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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — With their Senate majority imperiled, Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress for President Obama’s final two years in office.

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.”

The push is an attempt to counter Republicans’ many advantages in this year’s races, including polls that show Republican voters are much more engaged in the elections at this point — an important predictor of turnout.
 
And the terrain is tricky: Many of the states where the black vote could be most crucial are also those where Mr. Obama is deeply unpopular among many white voters. So Democratic senators in places like Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina must distance themselves from the nation’s first African-American president while trying to motivate the black voters who are his most loyal constituents.
 
The black vote could prove particularly decisive in four Southern states: Georgia and Louisiana, where African-Americans make up more than 30 percent of eligible voters; North Carolina, where they are 22 percent; and Arkansas, 15 percent.
 
While minority turnout traditionally declines in nonpresidential election years, there have been midterm elections in which Southern blacks played a pivotal role. An example occurred in 1998, when President Bill Clinton was, like Mr. Obama, under fire from Republicans and nearing the end of his White House years.
 
Republicans are skeptical of the effort, saying that ultimately, voters’ frustration with Mr. Obama will determine the outcome of the races.
 
“He’s not as weak as Bush in ’06 or Obama in ’10, but there is a fatigue, a sense that he’s ready to move on and we’re ready to move on, too,” said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster.
 
Given Mr. Obama’s unpopularity, national Democratic leaders have essentially encouraged their party’s candidates to make clear their differences with the president, especially in the most conservative states. And the candidates have done so, sometimes rather colorfully.

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