A MESSAGE FROM THE LEFT
Date: Saturday, October 29, 1988
Date: Saturday, October 29, 1988
As if he hasn't had enough, more bad news for the Democratic presidential nominee came to Boston earlier this week in the name of Lenora B. Fulani, who is urging voters across the country to "dump the Duke."
Fulani, a black psychologist, is running for the White House on the New Alliance Party ticket. She distinguishes herself as the "first African- American presidential candidate ever to be on the ballot in every state and the District of Columbia." As with most third party candidates, Fulani knows she can't get elected, but she is hoping that this election will establish the New Alliance Party as a major political force.
To gain this leverage, the party is hoping to win at least 1 percent, or 1 million, of the total votes cast on election day. But that is only part of its goal. The other is to help Michael Dukakis and the Democratic Party go down to defeat. In that way, the New Alliance Party can build on the dissatisfaction of black and liberal white Democrats who feel the party is no longer working in their best interest.
"Our theme is to 'dump the Duke,' " said party spokeswoman Annie Roboff, ''because we don't believe he has done anything to earn the support of black Americans, progressive white Americans, lesbians and gays." Roboff believes Dukakis and the Democrats have given only "lip service" to the concerns of blacks, the poor and progressive whites. And despite the Republican Party's more conservative agenda, she thinks a GOP win this year will be good for these constituencies since it will give the New Alliance Party more strength to force the Democratic Party to seriously address their needs.
"The GOP never claimed to be the party of the poor, the progressive white and the black American. They make it clear they don't want anything to do with them. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of the poor and blacks, she said, but it instead has become more like the GOP, the party of "rich, white males."
By gaining enough support from disenchanted blacks, other minorities, liberal whites, lesbians and gays, the New Alliance Party believes it will be in the position to force Democratic congressmen to support their legislative agenda or they will have enough clout to vote them out of office.
With her low visibility and third party affiliation, Folani may not be able to draw enough votes to significantly contribute to impending defeat, but she hopes to attract as many Democratic votes as possible to enhance her party's clout.
However, Dukakis is not the only Democrat the New Alliance Party is going after. Although Fulani and other party representatives say they are supportive of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, they are also critical of his role in the Democratic Party.
During the primaries, the New Alliance Party, which describes itself as ''pro-Socialist," was going after basically the same constituency that has supported Jackson. Now that Jackson is no longer a candidate, Fulani hopes to draw Jackson's supporters.
While they argue that they are not opposed to Jackson, that the New Alliance's platform is "basically the same" as Jackson's, they do not see his presence in the Democratic Party as truly beneficial to his costituents, since the party itself is not really going to help them.
"The Democrats are not the only ones we are sending a message
to," said the party's New England regional coordinator, Mary
Fridley. "Jesse needs to get a message too -- that the 7.5
million votes he got in the primaries was
Jackson has said in the past that he believes in working for his constituents through the Democratic Party rather than with a third party, but he has not been publicly critical of Fulani's candidacy. But some of his supporters have been openly critical of her candidacy and her effort to work for the defeat of Dukakis in hopes of drawing blacks and other Democrats to the New Alliance Party.
In an open letter to Jackson recently, Fulani urged him "to do whatever is possible" to discourage his supporters from attacking her candidacy. Yet it is Jackson himself who could be a target of the New Alliance Party as it tries to build its strength by continuing to pursue Jackson's constituency long after November.
So after this "Dump the Duke" campaign, the New Alliance Party may be on a collision course with Jackson, who is likely to become the new Democratic frontrunner the day after the election. At least for a while, the New Alliance Party will have difficulty describing Jackson as a continuation of the Democratic Party's hierachy of "rich, white males."
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