[Right-wingers] make their "he's one of us" vote claim regarding Powell in particular (blacks in general) in spite of the fact that a person of color has run for the White House in every presidential election over the last 24 years: Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988. Gov. Douglas Wilder of Virginia in 1992. Former ambassador and conservative activist Alan Keyes of Maryland in 1996 and 2000. Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois and the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York in 2004.
Plenty of opportunities for Powell and other blacks to willy-nilly support a brother (or a sister).
Conservatives may argue that, well, none of those candidates was even worth Powell's attention. But if Powell is — if blacks are — just going to vote for a "darkie," then won't any "darkie" do?
None carried the black vote to any significance. Certainly not Keyes. Not Wilder and Braun, arguably the most qualified candidates at that time. Jackson had some strong showings but could not come close to closing the deal.
And what about Sharpton? Shouldn't he be the closest comparison to Obama in terms of blacks just "giving him" their votes? Sharpton, too, gives a good speech, and he ran most recently.
In 2004, in the District of Columbia primary, Sharpton came in second to Howard Dean. D.C. at the time was 70 percent minority. Sixty percent black. Yet the minorities and the blacks "gave" their votes to Dean. In South Carolina, only 1 in 5 blacks voted for Sharpton.
Here's some of the anti-Obama media elite to whom Ridley is responding: