Black Democrat Gets the Shaft from Dem Party (Situation Normal)
Crumbly out, white Democrat in, Beebe-McDaniel Plan Worked as Predicted
Its really not news. The Democratic party has been taking its black voting base for granted for decades now, very similar to the way the Republicans abuse the Christian Right. Despite the abuse, they seem determined to continue to support the folks engineering their own political lynching. Why, Obama would not even have won the Democratic Presidential nomination in Arkansas if it were not for Pulaski County, the white liberals in Washington County, and the overwhelming black vote he got in Jefferson County. Democrats in the rest of the state voted Wolfe!
But this story is not about that massive divide. Rather it is the tale of one black politician who refused to stand still while Democrat Governor Mike Beebe and Democrat Attorney General Dustin McDaniel put the noose around his political neck. Where were the black Democrats in Arkansas while this was going on? Where were the other members of the Democrat black legislative caucus? There was no sign of them to be found, unless maybe they were holding Beebe and McDaniel's coats for them while they pulled the lever.
I speak of State Senator Jack Crumbly. I don't write this because I am a fan of Crumbly by any means. His politics are near the polar opposite of mine, and I wonder if vote buying did not play a role in his original election. But the fact is that Beebe and McDaniel redrew his district lines in a way that got him replaced with a white Democrat. He said it would happen, and sued over it, but he could not stop it from happening. Nor did his "friends" in the black caucus do anything to prevent it from happening even though that would be in the best interests of their caucus. He was beaten in the Democratic Primary this Tuesday by Rep. Kieth Ingram 55% to 45%.
The district lines drawn up by Beebe and McDaniel did have a majority of black voters, but that majority was a very slim 53%, and the black population tends to be much younger and therefore does not vote at the same rate. 53% of the total population converts to about 45% of the vote when you account for age demographics and what not. Crumbly knew this. That is why he sued.
Crumbly testified in his suit that he did not believe that the lone Republican member of the Apportionment Board, Sec. of State Mark Martin, was trying to discriminate against him. Martin's plan actually would have given Crumbly a district much more like the one he had before redistricting. It was the plan that Democrats Beebe and McDaniel pushed through that spread the black vote out enough statewide so that black faces in the legislature could be replaced by white Democrats. The judge agreed and dismissed Martin from Crumbly's suit.
Crumbly and his suit simply ran out of time. He wanted the Democrat Black Caucus to sue Beebe and McDaniel as a group, thus enabling him to bring more ammo to back up his claims of a pattern of discrimination designed to reduce the number of black legislators. Too bad for him the leader of the Democratic Black Caucus was former Rep. Tracy Steele, one of the worst five legislators in the state of Arkansas according to the Arkansas Watch panel of activists. Steele gave a little lip service on the matter, but basically went along with the Beebe/McDaniel plan to throw members of his own caucus to the political wolves. He declined to get the caucus behind the suit. Knowing him, I feel confident that he will find a way to be personally rewarded for selling out the caucus.
I wonder if there is some point at which the black community will refuse to go along with their own disenfranchisement? I can't see much of it in this state, but the few brave ones sure have lots of ammo to convince the rest that it is time to exit the plantation. Too many think that if "they take care of the party, the party will take care of them." Yep. As long as you stay on the bottom. If you try to raise yourself up they will "take care of you" the way they "took care" of Jack Crumbly.