Florida Democrats Will Never Win Until They Foster Young Black Politicians

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke calls out the Florida Democrats for failing to get black voters to the polls.

Well, Charlie Crist and the medical marijuana initiative failed to motivate African-Americans to the polls. The result: Rick Scott is still governor after he and the Republicans delivered a midterm-election beatdown to Florida's Democratic Party. If we sit out, a Republican will always win. That's a guarantee.

According to the unofficial election results in Miami-Dade County, overall voter turnout was a state-low 40.67 percent.

In Miami's District 5, which includes heavily black neighborhoods Overtown, Brownsville, and Liberty City, 41 percent of registered voters cast ballots. That's two percentage points fewer than what Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink got in 2010. Two years ago, for the presidential election, voter turnout in District 5 hit 68 percent.

In Opa-locka, where a majority of the 15,967 residents are African-American, 38 percent of the city's 7,446 registered voters went to the polls, which is only one point better than Sink's performance in 2010. Yet voter turnout in Opa-locka was 66 percent in 2012.

Florida's Democratic leaders don't do anything to reach out to African-American voters in a meaningful way. If they did, Crist and medical marijuana would have won in a landslide. Look at what happened in Washington, D.C., where more than half the residents are black yet where nine out of ten people arrested for drug offenses are African-American.

Well, on Election Day, D.C. voters legalized possession of marijuana for recreational use. John Morgan, the Orlando lawyer who backed Florida's medical marijuana campaign, mostly to help increase voter turnout in Crist's favor, did not give African-Americans any reason to believe they would benefit from legalizing weed for sick people.

This is a wake-up call for the state's Democrats. To energize its base, the party needs to groom promising young politicians such as Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon, who can relate to millennials and Gen Xers. Hardemon wasn't afraid to let black entertainers like Trick Daddy and me do radio commercials for him. The old black political guard thought it was ludicrous that Hardemon was using rappers to stump on his behalf. He ended up winning by a wide margin.

In fact, I'd be glad to show the Democratic Party what it takes to win.

Tune into Luke on The Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @unclelukesempir.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.


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