The recent meeting between President Bush and the Congressional Black Caucus grabbed headlines because Bush and the group spent the last four years snubbing each other. What did not make news was a meeting Bush had with black evangelical leaders the day before his get-together with the caucus.
The great untold story of the 2004 presidential elections was the black evangelical vote. Although black evangelicals still voted overwhelmingly for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, they gave Bush the cushion he needed to bag Ohio and win the White House. There were early warning signs that might happen. The same polls that showed black's prime concern was with bread and butter issues – and that Kerry was seen as the candidate who could deliver on those issues – also revealed that a sizeable number of blacks ranked abortion, gay marriage and school prayer as priority issues. Their concern for these issues didn't come anywhere close to that of white evangelicals, but it was still higher than that of the general voting public.
This article came to my attention because it was sent to me by the Tulsa chapter of the Interfaith Alliance. Obviously, an appeal to relgious fundamentalism is of concern to an organization such as the Interfaith Alliance which values tolerance and separation of church and state. That Bush's outreach to black evangelicals is a threat to the Democratic Party is clear:
Bush and the Republicans bank that their strategy of bypassing black Democrats and civil rights leaders to make deals with black evangelicals will finally break the decades-long stranglehold Democrats have had on the black vote. If they're right, it will spell deep peril for the Democrats in future elections.