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Date: Thursday, November 4, 2010
By: Michael H. Cottman,


For President Barack Obama, Tuesday’s hostile take-over of the House of Representatives by Republicans was a stunning political setback, a fundamental rejection of Obama’s sweeping legislative agenda.

It was also Obama’s first failure as president to rally black Americans around a slate of  Democratic candidates during a critical mid-term election cycle. Unfortunately for Obama, black voters, collectively, did not answer his call.  

Obama now faces a harsh political reality: The historic shift in power in Washington, D.C. that resulted from Tuesday’s elections could stall parts of the president’s ambitious initiatives for the next two years, unless he decides to compromise with a GOP that he has described as misguided and irresponsible.

“All sides are going to have to compromise to get anything done,” Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist, told Wednesday.  “It’s easier said than done, however.” 

Obama will likely experience political gridlock like he’s never seen as president – the same kind of extreme partisan divisions he vowed to mediate from his White House perch. 

In 2008, the president campaigned as a national healer who would cut through the hardcore Washington politics and unite both parties. Starting this week, Obama will get his chance to prove that he’s a genuine consensus builder.

During a White House press conference Wednesday, Obama appeared humbled and admitted that he took a “shellacking” in Tuesday’s elections.

“This is something that I think every president needs to go through because the responsibilities of this office are so enormous and so many people are depending on what we do,” Obama said, “and in the rush of activity, sometimes we lose track of the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place.”

“I’m sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons,” he added. “But I do think that this is a growth process and an evolution.”

As part of Obama’s growth process, perhaps the president will reflect on the particular economic needs of the black community and ask himself – and his political advisors - why many black voters did not respond to his request for a strong turn-out on Tuesday.

Despite his last-minute pleas on black radio, many African-Americans largely sat out on Tuesday because they were disengaged. Obama not only failed to rally women, independents and college students around Democrats, but he also failed to fire up his own black base.

Perhaps black voters didn’t turn out Tuesday because Obama’s name was not on the ballot. Or maybe Obama hasn't visited enough black neighorhoods as president. With the black unemployment rate rising to 15.6 percent, some civil rights activists say Obama could rally the faithful simply by addressing the black unemployment crisis directly – and publicly. 

The collapse of the economy has taken its toll on families everywhere, and black Americans are frustrated and angry, too. Many black professionals tell that Obama can’t expect the black vote again simply because he’s black – African-Americans need a legitimate reason to enthusiastically support Obama’s candidacy.

“Frankly, I’m tired of defending Obama,” one lifelong black Democrat told Wednesday.

Obama is recovering from a strategic body blow in the form of Republicans gaining at least 60 seats in the House - the largest victory for either party since 1948. The GOP is hoping to capitalize on voter anger toward Democrats and turn Obama into a one-term president.

Republicans are already preparing to repeal Obama’s controversial health care legislation, and there’s also talk that the GOP wants to abort Obama’s stimulus plan, saying the sweeping initiative is driving up the federal deficit. 

“Yesterday’s vote confirmed what I've heard from folks all across America,” Obama said Wednesday. “People are frustrated. They’re deeply frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery. They want jobs to come back faster, they want paychecks to go further.”

And African-Americans want to believe that America’s first black president embraces their concerns during tough economic times.

Obama and Democrats need an immediate, aggressive, nationwide plan to inspire the black electorate. With the presidential election two years away, Obama can’t afford to take his message to black voters two weeks before the election. He must begin to solidify his relationship with the black community today - city by city, block by block.

“So, the question I think that my Republican friends and me and Democratic leaders are going to have answer is what are our priorities?” Obama asked. “What do we care about?”

It’s a great question – and black Americans who stood in line for hours to elect Obama in 2008 deserve a straightforward answer today.

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I need to see from Cottman some numbers.  How many black voters live in congressional districts where Democratic incumbents lost to Republican challengers?  From the things I've read, many of these were fairly conservative districts to begin with.  And interestingly enough, many of the democratic incumbents from those districts were centrist to center right, and therefore wouldn't have sparked much passion from black Obama supporters to begin with. 

And as far as senators, in which states would absentee black voters have changed the outcome had they turned out?
I agree, Vox!!  I, too, was hoping/expecting to see some numbers from him to substantiate his claims, as well.  Without them, it's hard to take this article at face value!!

I usually get my numbers on elections from the Census Bureau ... which probably hasn't calculated them yet!!  But, I don't really trust any of the news outlets not to skewer the numbers in favor of their bias for whatever story they're writing.  So, I'm trying to wait for somebody reputable (maybe the Pew Center??) to give their findings.

However ... I will be on the lookout for such data.  I'm VERY interested to know the breakdown of how this election really went down!
  Yep!  They bailed out all right!  Traders!  Blindsided kneegrows.  I am MORE than disappointed in my people....many of 'em don't take care of themselves, care less about their children's future or the future of their OWN culture for that matter and it just seems to me all they do is yak yak yak!  I haven't seen serious action since the 70s.  I believe old school blackfolks is a dying breed...a thing of the past.  Cuz from where I sit, I don't see any Blackfolks demonstrating their love for their own people.  I do see Hispanics loving hispanics by showing their voting power, I see immigrants loving their own people by showing solidarity and support....but!  Blackfolks?  All they do....most of 'em is run their mouths...seeking some form of acceptance for being deemed as intellectual.    Get the fock outta here.  How bout doing some substantial work for your people.  Huh?  How about that?  What?  You're waiting for massa to do it? might as well put those chains back on.  Cuz if that's what you're waiting's NOT gonna focking happen.  Ever!  But!  I'm just sayin

It looks like the 5th congressional district in Virginia is 24% black, and the Republican beat the democrat by 3%.  One pre-election poll had a sample that was 12% black and had the republican winning by 17 points.  Another pre-election poll was more accurate, with a 20% sample.  In that poll, the republican still would've won by 11 points.  It stands to reason that black voters turned out in good numbers there, because he only lost by 3 points.  This is a very rural area from the looks of things, and undoubtedly the white people there hate Obama and vote monolithically against him.  In fact, McCain actually beat Obama in that district in 2008!  By the same 3 point margin! 

We should find out the black voter turnout percentage in that election.  If they turned out in reasonable numbers in that election, then that's one congressman who will need another scapegoat, and knee-jerk idiots need to come up with another excuse for why things ended up the way they did.
Black voters didn't bail on President Obama, Black voter bailed on Congress, the democrats. After seeing congress basically do nothing while the tea party, racist white hate groups, and the rest of the republicans told lies, stabbed the president in the back, attempted to or did block each and every thing that would be of benefit to the average voter as usual, a lot of people, not just Black people, had no motivation to show up at the polls.  Voters did the same thing to congress/the democrats that congress/the democrats did to the average voter, wait until they were in the position to exact real change in this country, then sit and not do a damn thing!
It wasn't just Black folk but young people, Independents, Republicans who voted for Obama, gays and old people of all races and  groups who stayed home frustrated and did not vote.

And in this case, you have to blame the Obama adminstration and the DNC....They won, got lazy, fat, dumb and happy and thought with very little effort, that they would just come back around and vote again this election...In many cases, you cannot give some people the complete trust and total benefit of the doubt...but they did, took it for granted and they lost.

Themulti-millions, that huge base of support that was organized, energized and nourished throughout the Presidential campaign to get him elected is totally gone and should have remained and never allow to disband and stray away; should have been constantly mobilized, communicated to and provided for from the very first day that President Obama won and within the last 2 years, continue tokeep those voting demographics up to date and their needs after this bloodbath, it will extremely hard to get them back.
Last edited by Cholly
t looks like the 5th congressional district in Virginia is 24% black, and the Republican beat the democrat by 3%. One pre-election poll had a sample that was 12% black and had the republican winning by 17 points. Another pre-election poll was more accurate, with a 20% sample. In that poll, the republican still would've won by 11 points. It stands to reason that black voters turned out in good numbers there, because he only lost by 3 points.

Hmmm ... I dunno, Vox.  I can't really get with these numbers either.  There's too many unknown variables to get an accurate reading there.

Yes, the district is 24% Black .. but, how many of those are eligible?  Registered? Disenfranchised? And "samples" don't work for me either.  If you "sampled" my family and took only 1 or 2 opinions .. you'd have an additional 3 (different) opinions that never got registered ... let alone tallied! 

I like whole numbers!    Let me know who voted and who didn't!!!

Which .. I might add .. is also something I find questionable in itself.  If our vote is supposed to be anonymous and personal and a secret unless you tell it ... how to "they" know who or how many of anybody has voted??? 
I agree, Ebony, and I'd love to see the actual numbers.  But what struck me initially about that example was that McCain beat Obama in that district in 2008 by the same margin that the republican won in this election.  I know black voter turnout in 2008 was as high in that district as it could have been!  I'm sure it wasn't as high this time around, but this info tells me, if nothing else (and admittedly, it probably does tell us nothing else), that we should wait and see before we start blaming low black voter turnout for this.  If the black vote was low specifically in the districts that Republicans beat incumbent democrats in, then let's see some proof.
I'm watching a program on C-SPAN with a panel of journalists, political experts - and Dennis Kucinich (I don't know how he got in there! ) - discussing the midterm election.

In response to a question of how the panel thinks to get more young voters (and minorities) interested in voting at the levels they did in 2008, during "off year" elections such as this one, one of the panelists gave the statistic that voter turn out was higher in this midterm election than usual.  They said that  it's been determined that approximately only 42% of eligible voters voted ..  which is about 5% higher than the average number that usually vote.

As I've stated before ... Black people generally vote at about the mid-30 percentile in midterms. It would seem like this election was not much different.

There were a lot of white folks that voted for President Obama that did so for reasons of which they would never do so again.  A lot of "disgruntled" Republicans .. unhappy with (or scared of) a McCain-Palin ticket chose "hope" and (the possibility of) "change" instead.  There were White women energized by Hillary Clinton who (maybe reluctantly) voted for the President because she asked them too .. and many were hoping that he'd make her VP to appease/show appreciation to them for there support.  There were Independents who KNEW that the McCain-Palin thing was a disaster waiting to happen.  And still others that just got swept up into the "movement" that the President had created with his unique candidacy.

Many (probably most) of these were one-time votes .. and they were not for the Democratic Party ... but for the iconic candidate, Barack Obama. 

I also think that some of you guys are giving the Democratic Party waaaaayyyyy too much credit for knowing that they should have been actively working to keep their "base" energized.  Let alone, having knowledge about how, exactly, to do that.  I mean ... it's not like they've had a lot of practice at that.  It's not something they do (or have had to do) on the regular before now.

They can barely manage governing and supporting themselves ... and they simply rode the wave that was the excitement created by the President in 2008 ... none of them did anything special to stir up the voter base then ... probably didn't understand why or how it was happening ... and while I'm sure they were grateful for the support (and the majority) ... it really wasn't directed at then - the Democratic Party or the Senators or Representatives of Congress.

I definitely agree that the strategy should have been for the Democrats to take advantage of a higher and renewed political enthusiasm and nurtured it and maintained it and made not grow even stronger.  But, let's face it ... the Democratic Party has been dominated by weak-kneed, no-backbone, scared-of-their-own-shadow, sniveling political cowards for probably forever.

Expecting that they (or the President) would have known the right thing to do with the unprescidented support (something that none of them had ever seen in their lifetimes!)  is giving them more intellectual credit than they really deserve..
I'm telling you, Barack Obama being president and racist whites hatred of having a Black president brought more white people to the polls.  

It is as simple as that.  

All of the political dissecting of this election is no more than politicians wanting to put their spin on it, and without mentioning that racism brought more (white) people to the polls.  Which was obviously beginning to unfold the minute Barack Obama, a Black/non-white person was elected president of the United States.  I'm sure that there are whites who voted in these mid-terms who have never voted before, or who rarely vote, etc., merely out of their hatred of the fact that a non-white person was elected president.  It's just that simple, period.
This author makes an assertion but doesn't bring any statistical data?    Not kool.

However, I have heard radio snippets which say that DEMOCRATS in general including white ones did not turn out at the levels they did in 2008, and that independents switched over to republicans.

Perhaps courting independents is the way to go, but it seems sucky given that they can't seem to tell the difference between "harmful to the country" and "benign" political positions.  So-called independents have way too much power.  it basically reduces the political process to pandering to those who can't make up their minds.
This still doesn't give us "hard numbers" is still based on projection and speculation ... but, at least it is an opposing view .. and one in OUR favor, for once! 

Blacks, Young Voters Did Turn Out for Mid-Terms

Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
By: Denise Stewart,



When the votes were counted last Tuesday night in St. Louis, County Executive Charlie A. Dooley had won another four years in office, a victory he credits in part to a heavy voter turnout in the North County districts, home to a large number of black voters.

Dooley, a Democrat, beat his Republican challenger by more than 15,000.

While the voting patterns still are being analyzed from the mid-term elections, it’s clear that blacks across the country went to the polls and voted, said Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

“Don't believe the hype. Black folks voted,” Campbell said told
Two other groups have analyzed exit poll data and released a report that shows heavy voting among young people between the ages of 18 and 30.

Young voters in the 2010 midterm elections were racially and ethnically diverse, voted for Democrats and approve of President Obama,
according to new analysis of exit poll data released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and Generational
Alliance (GA). 
An estimated 20.9 percent of all eligible young people ages 18-29 voted in the 2010 mid-terms. Younger voters chose Democratic House candidates over Republican House candidates by a margin of 57 percent to 40 percent.
“Since 2004, young voters have been one of the strongest Democratic constituencies,” said Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE. “Democrats need to engage them better than they did in 2010, and Republicans need to make inroads in a generation that continues to prefer Democrats.”
Campbell said a final analysis of voting in the mid-term election probably will show participation higher than some estimates.
“It is amazing to me how pundits jump to the same conclusion when Democrats lose that black folks and youth must have stayed home, only to find that when the official numbers come out weeks later, it usually turns out to be just the opposite - that we in fact voted much higher than exit polls reflected,” she said.

When you compare the 2010 vote to the last mid-term election in 2006, Campbell projects that the participation will be higher.

“In 2006, we had 41 percent voting, and that is not bad for a mid-term election,” Campbell said. “People went to the polls this year driven by concerns about the economy. They’re concerned about jobs. They are concerned about their mortgage. They are concerned about the redistricting that will happen soon and affect us for several years.”

In addition to some of the firsts for African-American Republicans and Democrats in  Congress, Campbell said there were several other victories in state and local races, due in part to strong black voter turnout.

- The first black immigrant woman, Jennifer Carroll, a native of Trinidad, was elected lieutenant governor of Florida.

- The only African-American governor, Deval Patrick, was reelected to a second term in Massachusetts.
- The first Hispanic woman was elected governor in New Mexico: Susana Martinez, a Republican.
- Democrat Cedric Richmond, in Louisiana, was elected to Congress, serving a mainly-minority district.
Voting will be even more crucial in 2012, so it’s important to start now preparing to get voters to the polls, Campbell said.
Unfortunately, groups that mobilize black voters for elections struggled this year to find money to get the job done, she said.
“We did what we could, but we didn’t have the resources to do all that we wanted to do,” she said.
“We cannot wait for someone else to fund our politics,” Campbell said. “The late Dr. Ronald Walters challenged Black leaders for years, saying ‘He who funds our politics controls our politics.’ Dr. Walters also gave us the road map over 10 years ago, a unity strategy to maximize the impact of the black vote. This would involve the black civic sector coming together to create a Unity Civic Engagement Fund to ensure we are empowered to mobilize and leverage our vote so that our issues are addressed by the people we elect to public office on a national, state and local level.”

I'm in my local democratic committee, and I got confirmation that black voter turnout, and democratic turnout generally, was extraordinarily high for a mid-term election here in Essex County, NJ (around 800,000 population, 40% black population).  And here, there were virtually NO viable republican challengers for any office at all, and people still came out.  For example, US Rep. Donald Payne won 85% of the vote.   Until I see numbers to the contrary, I refuse to believe that black people didn't turn out in areas where there were significant races going on.
Think Tank Says Blacks Made Impact in Key Races

Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 5:41 am
By: Denise Stewart,
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California blacks flooded the polls to support candidates like Jerry Brown, a popular Democrat, who was elected governor. (AP)

Black voter turnout nationwide increased only slightly in the recent mid-term election. But in a few key states, the percentage of blacks voting increased significantly, giving Democrats the edge, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The report by the Washington, D.C.–based think tank also said that in some states, the non-Hispanic white vote increased so much that the black vote did not carry influence.

Nationwide, about 90 million people went to the polls in the 2010 mid-term election, about 42 percent of the registered voters. In 2006, a comparable mid-term year, about 40 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

Blacks accounted for roughly 10 percent of the voters in 2010 and 2006, the analysis estimates. While that percentage is less than the 13 percent voting in the 2008 presidential election, that difference is to be expected, observers said.

“The 13 percent was not likely to be matched in the mid-term, because in 2008, you had so many new voters coming out to vote for Obama,” said Dr. Robert Smith, a political science professor at San Francisco State University.

“President Obama understands that a good deal of that vote was a personal vote for him and not necessarily a vote for the Democratic Party,” Smith told “I am sure they probably are already studying to find ways to reinvigorate that energy among the new and young voters.”

In places like California, where the percentage of black voters almost doubled, the black vote helped Democrats in that state maintain control of both houses of the legislature while reclaiming the governor’s seat, holding on to a key U.S. Senate position.

California may also be close to electing its first African-American attorney general. The most recent count has less than 1,000 votes separating Democrat Kamala Harris and Steve Cooley, the Republican.

James Taylor, a political scientist at the University of San Francisco, said blacks went to the polls to support Harris and to support Jerry Brown, a popular Democrat.

“As mayor, Brown lives in the black section of Oakland. You see him at clubs just hanging out to be among the people, and he doesn’t have an entourage,” Taylor told “Plus, you had Barack and Michelle Obama making several visits here. Bill Clinton and Joe Biden came to California.”

Heavy black voter turnout in places like California and Delaware helped offset a Republican onslaught, Taylor said.

According to the Joint Center’s report, in Delaware, Democrat Chris Coons benefitted from record turnout among black voters. The share of the black vote was 22 percent, and Coons defeated Republican Christine O’Donnell to capture the seat formerly held by Vice President Joe Biden.

Blacks make up 20.4 percent of the state’s population, and nine out of 10 blacks voted for a Democrat in Delaware.

In Illinois, the black vote increased significantly, but it did not swing the results in the race for the state Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama. Republican Mike Kirk won that seat in a state where the black share of the votes increased from 2006 mid-term election to 19 percent in the 2010 mid-term.

The Democratic Party continues to be the party of choice for the greatest share of black voters. According to the analysis, 90 percent of blacks voted for Democrats and 9 percent for Republicans.

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