The ANC-PAC views the 2010 Congressional elections – which are already shaping up to be as competitive as any of the past generation – as a powerful opportunity for our community to deliver a clear message that candidates must earn Armenian American votes by delivering real results in the weeks and months leading up to November 2nd.
In these coming weeks and months, we will, as a PAC and as a community, continue to view electoral races on non-partisan, case-by-case basis. As in the past, we will support – with our votes, our campaign contributions, and our volunteer efforts – friends in both the Democratic and Republican parties based on their actual records of delivering support on issues of special concern to Armenian Americans.
Our stand is not a Republican one or a Democratic one, but rather one that reflects the core consensus of a vibrant and diverse Armenian American electorate that stands united on our community’s advocacy priorities.
We are today, in our effort to extend our support to each of our friends, facing a special challenge in generating community backing for Democratic candidates. This is the direct result of the Obama-Biden Administration’s pattern of broken pledges and disappointing record of opposition to Armenian issues, ranging from foreign aid to Armenia, the regional military balance, and the Nagorno Karabagh peace process. Most notable in this regard was the President’s breach of his clearly stated and oft-repeated campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Not only did the President, despite a truly unprecedented, effective, and far-reaching Armenians for Obama campaign, break this solemn commitment, but, once in office, he directed his Administration to apply intense pressure on Armenia to accept a set of Protocols that called into question this very crime against the entire Armenian nation.
Fairly or unfairly, the anger and disappointment over the President’s abandoned promises have had, and will continue to make a major impact on how voters respond to other Democratic candidates, even those who are supportive of Armenian issues. The most recent example of this was the Brown-Coakley race in Massachusetts, which saw many Armenian American voters, despite Democrat Martha Coakley’s late and limited outreach to the Massachusetts large Armenian community, supporting Republican Scott Brown. The motivation driving these voters, who may very well have helped tip the balance in this race, was a simple one: Armenian Americans, like any other constituency, resent, reject, and respond decisively and negatively to being misled. We have seen a similar dynamic in Illinois, where the community has rallied behind Congressman Mark Kirk, the Co-Chairman of the Armenian Caucus, in his race to till the Senate seat formerly held by President Obama.
We have been very heartened as a community by the courageous recent decision by Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, in scheduling a vote on March 4 on HR 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution. We will be watching this vote very closely and fully expect the resolution to pass committee and come up for a vote before the House of Representatives. We are also awaiting action in the Senate to bring this important piece of human rights legislation to the full Senate for a vote.
Looking ahead, it is clear that the most effective way for Democratic candidates to address the serious handicaps created by the Administration is not to simply expand their outreach to Armenian American voters, although continued dialogue is always welcome, but rather to reverse the White House’s positions on Armenian issues – starting with the President honoring his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.