Democratic National Convention
Thursday, August 17, 2000

Democrats claim GOP was faking diversity at convention




By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOS ANGELES — When the Republican Party held its national convention two weeks ago it made great efforts to showcase minorities by giving them prominent appearances on stage and prime-time televised speaking slots.

        Kentucky Democrats here say that was a ruse, a move designed to try and win mi nority votes that have traditionally gone to the Democrats in national elections.

        “That was smoke and mirrors,” said Louisville delegate Gerald Neal, a lawyer and the only African-American member of the Kentucky state Senate.

        “This is deceit at its highest point, right in your face deceit,” he said. “Everybody knows that was purely show.”

        While the GOP tried to show its support of blacks, Latinos and other minorities on the convention stage the overall delegation was mostly white and a majority male, said Eleanor Jordan, a Louisville African-American and former state lawmaker who is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Ann Northup in Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District.

        “Monday night when I looked at the (Democratic Convention) floor I was so thrilled, I saw America,” said Mrs. Jordan, who spoke Wednesday at the convention.

        “I saw white people and black people. I saw Asian Americans and Native Americans. I saw physically chal lenged people ... I saw women, men, I saw people of affluence and I saw working people,” Mrs. Jordan said.

        Through quotas implemented over the last 40 years the Democrats ensure diversity among state delegations, Mr. Neal said.

        The Kentucky delegation to the Democratic Convention has six African-Americans, though two did not make the trip to Los Angel es, and a Native American.

        The Kentucky GOP delegation had no African-Americans.

        Kentucky State Republican Party Chairman Damon Thayer said Wednesday by phone that the party's presidential candidate, George W. Bush, has acknowledged a past problem in the party when it comes to inclusion but he also pledged to change that.

        Main Convention Page



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