Heading into the final two months of an election season where Republicans have a not-unreasonable chance of controlling the Senate, Democrats are trying to motivate African-Americans in the hope they will vote in numbers more typically seen in a presidential year, rather than in a midterm.
In a front page story in Sunday’s New York Times titled At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks, Jonathan Martin highlights the efforts of two prominent Atlantans to get out the vote.
In black churches and on black talk radio, African-American civic leaders have begun invoking the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, along with conservative calls to impeach Mr. Obama, as they urge black voters to channel their anger by voting Democratic in the midterm elections, in which minority turnout is typically lower.
“Ferguson has made it crystal clear to the African-American community and others that we’ve got to go to the polls,” said Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil-rights leader. “You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.”
[I]n an interview on Friday, Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta said whites — or, as he put it, “the majority community” — did not fully appreciate the fury among African-Americans and their desire to register their discontent.
Invoking the mother of Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teenager killed in 2012, and her plea for people to “use my broken heart,” Mr. Reed said he was telling black voters something similar: “The most important tribute you can make to individuals who you believe were treated unfairly is to exercise your franchise.”
Here in Georgia, a recent WSB poll by Landmark Communications showed Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter winning the Senate and Governor’s races–the opposite of other polling that shows Republicans with comfortable leads. Mark Rountree of Landmark insists that’s because his poll is more accurately measuring likely minority turnout.
If African Americans show up at the polls at a greater rate than in a normal off year election, it wouldn’t be the first time, as Nate Cohn of the Times points out:
.@jmartNYT the black share of the electorate in GA in '98 was higher than in '96, up to 22.8 from 21.2
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) August 31, 2014
Things have changed since 1998. Landmark’s poll predicts the black share of the Georgia vote this November will be 29%.