Facing a daunting enthusiasm gap, the Democratic National Committee is hoping that heavy turn-out among black voters will help prevent the Republicans from recapturing Congress. Though President Obama's popularity has waned among the broader public, African-Americans still give him a 90 approval rating, and the DNC has shelled out $3 million this year — 10 times more than in 2006 — on black voter outreach. But is it realistic to expect African-Americans to come to the rescue in a year the president isn't on the ballot? (Watch Obama campaign for black voters)
Black voters will save the day for Dems: The signs are good for the president's dip into unabashed "racial-solidarity politics" proving "extremely effective," says Charles Blow in The New York Times. A recent study found that eight out of 10 black voters are at least as interested in the midterms as they were in the 2008 election. Obama and his "personal appeals" to the black community could yet "upset the predictions of most pundits."
Sorry Obama, this isn't 2008: Times have changed, says Jay Small-Newton in Time, and Obama can no longer count on his black supporters. African-American voters did not "answer Obama's calls" in key races last year, nor did they in the 2010 primaries. And the black population of the U.S. has been battered by the economic turndown, which will further sap enthusiasm. The "potential is there" for a large turnout, "but it's not looking likely."
"Can the black vote pull it out for Obama this time?"
Black voters can't match the Tea Party: Black voters still like Obama, says Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune, but it won't make a difference this year. The votes of the "Tea Party right" will matter more than those of their "ideological and demographic opposite," the "African-American left." But maybe that isn't a bad thing. If the GOP shares the "burden of governing — and the blame," — it may improve Obama's chances in 2012.
"Can the black vote save the Democrats?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- This week I learned your coin toss odds are better than you think, and more
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
Subscribe to the Week