Tags: Barack Obama | Democrats | black voters | Barack Obama | midterm elections

Democrats Seek Delicate Balance With Black Voters

By    |   Monday, 06 October 2014 03:14 PM

Democratic strategists this year find themselves between a rock and a hard place as they attempt to balance the need to distance themselves from President Barack Obama while not alienating black voters, a key constituency.

With only six seats needed to regain control of the Senate, Republicans have targeted several races in the South, including incumbents Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

"We’re going to mobilize that core Obama coalition, but without Obama," Tharon Johnson, regional director for Obama’s 2012 campaign, tells The Wall Street Journal.

The need to energize black voters in states where Obama is unpopular is one reason why former President Bill Clinton has been seen more often on the campaign trail than the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Clinton is now on a four-city, two-day swing of fundraisers and rallies in Arkansas, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is in a tight race, reports WDSU.com.

"These states have been transformed in party terms. They are deeply red and that includes Arkansas. Bill Clinton can have an effect in a Democratic primary, but much less in a general election. He is doing his duty and building up chits, presumably for Hillary," Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told WDSU.

Republican challenger Tom Cotton is leading in three of the four most recent polls, according to the RealClearPolitics.

Obama has a 31 percent approval rating in Arkansas, according to a recent NBC/Marist poll.

"Party strategists say that voters will not necessarily back a Democratic candidate simply because either Clinton endorsed him or her. Rather, they hope campaigning with the ex-president will help Democrat candidates distance themselves from Obama and link themselves to the economic gains of the 1990s," wrote Perry Bacon of TheGrio.com in February.

Cognizant of the role of the church in the African-American community, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) launched a campaign Sept. 21 modeled after the violent Freedom Summer registration drive that occurred in Mississippi 50 years ago.

The so-called Freedom Sundays is an effort that will partner the CBC with more than 3,000 black churches across the country in hope of reaching 12 million people before election day, according to BET.

"While we know that voter turnout significantly decreases during midterm elections, we also know that there is an opportunity to ensure that African-American voters and particularly those where we have highly contested Senate races know what is at stake in this election," said  CBC Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge.

In addition to targeting 16 House races, the campaign will focus on a number of states, including Georgia, Arkansas, Colorado, and Virginia.

CBC members also are campaigning in North Carolina and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has launched a $1 million radio ad buy in the state, reports The Huffington Post.

In churches and on the campaign trail, CBC members will address issues of particular concern to those black voters, including Republican opposition to reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Journal reports.

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Democratic strategists this year find themselves between a rock and a hard place as they attempt to balance the need to distance themselves from President Barack Obama while not alienating black voters, a key constituency.
Democrats, black voters, Barack Obama, midterm elections
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2014-14-06
Monday, 06 October 2014 03:14 PM
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