cross-posted from my blog

If Obama wins a landslide victory, he’ll likely have the black community to thank for it.


In case you missed it, last week’s L.A. Times also discussed the potential impact of an election where black voter turnout could increase by nearly 20%. With his sights set on five key swing states, Senator Obama could have an easy path to the White House if black enthusiasm stays as high as it’s been over the past year.

“David A. Bositis, an expert on black voting trends at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, predicts that turnout could rise by as much as 20%, and some Democratic strategists feel they can spur black turnout in the battleground states to as high as 75% of registered voters.”

The five states most susceptible to this impact are Florida, Missouri, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.

“In Florida alone, more than half a million black registered voters stayed home in 2004. Hundreds of thousands more African Americans are eligible to vote but not registered. And campaign analysts have identified similar potential in North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri and Ohio.”

And that’s not all. New laws that reinstate voting rights for ex-felons could put Obama over the top. Look no further than Florida where Governor Charlie Crist recently passed state legislation giving ex-felons the franchise:

“In a political twist, Democrats can thank a Republican for empowering one new group of voters: Florida felons. Gov. Charlie Crist last week announced that, thanks to a new rule he enacted, about 115,000 felons who had completed their sentences had become eligible under his administration to have their civil rights restored. . . . Experts say felons are disproportionately black and, if they can be found, more likely to be Obama backers. This provides a huge potential; about 1.1 million felons[emphasis added] in Florida were ineligible to vote in 2004, according to a 2006 book by sociologists Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen.”

But it’s not going to be easy. We live in a zero sum society. And, as the Times notes, Obama’s biggest obstacle might be finding a way to energize the black vote without alienating whites at the same time. The article also discusses how some supporters think Obama’s centrist views on reparations and affirmative action might be enough to ease white resentment.

Not surprisingly, the media still fails to see the flip side of that very same coin . . . the risk of easing white resentment at the expense of black enthusiasm.

Will the black vote be there for Obama in November? The question isn’t a matter of if but how much. But here’s the elephant in the room . . .

Can Obama really expect to energize the black vote without taking a risk with white America?

The answer to that question could mean the difference between a nail-biter or a landslide victory come November.

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