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Democrats’ hardest job

It is so nice to see the real America. Last week when the Republicans gathered, it was, as one paper noted, “A Sea of Whiteness.” This week in Charlotte, N.C., Democratic convention attendees are all colors, every age, gender and economic status. Present are faces that reflect every part of the globe that has populated this nation.

And the Democrats are talking real issues as well. Opportunity has been a key word used over and over by speaker after speaker to great advantage. Democrats acknowledge that what is under threat in the country is opportunity. And opportunity doesn’t trickle down, come via supply side economics or spring from tax cuts to the wealthy.

Opportunities are created with sensitive and meaningful public policy that provides quality education, decent housing, good public transportation, assistance in hard times and workplace rights.

The Republicans would have you believe that if you want to start a business, you just do so — ask daddy for the money. If you want to go to college, just go. Don’t worry that burdensome student loans can in no way cover every cost or that there are no jobs to help assist you with school expenses. Without good public transportation, how do you get to where the opportunities might be? Without child care, how are you free to hold a job? When the schools available to you are substandard, how do you get your foot on the first rung of the ladder?

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder offers a lesson for voters. He ran as a nerd. Many Democrats switched to vote for him believing that his business approach would help the state’s beleaguered economy. We saw him take the slash and burn, trickle down, give the rich a chance to save you route that the Republicans are promising with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Snyder balanced the budget, yes, but in the process he cut revenue sharing with the cities pushing them into emergency management. Snyder cut cash welfare to 11,000 families in Detroit alone, leaving families with no cash to ride the bus, buy gas or any of the many other cash-only transactions daily life requires, all while prompting a crime wave as everyday people’s cash disappeared. He has shifted more tax burden on retirees and workers while giving corporations more help.

Blacks understand the Republicans mean no good for the majority of citizens struggling to make it; the polls show zero percent African American support for Romney. Unfortunately, that does not translate into a vote for Democrats.

The Democrats — and Michigan Democrats especially — have a monumental task to get their voters out to the polls. Somehow, the Dems must show voters that the hardships and meanness Snyder has brought to the poor here will come down even harder if folk don’t get out and vote. Suffering higher unemployment than four years ago, watching suburban companies getting the benefits of the Obama stimulus funds whether laying new sidewalks or building the new DPS buildings, Detroiters saw the stimulus was not for them. Will they still go out and vote for Obama?

Love for Obama is manifest in the city. Will that motivate people to get to the polls? The Democrats have to get busier than they have been if they want people to get up and go vote. There are no yard signs, no flyers, no campaign workers on the block or even in the city, yet. If things don’t change and the Democrats do not find a way to reach the grassroots in the city, the 53.15 percent of Detroiters who voted for Obama in 2008 will stay at home.

That is the challenge the Democrats face.

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