The smoke’s clearing from the election and the voter statistics tell a simple straightforward story: Four years ago African-Americans were 19% of the voters – this year they were 25%.
Obama’s campaign said it was going to turn out 250,000 new African-American voters – and darn near did it. Thanks to Obama’s relentless ‘ground game’ this election, for the first time, African-American turnout (at 74%) was higher than ‘white’ turnout (at 69%).
The result: Before the election polls (projecting a slight increase in turnout among African-Americans) showed Obama needed 38% of the so-called ‘white vote’ to win. He successfully increased Black turnout to 25%, which meant he only needed 33% of the ‘white vote’ – he got just a smidgen more and won.
The bottom line: Obama won the old-fashioned way. He got his voters to the polls.
Where does this leave Republicans? I recently had an email from a Republican elected official who asked: Will Black turnout be this high again in 2010? Who knows. But in politics always assume the worst.
The Democrats have (or will have shortly, from the Board of Elections) the name of every African-American who voted in 2008. They’ll even know who voted the first time. And, with Obama in the White House, it stands to reason these new voters aren’t going to suddenly lose their interest in politics. It also stands to reason Democrats are smart enough to do everything (and more) in 2010 to turn out African-Americans – that Obama did in 2008.
To win in 2010 Republicans need a strategy that recognizes that 75% of the African-Americans are going to vote next election – just as they did in the last election.
If we assume otherwise we’re acting like ostriches – and sticking our heads in the sand.
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