Florida candidates seeking election to statewide or federal offices could benefit from watching the Jeff Greene campaign.
Greene, who is running for the U.S. Senate, last month garnered a surprising endorsement from a prominent Liberty City neighborhood organization.
Why is the endorsement surprising? It shocks some people because Greene’s main Democratic primary opponent is U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is black, and Liberty City is perhaps the largest black neighborhood in Meek’s Miami congressional district. Liberty City is also an area where Meek’s mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, is a political icon and community heroine.
Now, what would make blacks in Miami endorse Greene, a white candidate, over Meek, an African American?
Could it be green? I’m talking about greenbacks, dollars, dinero, scratch or cheddar, if you will.
It appears that Greene has spent, or promised to spend, money in Liberty City and other communities.
Research suggests that candidates have no problem when family members are hired to do political work, but they scoff at the idea of paying black professionals or patronizing black businesses.
At a recent debate, Greene accused Meek of “producing only one job,” and said that job went to Meek’s mother. Meek responded strongly and told Greene, “How dare you attack my mother?” and Greene replied, “I’m not attacking your mother, I’m attacking you!”
I know Carrie Meek. I consider her a friend, and I agree she should not be attacked. But I also agree that candidates of all colors should generate as many jobs as possible for people other than family members.
The bottom line is that candidates who take black votes for granted in the Democratic primaries across the nation will get what they deserve: fewer black votes than they should get.
A white candidate running against a black person in a Democratic primary doesn’t need every black vote to win. All a non-black candidate needs is a significant percentage of the black votes that are cast.
For example, if Jeff Greene gets 30 percent of black votes, he just might win…..in a landslide! Such a scenario would require Kendrick Meek to get about 60 percent of all of the non-black votes cast.
The hiring of an all-white campaign staff will not ensure that a candidate will get white votes. You must consider hiring campaign workers who can deliver, campaign workers who can generate votes, and campaign professionals who can develop a winning strategy.
The days in which black voters run to the polls in huge numbers and just blindly vote for candidates who pretend to have their best interests at heart are over.
You have to get black votes the hard way: You have to earn them, or in some cases, purchase them!
Lucius Gantt is a political consultant based in Tallahassee. He is also the founder of All World Consultants and author of the book, Beast Too: Dead Man Writing. Contact him at www.allworldconsultants.net or call 850-222-3475. You can also find him on Facebook.