Uh, oops. In fact, according to exit polls, 70% of blacks voted for Prop 8, 51% of whites voted against, 53% of Latinos voted for, and 51% of Asians voted against. 10% of voters were black. Had the black pro-Prop-8 vote been closer to 50% – or 20% less than it was – that would have meant a 2% overall change in the vote (20% of 10% is 2%). How much did we lose by? A little over 2% (there was a 4 point spread, so that means if we gain 2%, the bad guys lose 2%).
A lesbian black leader in California says she wasn’t impressed with No on 8’s strategy for reaching out to the black vote.
How did the No on 8 bring your organization into the larger campaign? Were you approached?
We weren’t approached, however I did make attempts, as did many of our staff and volunteers made attempts to reach out and let them know we were certainly willing to come to the table and help out. Unfortunately we were not approached. It was almost a dismissive response.
Did you go to the Gay and Lesbian Center, did you go to California Equality…
All of the above. And Let Freedom Ring. We were approached basically to kind of showcase some of the couples especially when the courts permitted same-sex marriage. We were immediately approached, “do you have any couples who are going to get married?” However, they were looking for mixed couples, they weren’t looking for African-American couples, from the message that was provided to me. So it wasn’t a real attempt to get us involved in the marketing process, or also kind of going into our communities and canvassing and trying to educate our community on the issues of Prop 8.
Did anyone come and say, “Hey, we need to do outreach in the African-American community together?”
Absolutely not, in fact the message I got from a key person in the No on 8 campaign was that the black vote was really going to be insignificant. It’s not enough, that it wasn’t going to be an issue because we are not a majority of the vote, even though they knew that a large number was going to come out to vote for Obama. It wasn’t a fear because they didn’t feel like the numbers were going to affect (Prop 8 ) either way.
When did you have that conversation?
It was a month prior to the elections. It was a concern after, I believe, the L.A. Times or the New York Times came out implying that black people will be coming out in grater numbers and it was going to affect Prop 8 because of the black vote and the fear of that. From there, I was like, “Okay, how can I get involved?” It was dismissive. It was kind of like it didn’t matter.
PS I know our “leaders” in California are claiming that we’d have lost anyway, even had African-Americans voted with us in the same proportion as other ethnics groups, but that claim is simply not supported by the math (assuming you believe the exit poll data to be correct).