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My memo to blacks: vote!

The storyline is pretty well established. Republicans will take over the House. And they'll do it because: 1. the party of a first-term president usually loses seats in Congress in the midterm elections; 2. the electorate is angry; and 3. the voters who helped put Barack Obama in the White House probably won't show up at the polls in sufficient numbers to blunt the oncoming tsunami. But it doesn't have to be that way (or perhaps the impending shellacking doesn't have to be as bad as predicted) if black folks come out and vote.

I'm focused on African Americans right now because they are the ones still firmly in President Obama's corner. Gallup puts his approval among blacks at 91 percent. They are also the ones everyone is counting on to stay home because, well, that's what they've done. Blacks are not alone in this. Generally speaking, Americans sit out midterm or off-year elections. But a Sunday New York Times story over the weekend made it clear that an uptick in the black vote this go-round could make the difference in several races.

Among the endangered Democrats counting on a substantial black turnout are Representatives Bobby Bright of Alabama, Allen Boyd of Florida, Sanford D. Bishop Jr. and Jim Marshall of Georgia, Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland, Travis W. Childers of Mississippi, Steve Driehaus and Betty Sutton of Ohio, John M. Spratt Jr. of South Carolina, Chet Edwards of Texas, and Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello of Virginia.

A large black turnout could influence races to fill open House seats in Arkansas, Delaware and Louisiana, as well as the New Orleans seat held by Representative Anh Cao, a Republican. It could also help Democratic prospects in statewide races in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri and Ohio.

But as David Bositis at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies pointed out, it's not just black turnout that is important. It's black turnout compared to that of whites. "It's really not black turnout that matters; it's the gap between black and white turnout,” he said. "If there's not much gap, the Democrats will hang on to the House."

President Obama and the Democratic National Committee clearly know this. That's why they are doing their best to get African Americans to the polls two weeks from today. And the president himself -- with an assist from the first lady -- is trying to stir up the excitement and pride they felt two years ago that helped sweep them into the White House. He needed their help in 2008. He needs them even more now in 2010. If blacks want Obama to succeed they need to hound everyone they know (Peaches, Peanut, Uncle Ray Ray) who live in toss-up districts or districts with open seats to vote.

Remember, the storyline of a GOP takeover of the House has taken hold because no one is expecting you to show up at the polls. But imagine the history you could make -- again -- if you defy the critics and do.

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 19, 2010; 6:49 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Could Mr Capehart please explain why African Americans do not politically align with the rest of Americans? Or, even with the rest of Democrats? What is it about African Americans that make them vote so far out of the norm?

Next, please justify the use of race to keep your party in power. The use of racism for political gain is unseemly.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | October 19, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

kitchendragon50: I would suppose "African Americans do not politically align with the rest of Americans" because for generations blacks were not (and most still are not) treated like the "rest of Americans," whatever that means. I'm sure that once the experience of the average African American is of the "norm," normalcy will prevail.

Posted by: adenotriphosphate | October 19, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Stunningly racist article!

What if the title was:

"My memo to whites: vote!"

It would be considered a KKK diatribe! Luckily we are all aware of the discredited media's bias.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | October 19, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Blacks have been helping Democrats get elected for a long time now. Perhaps they should look around and form an opinion about where that seems to have gotten them. If they do, many might decide to support a more conservative approach to the economic and social problems that disproportionately affect their schools, neighborhoods, and lives.

Posted by: Roytex | October 19, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Here's my message to blacks: unless you vote GOP--stay home, or rather, stay, homie! White cracker honky here planning to vote staight GOP, early and often on Nov. 2. And proud to vote for other white cracker honkies because they are white cracker honkies. Where do I sign up for the National Association for the Advancement of White People? And when do I get to celebrate White Heritage Month?

Posted by: kbarker302 | October 19, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Kitchendragon50 - you'd like Jonathan Capehart to explain the cause and effect of African American voting patterns? In an op-ed blog? Really? Why not do us all a favor and invest in a little self-education. I recommend African Americans and the American Political System. I'm sure your library has a copy. And by the way, did you even read his article? He's not pulling these figures out of the air, he's talking about verified figures here. The President's approval rating is 91% among African American voters, so the more of them he gets out to vote, the better it will be for him and for the Democrats he's campaigning for. How in the name of all that's holy do you see that as racism? That's just twisted.

Posted by: seabelly1 | October 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

racist?? ha! I think it's Mr. Capehart using his First Amendment rights, eh teabaggers?

Posted by: jjanit | October 19, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"Remember, the storyline of a GOP takeover of the House has taken hold because no one is expecting you to show up at the polls. But imagine the history you could make -- again -- if you defy the critics and do. "

Especially if you show up and vote Republican!!!

Just don't let them know you did. We already know what happens to Blacks who are uppity enough to vote Republican.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTXBOgPCh9w

See they send SEIU union thugs to knock you down and call you a "N".

And Mr. Capehart does what while three white guys attack a black man, knock him down and use a racial slur?

Whistles in his office "Told ya to vote how massa says!"

BTW --- those three union thugs? Were charged with disturbing the peace. Not assault. Not hate crimes ( God forbid that three white men stomping on a black man using racial epithets could be considered a hate crime ), Hell they were not even charged with assault and battery!
Just disturbing the peace.

Posted by: chromenhawk | October 19, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@Roytex; Do you think we were awaiting your advice, if we did, look where it took us. I could not bare to see myself accepting the blame for the eight year mess the conservatives gave us. Thanks but no thanks.

Posted by: KaribNation | October 19, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

@Roytex; Do you think we were awaiting your advice, if we did, look where it took us. I could not bare to see myself accepting the blame for the eight year mess the conservatives gave us. Thanks but no thanks.

Posted by: KaribNation | October 19, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

"I'm focused on African Americans right now because they are the ones still firmly in President Obama's corner."

Mr. Capehart, thank you for the opportunity to post thoughts on this subject the host is always due respect just for maintaining a forum for these issues to be aired. That being said, didn't you mean to think "the ones still firmly" on President Obama's plantation corner? When the "Great Society" was foisted on America to placate the Anti-Vietnam wing of the Democrat Party, Lyndon B. Johnson said it would keep 'you people' (his words not OURS), he became the Prophet of Harlem paving the way for all who followed. Now President Obama is promising the same future for y'all. Will you settle for that? Poverty at the bottom of the brink rising into the third year of this remake of a tired old theology. Wouldn't you think there would have been some progress on this front after 50 Years + 3? Just asking Jonathan, all people should share in the Dream, not just those who vote a certain way. If those who have voted this way and shared in nothing, voted their heart and soul, we wouldn't be in this fix. The way out of a ditch, a hole, a mess is not backward into the brink.

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo resident racist is at it again.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | October 20, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

LOL @ Jonathan.

No matter how much you sell out the gay community, the black community will never accept you as any kind of leader. Deal with it.

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 20, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

RE:. Where do I sign up for the National Association for the Advancement of White People? And when do I get to celebrate White Heritage Month?
****
That's easy, the NAZI's are always looking for a few good white men, and as for white heritage month, we celebrate that in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December and January.
Happy White Guy Month!!!!!

Posted by: bproulx451 | October 20, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

First of all just because Blacks like Obama doesn't mean they approve of every Democrat.Democrats are losing not just middle class whites they have lost middle class Blacks for years which is a growing demographic.I will use Metro Detroit,Detroit City proper people are voting in Independents,Wayne and Macomb County sway back and forth between parties no matter what the racial make up of the Suburb is.Torn between Conservative values and labor Issues,which neither party delivers on their platforms.Democrats have nothing without Labor and they have done nothing for labor for years,so why should middle class Americans of any race vote Democratic.And their was no health care reform just because I am legally forced to pay for insurance I couldn't afford before is not reform,and I still can't afford it.I especially love the excuse of Globalization for lack of employment,What was Trade before?Nations have always traded,this isn't anything new.Maybe democrats should up hold a commitment to American middle class instead of Bankers,Corporations,illegals,foreign handouts,and extreme liberal lame policies while the hypocritically attack GOP for the same policies.Beside Gay issues and other culture war nonsense I really don't see much difference between the parties.

Posted by: faeyth | October 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

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