Roland Martin is the author of Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith, Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America, and The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.
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He is also a syndicated columnist and host of "Washington Watch with Roland Martin" (TV One Cable Network, 8 am PT and 11 am ET). Martin was questioned about the importance of the African-American vote this coming presidential election. In addition, CP asked about his view on how black voters who are Christian may look at the political issues that are also matters of faith.
CP: Is the African-American vote more important in this coming election than ever before? Why or why not?
Martin: The Black vote is always important and the reason is it serves as a tremendous base for the Democratic Party. On the national level, Democrats traditionally receive at least 90 percent of the Black vote. If you look at 2008, two million more African-Americans voted that year than they did in previous years. Black women voted at a higher rate than any other group in 2008. They (Black voters) are critical because if you look at the re-election chances of President Obama,it's important for him to be able to say during a political campaign, "Look, I can depend on 'X' percentage of votes" and that allows him to be able to build a coalition.
If you look on the GOP side, when you can depend on social conservatives to be your base it allows for you to focus your resources and energy on another aspect of the demographic. That's why right now with the Latino demographic the president has something like a 50-point lead among Latinos on Mitt Romney. So, that makes Romney's chances more difficult. The Black vote is the same way. It is a part of coalition building and so it is absolutely important.
If you are a Democrat and you get less than 90% of the Black vote you are going to likely lose your election.
CP: Do you see any particular political issue that is dividing Christians in general? How about in the African-American Christian community?
Martin: Here's what's happening when we talk about politics and Christians. I'll put it this way. Look how many conservative pastors were blasting Mitt Romney during the primary because he is a Mormon. You had some pastors calling it a cult - "I can't give my vote to a cult." He gets the nomination then what happens? "OK, I know I called it a cult, but..." So, what they are saying is that they are not actually voting based upon their Christian faith. They are voting based on their political position.
My point is faith is huge in many people's lives, but when it comes to politics, a lot of times, people vote their political interest over their religious interest. I'm not speaking of individuals. I'm speaking as a collective. There is going to be pockets of people who don't take that position, but by and large folks are not going to vote based upon their faith. They are going to vote based on their personal political interest.
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SOURCE: Christian Post