Yesterday was Election Day in America. Three weeks ago, I challenged my home state, with a directive, “North Carolina Raise Up,” and vote, as the state’s Early Voting process kicked off. My homies responded. The voters of the state recognized what was at stake, and came out in stout numbers throughout a legislatively (I believe vote suppressing) shortened Early Voting session.
I followed up the first week’s primal urging with a clarifying question, “#TURNOUTFORWHAT?” In that post, I explained what was at stake, pointing out a number of clear and pressing reasons for anyone with a moderate-to-progressive outlook to tune out the noise and just go vote.
Disregarding the cacophony of media talking heads that have been predicting for weeks that the Senate would almost certainly transition to a Republican majority, I chose instead to focus on what I believed to be an opportunity for Democrats to control their own destiny. North Carolina, at this juncture in time, is a purple state. Still, in a statewide race, unencumbered by the heavily partisan gerrymandering of a Republican State Legislature, Democrats retained an opportunity to do their part to resist the inexorable push to turn the Senate Red.
As I wrote, it is likely that when the dust settled, the GOP will control the Senate, and conceivable that Senator Hagan would not be able to hold on to her seat. Ultimately, that is precisely how it played out. There are still a few votes to be counted, but the Republicans will control the Senate and NC.
In the final analysis, I observe with bemusement that that the GOP message, intent on tapping into a wave of discontent with President of Obama was not only successful for its base, it was so effective that many Democrats eschewed any attachment with the President. At least one Senate candidate even refused to admit she voted for the President, despite the fact she served as an Obama Delegate…twice. I am not a politician, and I have no desire or inclination to become one. I do admit, I find it dispiriting to see candidates, even in states the President won, in effect, advising the President to stay the heck away.
I voted early, and continuously advised others to vote, either early, or on Election Day. But, while I lamented the GOP’s brazen acts of voter suppression, I confess, it does not surprise me that African Americans and young voters, staples of the Obama Coalition, voted in much lower numbers than in 2012. Yes, it’s true Americans vote less across the board in midterm elections. However, I think yesterday may have been a preview for a systemic issue that may haunt Democrats in 2016.
The famed Obama GOTV (Get Out The Vote) mechanism proved formidable in 2008, and again in 2012. Yet, in 2014, just as in 2010, it proved to be a vastly different tool when Barack Obama was not on the ballot. It is a formula, but I submit, the secret sauce is the President. Without him, it will not be the same. The theory among the candidates who distanced themselves from the President was that the President was toxic. He would have been a burden, not a boon, were he to have campaigned for them. They believed, by shunning the President, white folks would come back to the Party. How’d that work for them?
The truth is, Democrats have one loyal voting block…African Americans. The President has for six years gone out of his way to establish that he is the President of America, not black America. However, despite not catering to them, African Americans voted overwhelmingly for President Obama over two elections, giving him an average of 95% of their votes.
Republicans blame the President for every ill the country experiences, from Wars in the Middle East to Ebola. Simultaneously, they refuse to credit him for the improved economy, the robust Dow, the elevation of the S&P 500, relative GDP Growth, the reduction of the deficit, the increase in consumer confidence…even lower gas prices. Democrats just ran from him. Political Scientists will discuss this for the foreseeable future, but in some of the closest races, Florida, and North Carolina for example, a Presidential presence, versus absence, may have made a difference. There may not have been enough traction to prevent flipping the Senate…but then again, there might have been. So, alas, we’ve come to this…”Electoral Trilogy: The End of the Story!”
I’m done; holla back!
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