Why Irish American vote is more important than ever
Irish Times columnist Niall Stanage is dead wrong
The other inherited characteristic of the Irish American voter is they relish participatory politics. In the 2006 congressional elections, the Democrats gained 31 new seats. Of these, 15 were Irish Americans.
In 2008, the Democrats added another 20 new seats. Of these, nine were Irish Americans.
Irish American Democrats, the group that I founded, gave money and/or organized fundraisers, for each of these newly elected congressional members. We are currently "grooming" 10 aspiring politicians in their twenties to run for congressional seats.
To what extent do crucial Irish American voters "consciously think of themselves as Irish?" Obviously the thousands of Irish Americans in 50 states who have contributed millions of dollars through Irish American Democrats’ Political Action Committee over the past 13 years consciously think of themselves as Irish.
No politicians have received more from Irish America than the Clintons. At one St. Patrick's Day breakfast Irish American Democrats raised $200,000 for the election of Hillary Clinton to the Senate.
As was commonly reported, Irish Americans raised millions for the election bid of Senator Clinton for the Presidency. One of our own, Declan Kelly, was at the very top of Senator Clinton's list of fundraisers.
Irish American Democrats unabashedly support candidates for office who promote peace, justice and prosperity in Ireland. We engage our candidates in discussions on how they can most use their influence to further Irish culture in the U.S.
And yes, we make no apology for our great concern that 50,000 Irish are working without documentation in America. We plan to use all of our influence, in cooperation with Hispanics and other ethnic groups, to promote the immigration bill that President Obama expects to introduce in January.
Twenty-seven European, Arab and Asian American political groups are represented in the Ethnic Coordinating Committee of the national Democratic Party. Of these 27 ethnic groups, Irish America has far and away the greatest number of representatives on Capitol Hill.
To illustrate the importance of the vote in American elections, blacks account for 13% of the American population and they have just one Senate member; Jews are 9% of the population and they have 11 senators.
Of the 100 member Senate body, Irish Americans represent one-fifth or 21 senators. At meetings of the Ethnic Coordinating Committee, the other ethnic groups regularly express their envy of Irish America and our ability to elect Irish to political office.
The unions are the financial backbone of the Democratic Party. The majority by far of these unions are headed by Irish Americans, including the president of the AFL/CIO, John Sweeney.
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