I’m not sure what possessed Tim to write the “last word” on street money and ODP on Sunday because he was quite aware that I had interviewed Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern on Friday for a story to be published today. Regardless, before I can even get to Redfern’s interview, I need to point out some obvious errors in Tim’s post.
We’ve written about the long simmering resentment against ODP and Ted Strickland among the elected officials, the activists, the ministers, and other leaders in the African American community, over perceived disrespect, past episodes like the chair election in 2005, minority hiring, even the Brunner-Fisher primary. ODP expected this vote to turnout without street money, and that was a severely poor assumption.
We have? That’s news to me. Regardless, Tim is trying to take a simple payroll processing screw up and blowing it up to say that the Lancer Group, and ODP’s decision not to break federal and state campaign finance laws to engage in the practice of “street money” cost us the election. That’s ridiculous.
If Strickland had a problem with the African-American community, there’s scant evidence of it to be found in the 2010 election data. According to CNN’s exit polling, Strickland got 92% of the African-American vote on election night. Any political consultant would tell you that a white Democrat getting that large of a share of the African-American vote does not have a problem with African-American voters. After all, in the 2008 Ohio presidential primary, Barack Obama only got 87% of the African-American vote, by comparison.
As for African-Americans being upset over the Brunner-Fisher primary, Tim must have forgotten that most polling during the primary showed Fisher with a massive lead with minority voters. I’m not aware of a single poll showing anything much differently. Again, the objective data would suggest that the notion that African-Americans, who polling showed overwhelming supported Fisher, had resentment over how Brunner was treated in the primary is nothing more than a fevered imagination of a Brunner supporter. And this Brunner supporter doesn’t buy it for a second.
In 2006, Strickland only got 77% of the African-American vote against Ken Blackwell. On election night in 2010, Strickland did better with African-American voters than he did with overall self-identified Democrats or union voters. Again, all this would suggest that one of the main premises’ of Tim’s post is utter crap.
Ted Strickland didn’t lose because of the African-American vote. Period.
But, you just covered the African-Americans who voted, what about those who stayed home?
Anyone remember this graphic from the Dispatch?
With the exception of Dayton, most of the urban areas in Ohio with the largest African-American populations saw the least drop in turnout from 2006 when compared to the rest of Ohio.
The efforts by ODP to use paid canvassers using professional political vendors as opposed to illegally doling out cash in a corrupt “street money” system did not result in a massive “blackout” by African-American voters over the Democratic Senate nomination going to the guy polling showed they favored by forty points.
What Tim fails to note in his criticisms of ODP is that the people he highlights the blight of the most—those who do the actual canvassing work—benefitted the most from ODP’s system as they got paid what the party actually paid them to do the work instead of a dozen layers of “middlemen” in the African-American community taking their “cut” first.
Furthermore, as Chairman Redfern pointed out to me on Friday, the reality is that African-Americans actually made up a larger share of the general electorate in 2010 in Ohio than they did in 2006. The Dispatch’s chart would seem to confirm this.
To try to take the Lancer Group’s payroll screw up and expand that into an indictment against ODP for not engaging in the illegal practice of “street money” requires you to ignore all objective data about the election already available.
The notion that ODP’s use of the Lancer Group “cost” us the election is just absurd. When you the objective data doesn’t match your political theory, you don’t ignore the data—you ignore the theory.