by Lena C. Taylor In November, when Wisconsin voters head to the polls, they will face a clear choice between someone who is going to fight for Wisconsin and someone who is going to put special interests in Washington ahead of the middle class. Tammy Baldwin has stood up to special interests her entire career in Washington, including taking on the big insurance companies and helping pass Health Care Reform. I support Tammy Baldwin because of her strong record of taking on corporate special interests who have too much power and influence in Washington. She has always been a fighter for the working families of Wisconsin and I know that in the U.S. Senate she will do what she has always done: fight for the middle class and work to create an even playing field where everyone plays by the same rules. A key part of Tammy’s biography is that she was raised by her grandparents, giving her a firsthand look at the important roll Social Security and Medicare play in the livelihood of many Wisconsinites. Very early in life Tammy was able to learn the value of Social Security and Medicare by witnessing how crucial it was to her family’s economic security. Tammy has not forgotten her upbringing and continues to believe to this day that seniors should continue to have access to free preventive care, as well as affordable prescription drugs under Medicare. But Tammy’s opponent, Tommy Thompson, was the point man for President George W. Bush on cutting a sweetheart deal with the drug companies that made it illegal for the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices under Medicare Part D –increasing the costs to taxpayers, $156 billion. Thompson says that SeniorCare and BadgerCare were his ideas and that he can do the same thing at the federal level, but the fact is that Thompson supports the repeal of prescription drug savings provided to seniors in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Thompson’s plan would repeal rebate checks provided to seniors and increase the cost for prescription drugs for Wisconsin families. Today, seniors across Wisconsin rely on Medicare, and the program provides coverage for nearly a million Wisconsinites. While Tammy doesn’t believe that seniors should be forced to choose between paying their monthly bills and paying for the prescription drugs they need, Thompson supports the Republican plan on Medicare that will provide billions in new profits for big insurance companies and a voucher for seniors instead of the guaranteed benefit they paid for, sticking them with $6000 more in out of pocket costs. Tammy simply gets it and Thompson does not. Tommy Thompson has an agenda that puts the big moneyed special interests in Washington first and leaves Wisconsin’s seniors and middle class families behind. Tammy understands that people in Wisconsin want a fair shot and a chance to succeed. With the economic security of the middle class on the ballot this fall it is crucial that we all support Tammy Baldwin as our next U.S. Senator because she will continue the work to create an even playing field where everyone plays by the same rules. Tammy knows that this is how we can move Milwaukee, the great state of Wisconsin and our nation forward.
Photos and question by Yvonne Kemp
Question of the week: “Though President Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney has increased in the polls, do you think people in the community will still see the urgency of going out to vote on November 6? Why or why not?”
Kobena Marcus J. Collins: “I think the people who would normally vote will remain to see the urgency. Ultimately, it is up to us – the community – to reinforce the sense of urgency.”
Michele Sommers: “I pray our community comes out to vote. As a teacher and a mother, I try to make our young people understand the importance of voting and what Black people had to do to achieve that right. Complaining means nothing if we’re not willing to do our part to change what we are complaining about.”
Gwen Jeffro: “I believe the people will see the urgency to vote and not sit back and think their vote does not count or be complacent and believe that the polls have president Obama winning so ‘I don’t need to vote.’ This is the worse attitude to take. He needs all of us and we need him. Our future depends on your vote and mine.”
Anthony Atkins: “I do feel the sense of urgency is fading a bit. I think Obama will win, but not by as much as he should. Our youth will need to not be as apathetic as the election draws near.”
Could gay marriage keep Black people from the polls? It was the subject of a segment this week on NPR, largely fueled by an article published by the Associated Press, entitled, “Some Black Christians Waver Over Vote.“ To save you time, the pieces basically argue that since clergymen of color can’t decide if they dislike the Mormon candidate more than the Black dude who dared to personally endorse same-sex marriage, they are encouraging Black congregants to stay home on Election Day.
One of the story’s quotes came from Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Baltimore who said, “This is the first time in Black church history that I’m aware of that Black pastors have encouraged their parishioners not to vote.”
This clarification is important, because Rev. Bryant — and the other Black pastors who were interviewed — never said that Black clergy had in fact told their congregations NOT to vote. Still, select members of the press argued this baseless and sophomoric point across media outlets across the country.
In the age of the two-year presidential election cycle coupled with online media and 24-hour news, it is clear that substantive information continues to be cast aside in favor of the spectacle.
Not all of us are conservative Christians, and even for those that are, there’s been several decades of voting patterns that suggest Blacks will stick with their economic interests to guide them at the poll over anything else. After all, there’s a reason Blacks aren’t standing alongside white Evangelicals en masse at GOP conventions.
That said, as mainstream publications continue to peddle this little theory about gay marriage and the Black vote, there is currently a Black pastor actually campaigning for marriage equality in Maryland. What’s more, there have been others publicly voicing their support of same-sex marriage even before Obama declared his personal support of it. Speaking of Obama’s historical moment, his endorsement shifted many people’s opinions, both Black and White alike.
But, of course, Blacks are the only ones garnering headlines on the subject. It’s not hard to figure out why. Noticing the discrepancies in coverage, I read a comment on tumblr that noted “plenty of ink will, of course, be given to once again making Black Christians into monsters under the beds of White liberals.”
Indeed, there is an obvious attempt to make a boogeyman out of Black churches and an unfortunate number of White liberals are choosing to be willful suckers.
I’m exhausted by it, especially when it comes from White gays who are doing their part to share it. It’s déjà vu from 2008 when Blacks were faulted for the passing of Proposition 8 in California. Many of these so-called progressives didn’t reach out to Black voters then and too many of them are willing participates to paint Blacks under the same monolith as the mainstream press is doing now.
Such is the problem with not communicating enough with the people you’re condemning.
Make no mistake, the role religion plays in homophobia is problematic. I have writing about it here, there, and everywhere else I can and will continue to do so. Yet, I’m sick of this story being told under only a sole stroke of color. It’s not just Black religious people and it never has been. Besides, if there’s any group of religious people to worry about social issues leaving them blind to their own self-interests, it’s surely not Blacks.
I get that papers need to be sold, a certain level of listeners and viewers must be maintained, and everybody needs their clicks, but enough already. This myth about Black churches, Black Christians, and Black voters at large is condescending, devoid of reality, and – pay attention if you truly want the advancement of gay rights in this country – not the least bit helpful in gathering support for gay rights.
Find a new story, or at the very least, start telling this one with the nuance and truth that it deserves.
Article by Bob Secter, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune
Two new polls of Wisconsin voters bear welcome news for Democrats, suggesting the Paul Ryan effect has worn off on the presidential race in his home state and that an earlier Republican edge in a critical U.S. Senate race has evaporated.
A Marquette University Law School survey of 601 likely Wisconsin voters showed Obama opening up a 54% to 40% lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a survey of 1,485 likely Wisconsin voters by Quinnipiac University, the New York Times and CBS News gave Obama a more modest but still healthy six-point edge over Romney, 51% to 45%.
The gap measured by Marquette was the widest recorded in polls this year. Obama’s margin had narrowed to three percentage points in mid-August, shortly after Romney picked Ryan, a veteran Wisconsin congressman, as his vice presidential running mate. At around the same time, a Quinnipiac poll found Obama leading in the state by two points over Romney, within the poll’s margin of error.
In the Senate race, the Marquette survey captured a striking swing to the benefit of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, another veteran Wisconsin House member. Her Republican opponent is Tommy Thompson, a popular former governor who was Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush.
In August, just after Thompson won a tough four-way Republican primary, a Marquette poll showed him the choice of 50% of Wisconsin voters versus 41% for Baldwin. The results are flipped in the new poll, with Baldwin holding a 50% to 41% edge. The CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll, which had showed Thompson ahead 50% to 44% in August, has the race tied now, with both candidates at 47%.
Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette survey, said one critical factor in Baldwin’s upward movement could be that over the last month her campaign and the outside groups that support her have been running aggressive TV ad campaigns. Thompson, over the same time frame, has been largely absent from the airwaves.
Franklin said independent voters were a big factor in the shift toward both Obama and Baldwin. The August numbers had Thompson leading Baldwin 47% to 37% among those who identified themselves as political independents. Now it’s Baldwin who holds a 50% to 38% edge with that group.
Obama leads Romney among Wisconsin independents by 53% to 38% in the Marquette poll, whereas one month ago the two were essentially tied among independents.
Franklin also cautioned that the percentage of poll respondents who identified themselves as Democrats was somewhat higher in this poll than in previous surveys. That could indicate that party identification among some voters has shifted as people contemplate voting for Obama and Baldwin or it could mean that the poll sample randomly picked up more Democrats than normal. If the party balance were readjusted to the average for the year, Franklin said, Obama and Baldwin would still lead, though by smaller margins.
Obama easily won Wisconsin four years ago, but nonstop political turmoil coupled with the victory of Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a bitter statewide recall election in June had raised questions about whether the state was trending in a conservative direction. A tightening of polls in the presidential race coupled with the Ryan pick appeared to have moved the state into toss-up territory.
If the trends in the latest surveys hold up, that assessment may prove premature.
The Senate race, too, has broad national implications. Democrats currently hold the seat, but veteran Sen. Herb Kohl is retiring. A Wisconsin pickup is critical to Republican hopes of regaining control of the Senate.