Chapter Nine
MOBILIZING MINORITY VOTERS IN NEW YORK

The 1969 re-election of Mayor John V. Lindsay supplied final proof of the death of clubhouse machine politics in New York City as well as the feebleness of party labels when voters are moved by independent issues.

Party loyalty has traditionally been most unshakable among the poorest and least educated -- handed down in the family along with physical features or religion. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the allegiance of Black voters to the Democratic party in the North has been one of the constants in the ebb and flow of two- party politics. The Lindsay New York City victors in 1969 showed that Black voters -- poor as they were, so cut off from middle-class channels of political dialogue, conditioned by reflex to reach for the Democratic lever on the voting machine -- were fully capable of perceiving a new set of self-interests and acting upon them independently at the polls.

Blacks in New York City had given better than 90 per cent of their votes to Democrats Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and again to Democrat Hubert Humphrey in 1968. In his first 1965 campaign, John Lindsay had devoted special attention to Bedford-Stuyvesant and Harlem, the two biggest concentrations of Black population, and earmarked a portion of his sparse media budget for a major effort on radio stations cater-

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