The Democratic Party is committed to addressing the needs of the African American community and should take over in the upcoming presidential elections, said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean in a speech last night in the Intercultural Center Auditorium in honor of Black History Month.
"The Democratic Party is the political party dedicated to Martin Luther King's dream," he said. "We are the party of inclusion. ... In this election year, we will make history by electing either an African American or a female candidate."
He stressed the diversity in the Democratic Party, noting that young Democrats - ages 18-29 - tend to vote along age, rather than racial, lines.
"Your generation sees itself as a multi-culturist generation," Dean said, noting that young voter turnout rates are similar among different ethnic groups.
Dean expressed enthusiasm for the record-breaking voter turnout in this year's Democratic primaries, in which more than 20,000,000 people have voted so far, as well as the increase in youth voting rates, up to 61 percent.
In addition to trying to increase turnout among Democratic voters, the party tries to sway independent voters to consistently vote Democratic, Dean said.
"We have to earn your vote every time," he said. "You register independent, but you vote Democratic."
Dean criticized the Republican Party, saying their policies and world view were out of date.
"When you look at the [Republican] Party, it does not look like your generation," he said. "It does not look like America. ... When they open their mouths, they don't just look like the 1950s, they sound like the 1850s."
Dean also criticized presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
"If you want a third term of [President George W.] Bush, vote for McCain," he said. "[He] does not understand [economics] by his own admission."
Dean highlighted the work of the Democratic Party's New Neighborhood Leadership Commission, through which activists go door-to-door around the country to bolster support for the Democratic Party and candidates. This campaign increased the Democratic voter turnout by 12 percent in the last year, he stated.
Dean's speech was preceded by an address by Brian Cook (COL '10), who spoke about the role of the black population in American history.
This event was co-sponsored by the Georgetown University College Democrats, the Georgetown chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Black Student Alliance, the Center for Minority Education and Affairs, GU Brothers and Sisters for Christ and the Black House.
© 2008 The Hoya via U-WIRE