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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

More Black Candidates Needed for Dems to Keep Winning

Peter Dreier points out that “The Nine New Democratic Black Congress Members Come From Heavily White Districts” at The American Prospect. As Dreier explains:

The blue wave had some black riders. Every African American Democrat in the House running for re-election in this year’s midterms won his or her race.  In addition, voters sent nine new black members, all Democrats, to Congress. As a result, the number of black House members will grow to an all-time peak of 55, even if, as appears possible, both black Republicans(Utah’s Mia Love and Texas’ Will Hurt) lose their seats.

What’s unusual about the nine new members is that all of them prevailed in predominantly white and mostly suburban districts. Five of the nine are women.

That raises an interesting question for Democrats. Is the route to future electoral success for Democrats running more African American candidates, who are good at building multi-racial coalitions? The trendline suggests that is a good possibility, as Dreier elaborates,

Despite the white racism that President Trump has both fostered and uncovered, it is also clear that a growing number of white Americans will support black candidates. In 1958, when the Gallup poll asked Americans if they would vote for a black person for president, only 38 percent said yes. That number grew to 77 percent in 1978 and 96 percent in 1997. Of course, telling that to a pollster is not the same thing as pulling a voting lever for a black candidate. But evidence indicates that more and more white voters are walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

Dreier spotlights a few races, including Democrats Lucy Mcbath’s upset in GA-6, Lauren Underwood’s win in IL-14 and Antonio Delgado’s victory in NY-19. Dreier also notes the winning Democratic campaign’s of Colin Allred in TX-32, llhan Omar in MN-5, Jahana Hayes in CT-5, Ayanna Presley in MA-7, Joseph Neguse in CO-2 and Steve Horsford in NV-4.

Dreier notes that “These nine victories reflect the political dynamics that helped the Democrats gain a significant majority in the House this year. Three (McBath, Underwood, and Allred) flipped traditionally GOP districts, two (Delgado and Horsford) won in swing districts, and four (Omar, Hayes, Pressley, and Neguse) prevailed in safe Democratic districts.”

Also, look at how well Stacy Abrams and Andrew Gillum did in Georgia and Florida, respectively. It may be that, if no votes were wrongly suppressed, both of them would be the governors-elect of their states, perhaps by comfortable margins. Both candidates demonstrated exceptional prowess in coalition-building.

Perhaps the pivotal fact behind these nine Democratic victories is that African Americans tend to vote Democratic roughly nine times out of ten in recent congressional elections. Nominating Black candidates will naturally increase African American voter interest in specific races. And, if those Black candidates are skilled at reaching out to voters of other races and building multiracial coalitions, so much the better for Democrats.

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