Almost a year and a half ago, I made a presentation about 2004 election to a group of influential Muslim leaders. The presentation was based on a two-year study of the electoral history of the country during the last 40 years.
I made a case that Muslims could become partners in the forthcoming electoral exercise provided they determine their priorities and goals in advance and mobilize their resources properly.
Based on my analysis, I suggested that in senatorial races, there will be five very closely watched states, in house districts, there will be some 34 very closely watched races and in presidential election, there will be some 12 battle ground states.
I argued that if Muslim votes are mobilized properly, the community could play an effective role in impacting the electoral outcome of the election 2004.
My proposal was very simple. Let us mobilize Muslim votes in those closely contested districts and states and empower the local communities to take matters in their hands for an intelligent decision. I even suggested that we should not spend our electoral resources in states where the outcome is well known. I argued that this would put us on electoral map as a national community.
I also proposed that in these districts and states, we should work with other national, local and regional electoral groups for voter registration. My idea was to develop a comprehensive list of every Muslim eligible voter in key states and districts and mobilize them for an active role in election.
However, after lobbying with various Muslim organizations there was little movement in defining a clear and detailed strategy for election 2004.
At various political events the discussion was shallow with very little long-term strategy. Most of the discussions were based on emotionalism. Some people suggested Muslims should elect anyone but Bush. And yet others were suggesting that Muslim votes are not cheap without mentioning where those Muslim votes were and who was selling them if they were to be sold at a higher price.
As we look beyond elections 2004 we need to plan a more effective strategy that expresses our Islamic values and will contribute to Peace, Liberty and Justice for all.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is Director of the Muslim Electorates' Council of America. He is also the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.