People who believe their vote does not make a difference may be encouraged to know that in many close contests across the U.S., they have the power to sway the direction of the race.
There is a general consensus emerging that many voters of color are lacking enthusiasm this election season, with minority voters not expected to go to the polls with nearly the same level of participation as they did in 2008 — when President Obama was on the ballot. Nevertheless, African-Americans are well positioned to affect the outcome of as many as 20 House races, and 14 contests for Senate and Governor, according to David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
In a recently released study, Bositis pointed out that while blacks historically have had a lower voter participation rate than whites, that doesn’t mean they do not come out for midterm elections. Further, African-American voters are not dispersed across the nation, but rather are concentrated in fewer than half of the states and a quarter of the congressional districts. Obama has very high approval among blacks, who may view the president as unfairly attacked by Republicans. And the Democratic National Committee knows this, spending $3 million this season on black media, more than in previous midterms. This, as the White House just hosted a summit for black journalists and bloggers. The president has come under fire in recent months amid criticism that he has failed to keep his base, including young people and people of color, energized and engaged.