Don’t Blame Us!

Don’t Blame Us!

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Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge released the following opinion on the 2014 midterm election results.

As pundits continue to play the blame game in the days following last Tuesday’s elections, there is one argument I want to settle: Democrats did not lose control of the Senate because African Americans did not vote. Actually, as supported by preliminary exit poll data, the complete opposite is the case. African Americans increased as a proportion of the electorate in 2014 over 2010. African Americans voted heavily for Senate Democrats, and by doing so remained loyal to both the President and the Democratic Party and its values. So, don’t blame us!

We did vote, as was true for the last three election cycles. For example, in Kentucky, African American turnout was notably better with a more than 10 percent jump in voter participation.  And in Georgia, African Americans made up 29 percent of all votes cast, with 92 percent of those voters casting their ballots for the Democrat in the Senate race. Simply put, find another scapegoat. Don’t blame us!

Our community organizations and churches mobilized to encourage early voting opportunities with programs like “Souls to the Polls,” and African American activists and state leaders stood ready to combat any instance of voter intimidation or fraud. Black elected officials crisscrossed the country to discuss the urgency and importance of this election. We phone banked, knocked on doors and held “Get Out the Vote” rallies. Our losses were not a referendum on African American political engagement. We did our part, so don’t blame us!

Democrats lost Senate control because we failed to mobilize young voters across racial and regional spectrums. We failed to persuade Southern voters to hold true to core Democratic values. We lost because the Hispanic community was insufficiently motivated. We lost because of ideological differences within the Democratic Party and with our Administration. We lost because our party has, to some extent, lost white Southerners due in part to the race of our President. We lost because the Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United and McCutcheon allowed a select few to subvert the political process with secret, unlimited money.  We lost because of gerrymandering in our state redistricting processes. We lost because of our continuing problem with a clear and compelling message that would encourage voters to stay with us.

Let the talking heads do what they do best: talk. But let’s be very clear in our analyses of the 2014 midterm elections. African Americans showed up. So don’t blame us!

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