Democrats Face Dilemma Over Vouchers

Published September 1, 2003

The recent switch by several prominent black elected officials in Washington, DC to support school vouchers is exposing an issue where the Democratic Party’s two strongest constituencies–teacher unions and blacks–are at odds with each other, notes Investor’s Business Daily correspondent Sean Higgins. The shift–a profound and significant one in political terms–produced no uproar or protests from the city’s black residents.

While teacher unions demand their opposition to vouchers be shared by Democratic candidates they support, polls by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies show a steady 57 percent level of voucher support among blacks, who vote Democratic about 90 percent of the time. Support for vouchers is much higher among black households with children (74 percent) and among black voters under 35 (75 percent).

“Sooner or later, there will be a day of reckoning for Democrats on this,” Andrew Rotherham told Higgins. Rotherham is head of the Democratic Leadership Council’s think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute. “There is a real tension there,” he added.

Source: Investor’s Business Daily, May 15, 2003