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An Open Letter to Rep. Cynthia McKinney on the Upcoming Primary Election by Andrew McIntosh

Dear Cynthia:

Like many black Americans, I hope that you will be victorious on August 20 in the primary election to be the Democratic candidate for Georgia's Fourth Congressional District. I am especially concerned for you in light of the success of non-black interests in defeating your congressional colleague, Earl Hilliard, in Alabama's primary election in June. The same outsiders who flooded Hilliard's congressional district with money and propaganda on behalf of the their puppet candidate, Arthur Davis, are doing the same thing for your opponent, Denise Majette. Emboldened by their success in Alabama and the lack of a coordinated retaliatory response by the black community, these outsiders are now targeting you.

Please understand, Cynthia, that your being targeted is not simply a matter of the Jewish lobby being upset with you because of your votes on the Middle East. The conspiracy against you - and that's exactly what this is - is far more involved and far more sinister. The sad truth is that many Democratic Party officials who should be standing by you (especially in view of your long and loyal service to the party) are quietly conniving at Denise Majette's illegitimate challenge and the behavior of the outsiders who are pulling her strings. Worse yet, there are party officers who are actively aiding and abetting Majette in her attempt to defeat you. This is especially true of the "centrist" (i.e., crypto-conservative) Democrats of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

Zell Miller, the junior senator of your home state, Georgia, is an excellent example of the mentality of the DLC's "centrist" Democrats. According to the NAACP's legislative report card for the first session of the 107th Congress, Miller voted against legislation requiring states to provide the same services to low-income schools that they provide to schools in wealthy districts. The bill was defeated by a vote of 42 to 58. Senator Miller voted, in essence, to allow states to engage in racially discriminatory funding of their schools. Keep in mind the fact that Miller was elected to the Senate in 2000 because of the overwhelming support of our people. Miller's treachery is simply part of a larger problem - "centrist" Democrats who, after being elected due to the massive support of blacks, routinely vote against the core interests of the black community.

Considering all of the above, it should come as no surprise that Miller is one of your opponent's supporters. Furthermore, it is not as if these "leading" Democrats do not know what Majette is really about. As you have noted in your campaign, Majette is "running as a Democrat, but she's a Democrat in name only. She's voted Republican and she's given campaign cash to right-wing Republicans. Moreover, ultra-right-wing Republicans - the same ones who supported Newt Gingrich - are now filling her campaign coffers with their cash."

As the situation currently stands, Democratic Party officials feel that they have nothing to lose in your primary election battle against Majette. As they see it, regardless of the winner, the Democratic Party will continue to control the congressional seat. These officials are not only quite prepared to see you go down to defeat, there are many of them who would be delighted by such an outcome. The DLC and its minions have largely controlled the Democratic Party for the last decade and have dedicated themselves to moving the party away from the "liberal" causes that you champion. The DLC views leaders like you as an obstacle to its goal of converting the Democratic Party into a clone of the GOP.

These "centrist" Democrats do not want to have to deal with you - an independent, progressive-minded activist who votes her principles rather than the party line. The Democratic Party establishment wants to replace you with an old-school Negro politician who will follow orders and not make waves - Majette is their ideal choice. Democratic Party leaders are banking on the assumption that blacks are prepared to accept any black person as their congressman. You have to see to it that this is not the case in metro Atlanta's black community.

Here are some basic steps that you should take to beat back Majette's puppet candidacy:

1. Start making preparations immediately to ensure that you are on the ballot in November - preferably as an independent, if necessary as a write-in candidate. Make certain the Democratic Party establishment understands that you will not go quietly into the night in the event that you lose the primary. Even more importantly, let them know that you will not endorse Majette and that you will see to it that she does not win the general election. Let them know that if need be you will deprive the Democratic Party of the votes of your core supporters in November by running as an independent/write-in candidate. The Democrats must be made to understand that if you don't win in November, they will lose control of your congressional seat.

2. Be sure to use the power of black radio and newspapers to rally black voters to your campaign. The Democratic Party's mayoral candidate in New York City was defeated last year because of a strategic voting campaign by black radio. The current GOP mayor, Mike Bloomberg, received 25% of the black vote when black radio urged the community to punish the Democratic candidate for a racist flier circulated by his staff. Black radio will be crucial in withholding black voter support from Majette this November should she prevail in the primary.

3. In preparation for an independent candidacy in November, you must make every effort to mobilize the last reservoir of untapped black voters - youth under age 30. October 7 is the deadline to register to vote in the general election in November. Get Russell Simmons and Atlanta-based hip-hop artists on board your campaign to help energize young black voters. Their participation could well be crucial to your victory this November. You have got to draw as many left-of-center voters as possible into the political process; they are your natural constituency.

As a longer-term project, you should begin organizing a Liberal Party as a counterweight to the Democratic Party in Georgia's black community. The Democratic Party takes blacks for granted and feels that it does not have to be responsive to us because we have nowhere else to go. A properly organized Liberal Party could put an end to that problem and could even be strong enough in certain areas (such as Atlanta) to run candidates against the Democratic Party.

I wish you the best of luck, Cynthia, and I hope to see you continue your political career for many years to come. The black community needs leaders like you. Black America hasn't had a bold and audacious congressman like you since the days of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. As Adam used to say: "Keep the faith, baby; keep the faith!"


Andrew McIntosh

Andrew McIntosh

Monday, August 5, 2002

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The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

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