WASHINGTON - With their Senate majority imperiled, Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress for President Barack Obama's final two years in office.
WASHINGTON — With their Senate majority imperiled, Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress for President Barack Obama’s final two years in office.
In black churches and on black talk radio, African-American civic leaders have begun invoking the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson as they urge voters to channel their anger by voting Democratic in the midterm elections, in which minority turnout is often lower.
“Ferguson has made it crystal clear to the African-American community and others that we’ve got to go to the polls,” said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a civil-rights leader. “You participate and vote, and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.”
The push is an attempt to counter Republicans’ advantages in this year’s races, including polls that show Republican voters are more engaged in the elections at this point — an important predictor of turnout.
Lewis is headlining efforts to mobilize black voters in several states with competitive Senate races, including Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina. The drive is being organized by the Congressional Black Caucus, in coordination with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
While Democrats always seek to increase African-American turnout, that they are taking such aggressive steps to rally their most loyal constituency reflects the increasingly difficult landscape they face. Republicans seem assured to win at least three of the six seats they need to take back the Senate.
Polls show that blacks are three times as likely to say the shooting of Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white Ferguson police officer was not justified.
With this in mind, leading black officials are seizing the aftermath of the shooting and protests to increase African-American political participation.