Call it a lesson in the power of righteous indignation.
According to the Pew Research Center, black voter turnout may have topped the turnout rate for whites during the 2012 presidential election.
For the first time ever.
In 2008, the rate of black people turning out almost equaled that of whites – no doubt because many didn’t want to miss the chance to cast their vote for the nation’s first black president.
But this time, it appears that black people couldn’t wait to vote to re-elect President Obama – mostly because so many white people were trying to stop them from doing so.
In many states, Republican-dominated legislatures passed laws to cut early voting days and voting hours, and also imposed cumbersome rules on third-party groups, such as the League of Women Voters, in registering voters. Some also passed laws requiring voters to obtain identification that would require old, hard-to-obtain documentation – a move that would have disenfranchised some elderly voters and transient voters.
And let’s not forget True The Vote – a collection of Tea Party trash talkers who vowed to monitor polls and intimidate minority voters, particularly Latinos and food stamp recipients, into thinking they were seeing the police in their rear view mirror if they attempted to vote.
But as Pew’s findings show, black people apparently didn’t shy away from the polls. Instead, they packed them.
“The perception that ‘people don’t want you to vote,’ motivated many blacks, particularly young people, to turn out,” Chanelle Hardy, executive director of the National Urban League, said at a panel discussion that was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
In other words, black people didn’t succumb to low expectations about being discouraged by the intimidation and the attempts to scare them into not using their voices.
They got angry, and directed that anger in a place that mattered – that place being the voting booth.