DNC Platform Puts Some Blacks, Latinos on the Fence

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There's a growing divide in the Democratic Party among some key minority voters like Hispanics and African Americans.

Many of these voters are having a hard time meshing their morality with party loyalties.

Democrats pride themselves on their diversity and it's apparent looking at DNC attendees.

But what's not so obvious is the difference of opinions on lightning rod issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, which, for the first time, are supported in the Democratic Party platform.

"I think it may be a problem with some people for President Obama, but I am very much okay with it," Democratic voter Dott Nicholson-Brown said.

Not all Democrats agree.

Fernando Cabrera is a New York pastor and a city council member from the Bronx. He believes the party's progressive shift might help win over some liberal votes, but ultimately it may do more harm than good.

"My message is this could cost us our election," Cabrera said.

He added that he came to Charlotte specifically to debate the platform change.

"I see myself as a reformer, and I'm hoping that we can put enough pressure (on the party)," Cabrera explained. "And as you know one of the biggest issues is gay marriage."

Cabrera believes Latinos and other minority groups tend to place a high premium on issues like life and family.

But the party was in no mood for a debate.

Instead, Democrats wanted to present a unified front for President Obama's re-election.

"It puts me in a tough position, in a tough place. But again, there's a certain sacred cow you just ought not touch and mess with, and for us it's that traditional value," University City Church Pastor Michael Stevens said.

Stevens, who leads a predominantly black church, senses Obama's support among black voters has slipped from four years ago.

"I think behind that curtain come November ... you're going to see blacks make decisions that they're not publicly proud of," he said.

"Secondly, I think there's going to be a huge influence of African Americans that say, 'You know what? I'm staying home.' Which is really a victory for no one," Stevens added.

If Cabrera and Stevens are right, this could have a have a dramatic effect on Election Day.

In 2008, 95 percent of the black vote went to President Obama and 67 percent of Latinos supported him at the ballot box.

Even those who are in favor of the more progressive elements of the platform understand it could hurt, but they hope it won't.

"I think when people sit with their hearts, they understand that it's the fair thing," Democrat Mirca Negroni said. "We may not all agree on what God is telling each of us to do, but I think we agree that we want our party to stand for justice."

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.