their own interests — especially if the candidate is a black Democrat.
Blacks voted for Barack Obama who, after eight years, did more for other ethnic and political interest groups than he did for them who gave him over 93 percent of their vote.
It looks like the same scenario is about to repeat itself in the Florida governor’s race where history could be made by the election of Andrew Gillum as Florida’s first black governor.
Last month’s Quinnipiac poll showed that 93 percent of black voters surveyed favored Gillum and a USA Network Today analysis of the Florida primary showed that Gillum won huge margins over the onetime front-runner “in metro counties with the state’s largest percentage of black voters.”
Gillum has become the new darling of George Soros and the national socialist-leaning far left. He is the Mayor of the crime ridden state capital of Tallahassee which is under an FBI corruption investigation. He has been endorsed by former Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Hillary Clinton as well as liberal Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
He has received millions in campaign contributions from billionaire left wing donors Soros and Tom Steyer. With that progressive left support, Gillum is making their left-wing agenda his with the likely result of turning Florida into a Soros-controlled “California East.”
He supports sanctuary cities; wants to raise the corporate tax rate 40 percent, or $1 billion a year; increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour; expand Medicaid; and legalize recreational marijuana.
If these policies — the cost of which could lead to a personal income tax — weren’t enough to harm all Floridians, his plan to end vouchers that help poor students go to private schools and crack down on charter schools would be devastating to black and Hispanic Floridians.
Regarding education in his city, last year the Tallahassee Democrat reported that the prestigious LeRoy Collins Institute “pegs Tallahassee as home to one of the five most highly-segregated school districts in the state.”
When it comes to vouchers, Gillum and his new partners at the Florida Education Association (FEA) are at odds with most black parents.
According to the scientific opinion survey of American attitudes on K-12 education by EdChoice, “2017 Schooling in America,” released nearly a year ago, an “overwhelming majority of blacks approve of parents using taxpayer-funded vouchers to send their children to private schools.” Florida legislators have sent more financial assistance to charter schools and have expanded the eligibility for various voucher programs — the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program — which assist more than 100,000 students, many of whom are minorities.
While Gillum’s Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis, wants to expand the program, calling it a “lifeline,” Gillum and his FEA partners want to end it.
I guess Gillum was out of town two years ago when over 100 black ministers from throughout Florida — the Florida African American Ministers Alliance for Parental Choice (FAAMAPC) — urged the Florida NAACP to drop a lawsuit with the FEA challenging the voucher program Gillum now opposes.
In a May 13, 2016, article in this space entitled "Black Ministers Challenge NAACP on School Choice," I quoted black newspaper and radio station owner R.B. Holmes, pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, who said the NAACP was “on the wrong side of history.”
I also pointed out that earlier “nearly 11,000 private-school students, program supporters, school choice advocacy groups, and religious leaders went to Tallahassee in an over 240 bus convoy to ask the state’s largest teachers union to drop its lawsuit. They argued that vouchers under the program were the only way for many families to escape under-performing schools.”
If the suit had been successful, 78,000 poor, mostly black and Hispanic children would have been removed from private school. Thankfully, in January of 2017, the Florida Supreme Court refused to take up the voucher case ending the FEA’s three-year battle to have the program declared unconstitutional. A Gillum Supreme Court would most likely kill the program.
At the rally, Bishop Victor Currey of Miami’s New Birth Baptist Church asked, “Why in the world would the union challenge the program that helps disadvantaged families?”
That is the same question that black voters — and DeSantis — should be asking Gillum!
Gillum should remember that in 2014 when former Governor Charlie Crist sided with the FEA against choice for poor students, he lost to Governor Rick Scott who supported school choice.
There are other key questions:
- Will the black Ministers who protested in Tallahassee against the NAACP and NEA reverse their position now because Gillum is black? Or, will they urge him to change his position if he wants their support?
- Has DeSantis made his position supporting vouchers known to black Floridians by meeting with and advertising in the state’s black newspapers? If not, why not?
- Will or has the Republican National Committee, the Republican Party of Florida, the Republican Governors’ Association through DeSantis, or the Koch brothers invested in messaging on this and other issues to the Florida black community? Do they really care?
It would be interesting to see the answers to these questions.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns. He is a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.
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