By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — Long considered stalwarts for Democratic candidates in Illinois, are African Americans now turning on the party?
GOP Governor candidate Bruce Rauner is touting his support among influential black pastors in Chicago–including Corey Brooks and James Meeks–against Democrat Pat Quinn.
Now a video on You Tube appears to illustrate growing anger with Democrats at the state, local and national levels.
“We are always talking about what the Republicans haven’t done for us or what they will do to hurt us,” said activist Joseph Watkins, who was filmed standing on the site of the former Ida B. Wells public housing project. “My life has been hurt by Democrats.”
In another scene, Paul McKinley is standing outside the Cook County Jail, accusing Rahm Emanuel and Quinn of abandoning African American interests.
“There’s a black on black crime down in city hall, there’s a black on black crime down in all the state capitols in America, where all the black folks are voting against our interests,” he said.
In fact, that issue was raised at the second debate between Quinn and Rauner, sponsored by the Urban League, when Rauner hammered at Quinn for “taking the black vote for granted.”
Quinn strongly denied the accusation and touted his strong support for blacks, including job creation and raising the minimum wage.
Rauner campaign aide Mike Schrimpf said on Tuesday: “With one of the highest unemployment rates for African Americans in the nation, failing schools, and rampant crime, it’s no wonder African Americans are turning away from Governor Quinn who has taken them for granted.”
Watkins goes on to blame President Obama for homelessness and high unemployment after housing projects like Wells, which is located in Bronzeville, a few miles from Obama’s home, were razed. However, Chicago’s plan to move residents from the crime-plagued high-rises began in the mid 1990s, well before Obama’s political rise to prominence. Wells was demolished in 2002.
The video was posted by Jeremy Segal’s RebelPundit.com, who said McKinley, and three other people in the video have all served time in prison in the past, and have since taken to the streets of Chicago to fight against the injustices in their community. Rebel Pundit says it is on a mission to expose “the true nature of liberalism and the toll it has taken on regular peoples’ lives is our top mission.”
One of those men is Mark Carter, who accused the Obama administration of using the minimum wage issue as a way to keep the American American vote in Democratic hands.
“To hell with your minimum raise wage, we don’t have any jobs, minimum wage raise for what?” Carter said.
“Everywhere you go, there is poverty in black areas,” Harold Ward said. “It’s the same way in every black community across the country. How can the same process happen over and over again, and can’t nobody do nothing about it?”
Polls show that the race between Rauner and Quinn is a statistical dead heat. Analysts say the real key to victory will be with suburban women, who tend to be moderate on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues.
A Quinn campaign aide dismissed any notion that African Americans will line up behind Rauner.
“We don’t think that billionaire Bruce Rauner’s record of outsourcing jobs, laying off workers and advocating to cut the minimum wage is supported by many in the African American community or any other community.” said Brooke Anderson. “Mr. Rauner’s policies are as out of touch as he is.”
“More people are working today than when Governor Quinn took office, and the governor improved state contracts to African-American owned firms by 80 percent.”
A recent Chicago Tribune poll found that Quinn had 86 percent support among black voters statewide, while Rauner, who has tried to attract support in African-American neighborhoods, had just 3 percent.
However, the key for Quinn will be to get those supporters out to the polls, either during early voting on on Election Day.