Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?

Obviously, there was record voter registration and record turn out among minority voters, inspired by the person of Barack Obama.

Black, brown, red, yellow, tan - - they came out for Barack.

But will they return? And, if so, what will they otherwise do?

We all heard the emotional stories of the 90+ year old, grandchildren of slaves, first time voters, all across this country. They were inspired (and inspiring) by the prospect of a black president.

Yet, part of me had to wonder why they hadn't been inspired by elections of the past. The civil rights legislation of the '60's? Martin, John and Bobby? the economic struggles of the '70's? the social battles of the 80's? the economic progress of the '90's? Bush v. Gore? Katrina?

Even in 2008, many of these voters didn't vote down ticket. Look at the results in the three south Florida (still) Republican held house seats. There was huge down ticket drop off in black and non Cuban latino districts.

And, on social issues, socially conservative minority voters in fact voted on issue questions in accord with their socially conservative beliefs, while black and latino liberals voted liberally on social issues. There should be no surprise. (Why did anyone ever expect black and brown fundamentalists to be more progressive than white fundamentalists? They read the same book, and turn to the same preachers for interpretation and guidance. If you hold voter registration drives in evangelical churches, you register evangelical voters, who come in all colors and from all nations.)

There are open questions as to whether this historic minority turnout will continue, and how minority voters will vote when Obama's not on the ballot.

We will start getting answers in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff. And, 2010 will be interesting.


Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, minority voters (all tags)



Jim Crow and understandable apathy

In the 60's, many places were still dealing with Jim Crow laws and intimidation preventing minority involvement.

After that, we had a string of politicians who were either uninspiring or specifically out to depress the minority vote.  When one candidate is Dukakis and the other guy is running Willie Horton ads unchecked, you can imagine that a black person might not feel all that inspired to get involved in the process.

Obama is getting people involved now, and that's all that really matters on that front.  The barriers are coming down as we speak, and minorities are going to realize that not even the top jobs in the land are forbidden to them or their children.

I think your concern is misplaced.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Crow and understandable apathy

Dude I dont' get it!  Like HOW could someone vote for Obama and not vote for a Kerry?  It's messed up!

by Jess81 2008-11-07 10:47AM | 0 recs
Kerry was a boring and elitist candidate

He didn't get it. When the Dems picked him I knew it was over.

by architek 2008-11-08 12:17AM | 0 recs
What the hell is this?

Are we having a trollfest I wasn't aware of?

I thought your whiny ass GBCW this place.

Oh well. More commenters to laugh at.

by spacemanspiff 2008-11-07 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?

You made a wrong assumption about economic success of the 1990's.

Most people did not benefit from this post-industrial lunacy from the past 35+ years. Those who did lost it when these bubbles popped.

1980's = Stock Market Bubble = Pop

1990's = Internet bubble = Pop

2000's = Real Estate bubble = Pop and still popping.

When the Democratic party starts to be the party of the real FDR instead of the go-along-to get along with such nonsense as the bailouts, then you can expect more participation by all. Until then, many of us were just willing to give Obama a chance.

I do not expect anything from him.

by dantch 2008-11-07 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?

You sound like a scolding parent.

by Jess81 2008-11-07 10:46AM | 0 recs
excellent question

I am hearing how Obama's election, to some amounts to a "new world order" of sorts. I wonder is this kind of electorate truly sustainable, or was it a flash in the pan election in which George W. Bush was the sole reason Obama won. I don't know if our population is truly becoming less white, or white voters just didn't turn out because neither candidate was for them. Also, the bigger question is will the young stay involved? They deliver for Obama big this year, but because not only was he youthful, but he is NOT the status quo. But when he is an incumbent President, the term "status quo" will be written on his chest, which may keep young turnout down in 2012. Obama won the presidency by approximately 800k votes in the electoral college, with small wins in VA, FL, OH, IN, NC, and while solid wins in CO and NV, not his strongest states, and tho they went 54%, 55% Obama, they could turn like Oregon and Washington, amongst Reagan's weakest in 1984 which went to Dukakis in 1988. The electorate is not always static in consecutive election cycles.  

by Lakrosse 2008-11-07 11:20AM | 0 recs
No, it's not an 'excellent question'

It's completely irrelevant.  You guys want to cast some doubt on the now by talking about the future.  Y'all don't know what's going to happen in the future, and the only thing we should be doing now is talking about how we can fix the problems of now and make sure they don't happen again in the future.  Randomly trying to determine the political climate and leanings of people in eight to sixteen years is useless: how many people knew at the start of Bill Clinton or George W. Bush's presidencies that we'd be here, where we are today, in 2008?

Further, please tell me: Have "Reagan Democrats" have an effect on politics?  Do they still?  

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 11:54AM | 0 recs
I was referring to 2012,

not "eight to sixteen years" into the future. 2012 as well. Young voters actually turned out at the same rate as 2004. Reagan Dems did largely go with Obama this time because of the economy, and the Clintons and Dem machines in OH, PA, and NC did their jobs by sewing them up into Obama's corner. George W. Bush was the x-factor in this election. Obama was not a Republican like George W. Bush. This is worth talking about because if we want to keep the win streak up, we do need to see that whites will still continue to be the overwhelming majority of the electorate, and the baby boomers are not going away. The older people get, the more they vote. The GOP lost because they failed to look into the future in 2004: they felt vindicated for losing to Clinton twice by winning with Bush twice. I think Obama's chance for a repeat is good, but not yet sewn up.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-07 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: I was referring to 2012,

I was under the impression that there were millions more young voters than there were in previous years.

If it weren't for Bush, we wouldn't need Obama so much right now.  Suggesting that he's an "X factor" is to forget that we'd probably be talking about President-elect Hillary Clinton or Joe Lieberman right now if there were no Bush.  Alternate history is a fun game to play for fiction, but it's nigh useless for politics.

The point about Reagan Democrats is that an influential leader can and will make activists and enthusiasts for life.  Reagan proved it, and I think Obama will turn out to be at least as good as Reagan in that playbook.  If not better.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 12:14PM | 0 recs
But that's my point exactly.
I have questions.
No answers.
But, "We will start getting answers in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff."
Aren't you curious / excited / hopeful to see if Obama can enthuse his base when he's not on the ballot in an "off" election?  To me, that will be a test of whether he is a winning candidate or truly the leader of a movement.  And, again, I make no predictions, since I was so so so so so  wrong on so so so much this year!  
by kosnomore 2008-11-07 12:04PM | 0 recs
I already am pretty sure he can/will do it.

If you have to ask these questions,  you haven't been paying much attention to the guy.  He pretty much has to be the involved, front lines leader, or his political capital slips away.

Obama is too smart and ambitious to let that happen.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 12:17PM | 0 recs
But the government has less to do with

economic success or failure longterm than many realize.

Ultimately, businesses suceed or fail based on the viability of their business plans, profitability of their profits.

The most profitable businesses have found that people are not as important as delivering their product. If machines can do it, great.

The long term trend is to replace people with technology. Unless we are willing to devote 1/3 of our GNP to education, I am afraid that in 20 years we will either have a welfare state or a stratified nightmare of mass poverty.

by architek 2008-11-08 12:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?
A perspective of the election not discussed anywhere I've seen except MyDd.  Thank you for bringing the opportunity for us to engage in discourse about a subject that is certainly timely.  
The answers?  Discuss it.  
Good to see you back, K.
by ChitownDenny 2008-11-07 01:50PM | 0 recs
Bitter deadenders are they here to stay?

One could ask why have all the bitter deadenders returned? When your candidate lost you took your marbles and left, so why return now?

by venician 2008-11-07 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?

Demographic maxout voting always leads to some fraying afterwards.  Some new voters go back to not voting.  Others go over to voting for the opposition, realizing they belong there.  But it takes months and years, not days, for that to happen.

I think liberal discontent with Chicago moderate Democratic policies and management methods will be more important in what takes place in the next elections, though.

by killjoy 2008-11-07 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?

I think that Barack be the first time that many minority voters felt represented.  Our job is to find a way to make the democratic party into one were minorities continue to feel represented regardless of the ethnicity, gender, religion, whatever, of the candidate.  We have historically been better than the GOP in this regard, but not good enough.  I think that the answer to the question that your title posits is answered by how well we succeed in what I am talking about in this comment.

by lockewasright 2008-11-07 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?

That first sentence should read:

I think that Barack may be the first time that many minority voters felt represented

by lockewasright 2008-11-07 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Minority turnout - Personal or permanent?

I think it can be either...it all depends on how much we make those those who didn't previously vote feel that their vote helped.  A productive administration means more than any other thing, I think.  I hope that this admin leads to a renewed faith in government and a spike in civicness for generations.

by freedom78 2008-11-07 05:43PM | 0 recs


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