Thursday, July 27, 2006

Percentage of African-American population by state


Persuant to your blogstress's previous post on the nation's presidential primary set-up, herewith some useful statistics on race within the states discussed. Numbers represent the percentage of people who, on the 2000 Census, identified themselves as "Black or African American":

12.3 percent - United States of America

02.1 percent - Iowa

00.7 percent - New Hampshire

06.8 percent - Nevada

13.6 percent - New Jersey

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When the dealin's done

The notion of an early presidential caucus in Nevada (advanced, of course, by favorite son, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) seems to be gaining ground among Democrats. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - Democrats were lobbied hard by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and organized labor before they picked Nevada as the best bet to energize the party's early presidential voting in 2008.

A Democratic rules panel on Saturday recommended that Nevada hold a caucus after Iowa's leadoff contest in mid-January 2008, but before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary. South Carolina was awarded an early primary a week after New Hampshire.
While this would probably prove to be something of a bone-warming respite for us frostbitten reporters who flock to Des Moines and Manchester in January, your blogstress offers an alternative, if only slightly less frigid, plan. Rather than have all the early candidate-settling voting taking place in states with unique characteristics, why not have an early primary contest in a state that is a virtual microcosm of the nation as a whole? Your cybertrix speaks, of course, of her beloved home state of New Jersey.

An early contest in Jersey makes sense in all kinds of ways -- not least of which, your Webwench's delight in being so near to her homies. But dig this: in terms of racial and ethnic make-up, as well as land-use mix and economic diversity, N.J. really does come closest of all the states to offering an electoral topography that is representative of America's.

New Jersey is also served by two major media markets, New York and Philadelphia, and is geographically small enough to traverse in three hours, in any direction.

Furthermore, unlike New Hampshire and Iowa, New Jersey has enough black people to constitute actual African-American communities. If the first three contests amount to New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa, it would give the appearance that the major parties did not want black people anywhere in the mix of the early voting that determines who the actual candidates are. And we wouldn't want that, now, would we?

(Just asking.)

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