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Black pollster: Democrats got their ‘butt’ whipped

FREDDIE ALLEN | 11/17/2014, 12:57 a.m.
Even with overwhelming support from Black voters, Democrats still lost control of the United States Senate in the midterm elections ...

Many Democratic candidates chose to run from Obama’s record on economic recovery, positive labor market growth and the Affordable Care Act that has provided millions of Americans with health insurance who were previously not covered. Obama also kept his promise to bring American troops home and end decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Should Democrats have let President Obama out on the campaign trail more? Absolutely, they should have,” Belcher said. “He had something to run on.”

Dianne Pinderhughes, a political science professor at the University Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, said that there’s still some portion of the population that still has a great deal of difficulty dealing with the fact that there is an African American president.

“It adds stigma to any action that he takes,” Pinderhughes said. “People can’t accept the fact that anything that he’s done has anything good associated with it.”

They can’t process information, added Pinderhughes, because race blinds them.

“The blame for what happened during the midterms cannot be laid at the feet of minority voters,” Belcher said.

Andra Gillespie agreed.

Gillespie, the interim chair of the Department of African American Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, and co-author of a report on Black voter turnout for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a nonpartisan think tank focused on racial equity, said that there were a few places where the Black voter turnout as a share of the overall electorate either declined or stayed the same.

“But in many places,” Gillespie said, “the Black share of the electorate increased and the White share of the electorate decreased. Democrats still lost and they didn’t lose because Blacks didn’t turn out and vote for them.”

Gillespie added: “It’s just that, numerically speaking, it takes more than Black votes for Democrats to be able to win.”

Lorenzo Morris, a political science professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C., said that the midterm elections ushered in a dramatic change in the distribution of power on Capitol Hill.

“But it’s not a dramatic change of what they will do on Capitol Hill, which is probably very little,” Morris said.

Gillespie said that Obama would have to compromise now, because bills that once passed the House of Representatives and stalled in the Senate will get through Congress.

Pinderhughes said that the president is going to have to do a lot of strategic planning in order to figure out how to get things through Congress. That includes his nomination of United States Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York to replace Attorney General Eric Holder. If confirmed, she would become the first Black woman to lead the Justice Department.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is the presumptive majority leader of the Senate in the next term, said that Lynch’s nomination hearings should begin in 2015 with the new Congress.

As the Democrats gear up for the 2016 elections, Mary Frances Berry, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission under President Bill Clinton, said that the voter suppression efforts are not enough to persuade Blacks and other minorities to turn out and vote for Democratic candidates anymore.