Although the political scene has been filled with many controversies lately regarding racial division, that doesn’t mean that black politicians aren’t attempting to make history during the administration of the country’s first black president. In Alabama, black congressman Rep. Artur Davis is making strides to becoming Alabama’s first black governor. And by the looks of things, Davis might really have a chance in making state history. The Alabama Democratic Party is close to selecting the congressman to be the first black nominee for the state’s governorship. And what’s even more interesting is Davis isn’t even being backed by the traditional civil rights groups.
Artur Davis may only be steps away from clinching the nominee from the Democrats, but Alabama is still very much a red state that generally favors the Republican Party. The state has gone Republican in five of the last six votes for governor.
And when it comes down to what Davis is stacked up against, one Republican seems to be extremely popular with voters due to his apparent protest against illegal immigration and blunt ads: Tim James.
There may not be a clear leader in the primary election with either of the two political parties, but history is not in Davis’ favor, and he would have to work hard to convince voters in a red state that a Democrat is capable of being tough on issues that most tend to shy away from.
A red state may be one obstacle in Davis’ way of becoming governor, but he also may have hurt his chances with blacks who make up nearly half of the voters who vote in the Democratic primary. Artur scorned four of the states black political groups, and lost many African American voters in the process. He also failed to support President Obama on Health-Care Reform, although Alabama residents would have benefited tremendously from the policies.
Most political pundits have accused Davis of forsaking black voters in order to appeal to the white voters. The president emeritus of the Alabama New South Coalition Hank Sanders said the following regarding Davis’ alienation of black voters:
“The idea is to attack symbols, such as black leaders and black organizations, in a way that sends messages to white voters without alienating black voters. It’s easy to miscalculate, and Artur Davis miscalculated.”
The Congressman does have some black support from the Mayor of Selma, Alabama and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a significant figure of the Civil Rights Movement. Rather these significant supporters will be enough to attract black voters once again is a question that will not be answered until all votes have been counted. One thing’s for sure: forsaking black voters for white voters may not be the surest way to become Governor of Alabama.