[Winning his party's nomination in 2000 will be considerably easier for Gore if he can lock up the African-American vote, which accounts for as much as a quarter of the Democratic-primary total. So he is courting the party's most loyal voters at every opportunity. At a time when there is little federal money to spread around, Gore has championed the Administration's empowerment-zone program, which pours millions of dollars into depressed areas like inner Detroit. During the fall campaign, he visited black churches on Sundays with a rousing sermon that an aide described as] very un-Al Gore, ... The Vice President will not have any problem connecting with ethnic minorities.