Fifty years after the Freedom Summer, black voters are more powerful than ever. It’s time for both parties to realize this, and start competing for their support in earnest.
For the first time in our history, according to the Census Bureau, blacks are now voting at a higher rate than whites. Roughly two out of three eligible blacks voted in the 2012 election, which is a greater percentage than the number of non-Hispanic whites who turned out to the polls. And while the presence of President Barack Obama on the ballot for re-election almost certainly drove up turnout, blacks are still the only ethnic group to show a significant increase in voting from 2008 to 2012.
Nowhere is this trend more noteworthy than in the South where, as Nate Cohn recently argued in The New York Times, black voters may decide who controls the Senate next year. “If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate,” he wrote, “they will do so because of Southern black voters.”