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Minority Turnout Could Give Democrats A Boost

 

 

BY ALEXANDER WILSON, Northwestern University


WASHINGTON - With the election a few days away the outcome seems inevitable. The House is going to the Republicans, the Senate may follow suit and soon a red tide of Republicanism will sweep through Washington, with a distinct hint of tea. 

Right? 

Not so fast. 

A recent study from the Joint Center of Political and Economic Studies shows that the turnout this election year for African-Americans may be higher than expected. That’s a positive sign for democrats, as African-Americans vote overwhelmingly for left-leaning candidates. In the 2008 elections, 95 percent of votes cast by African-Americans were for Democrats.

Meanwhile, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in Chicago is working to identify Hispanic voters, register them and get them out to vote. While the organization is non-partisan and does not endorse specific candidates, it does address issues important to the community such as the DREAM Act and immigration reform. The Democratic Party in Chicago is also trying to get Hispanics to the polls.

Hispanics have traditionally voted 2 to 1 for Democrats over Republicans. 

The author of the Joint Center study, David A. Bositis, said some African-Americans are feeling that the attacks by conservatives against democrats and President Obama are racist. That feeling could translate into higher minority turnout next week, said Bositis, the senior research associate in national black electoral politics at the Joint Center. 

The study made a comparison between the elections in 1998 and the elections in 2010.  

“African Americans held [Congressional Republicans’] feet to the fire,” Bositis said. “[African Americans said] you abandoned Bill Clinton, and we abandoned you.”

Still, conservatives are excited for this election. The Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, David Yepsen, said that the Tea Party tends to attract white older voters. In a recent Gallup poll, 90 percent of people who identified themselves as Republicans said they are as interested or more interested in this year’s elections as they were in 2008.

Bositis said that there is a lot of anger at Obama fueling the older, whiter conservative movement right now. 

“[Conservatives] want to punish Obama and anyone who supports him,” Bositis said. 

The study stated that many of the districts with key seats up for grabs this election season have a large African-American population. In a state like Illinois, the minority populations of Chicago make a major difference in who wins and who loses the state. African-Americans compose nearly 40 percent of the population and Hispanics 26 percent. 

Bositis said that the more people who turn out in general the better it is for Republicans. Yepsen agreed, saying that Democrats traditionally have trouble moving their base of minorities and youth to the polls. 

With that in mind, Bositis predicted that in the 2012 election cycle Democrats will fair better, regardless of this year’s outcome. 

“The electorate in midterm elections tend to be older and white,” Bositis said. “[This year’s election] is not going to be representative of the next presidential election, when there will be more minorities and younger voters."  

 


STORY TAGS: BLACK , AFRICAN AMERICAN , MINORITY , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , NAACP , URBAN LEAGUE , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY



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