Democratic Candidates Must Work Harder to Lock in Black Voters

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It’s hard not to see this coming. Democrats will be popping Tylenols in bed the morning of Nov. 5—only hours after election night returns stream in. And once political junkies sort out the scorched earth, some will not only point to the usually reliable, Democratic-leaning black voters being absent at the polls, but more than a few African Americans actually supporting Republican candidates.

That’s obviously problematic for Democrats. Election watchers will expect relative success from the GOP’s agenda-less tap into the visceral anti-Obama rage of its base. But the real story is that the once solid Democratic coalition of youth, women and people of color has turned for the worst. It is a barely recognizable shell of its former 2008 and 2012 self. No set of GOP-inspired voter-suppression laws will motivate it. No pleas from the president can fire it up. And in the postmortem audit, African-American voters could be shouldering a disproportionate share of the blame if Republicans are running things well into President Barack Obama’s last two years.

or the record: Of course the vast majority of black voters who do bother turning out will break left.

The untold story, however, is in rather peculiar black trends and shifts showing up in Senate and gubernatorial polls since August. No battleground state Democratic candidate enjoys the solid 85 or 90-plus percent of African-American support typically needed to win tight races against determined white Republican-leaning votes. Meanwhile, Republican nominees are actually snagging more than 5 percent of the black vote, with a couple in double-digit territory.

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