I attended Saturday’s One Nation march and rally. While there is an ongoing debate as to whether the crowd was “less dense and didn’t reach as far to the edges as they did during [Glenn Beck]’s rally,” there is no debate that tea partiers are more enthusiastic about the midterm elections.
On the way to DC, I noticed there were a lot of buses on the road. I also noticed most of them were half empty. In any case, the numbers don’t count if progressives are not able to energize the Democratic base.
During his turn at the mic, Wade Henderson observed:
While today’s march is unprecedented in unifying Americans from all corners, it alone will not create the change that our country so desperately deserves. In today’s speeches and community building, we must remind each other time and time again that we must vote in November.
As the great Frederick Douglass reminds us, power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, it never will. If we don’t vote, we don’t count. The choice is ours.
Rev. Al Sharpton also spoke at the rally. He underscored that progressives have work to do:
We’ve got to go home and we’ve got to hit the pavement. We’ve got to knock on doors. We’ve got to ring those church bells.
Sharpton was back at the mic Sunday morning for his “Hour of Power” radio show. He mentioned the One Nation rally in passing, noting that it was a mash-up of issues pushed by labor unions, civil rights organizations, peace groups and environmentalists, among others. Tellingly, he did not give a crowd estimate.
Sharpton asked the $50 million question:
What do we need to energize our base to vote in the midterm elections?
Why are tea partiers getting their voters enthused, but Democrats and progressives are not getting their voters enthused?
Why are they not voting? Why are they not energized? What will it take to energize our community and our base? And why are the conservatives able to energize their base and we are not able to energize ours?
Sharpton posited the possibility that “people are too disappointed.”
Callers offered a number of ideas. One caller echoed remarks House Majority Whip James Clyburn made last week about the folly of Democrats running away from President Barack Obama.
In an interview with theGrio.com, Clyburn said:
The big problem that African-Americans have got with the Democrats is that they don’t think we’re supporting this president sufficiently. That’s what’s showing up in the polls. And the extent to which the president is out there putting that lie to rest that will determine whether or not these people turn out. But if he’s hunkered down in the White House and people don’t think that we’re supporting him and, he ain’t saying anything, silence gives consent. I think the black voters are going to turn out.
One caller cut to the chase:
They need to get people on the campaign trail [with Obama] more than they are. We want to hear from him. We love him.
When it comes to voting for congressional Democrats, “what’s love got to do with it?”