Kerry v. Sharpton?

Speaking of John Kerry’s burdens as frontrunner, TNR argues that he’s the one Democrat who can take the short-term heat for denouncing Al Sharpton in the primaries. True enough, as far as it goes; but the problem with Sharpton is November 2004, when he could decide he’s been ‘disrespected’ and pull the plug on Democratic efforts to get out African-American voters in New York and possibly other cities as well. That could hand New York State, at a minimum, to George Bush, and possibly undercut Chuck Schumer’s re-election as well if he’s facing a decent opponent (if I’m Schumer, I’m quietly doing everything possible now to secure the loyalty of the black churches outside of Sharpton). There are a number of states where even a small swing in the African-American turnout could give Bush the state — Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri. Losing New York, of course, would be a death blow to any Democrat’s hopes of winning the White House, and as I’ve argued before, the combination of a conservative upstate climate and the intense focus of NY City voters on the war on terror could easily put NY in legitimate play for Republicans on the presidential level for the first time since 1984.