Even though Democrats did not suffer a widely anticipated wipeout in the Nov. 8 midterms – partly because of displeasure with the Supreme Court’s ruling against the right to abortions – they could have done even better if more African Americans had voted. “The evidence so far raises the distinct possibility that the Black share of the electorate sank to its lowest level since 2006,” The New York Times reported.
Turnout was low especially in Georgia, where African Americans comprise one in three eligible voters, The Times noted. That contributed to the need for a runoff between Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschell Walker. Warnock was just shy of winning and it will be no surprise to learn that his victory on Tuesday was due partly to a bigger African Americans turnout.
So too with Democrat Mandela Barnes’ failure to oust Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson. Mandela lost by 26,718, almost the same number – 27,612 – by which African American turnout fell, compared to 2018, in Milwaukee, where he was born and from where he was elected to the State Assembly and later as the ﬁrst African American lieutenant governor.
Overall, The Times said, the average African American turnout for Georgia, as well as Louisiana and North Carolina – states for which completed data were available at the time of publication — was 25 percent lower than among European Americans, dropping from two percent fewer in 2008 to 26 percent this year. That reflected a broader nationwide pattern, The Times said.
Still, The Times added, the decline was “not exactly disastrous electorally” and, “with the possible exception of the Wisconsin Senate race, it’s hard to identify a high-proﬁle election where Democrats might have prevailed if the Black share of the electorate had stayed at 2014 or 2018 levels.” But it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it did. The number of eligible African American voters nationally rose slightly to 32.7 million by November or 13.6 percent of all eligible voters and 70 percent said they would vote for or were leaning towards the Democratic Party, the Pew Research Center reported in October. One in two lives in eight states:Texas (2.7 million), Florida and Georgia (2.5 million each), New York (2.3 million), California (2 .2 million), North Carolina (1.8 million) and Illinois and Maryland (1.4 million each).
Despite The Times’ suggestion that a higher turnout probably would not have had a greater impact on the mid-terms, Florida is a case study of what can happen when Democrats are not motivated to vote. There was no indication so far as to what the African American turnout was in the state where 2.8 million are eligible to vote. Whatever the number, it was highly unlikely to reflect the concern which exists over several bills that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law adversely affecting African American interests. He would not have been able to win re-election with a 19-point advantage over Democrat Charlie Crist nor would