The fond hope of the GOP is that the census revelation that for the first time in census history a higher percentage of blacks than whites turned out for the 2012 presidential election is an aberration. The aberration is, of course, President Obama. The conventional political thinking is that record numbers of African-American votes stormed the polls in 2008 and 2012 solely out of giddy enthusiasm at the thought of making history and electing and reelecting the first black president in the country’s history. GOP strategists take comfort in this, and calculate that no white Democratic presidential candidate will generate the same fire, passion, and most importantly black vote numbers in 2016 and beyond that Obama did. There’s some truth to this, but only some. And there’s no truth that the GOP should take comfort in this.
A quick crunch of the numbers tells why. The black vote turnout did leap by nearly 2 million voters from 1996. But even at the lower range number of black voters in 1996, nearly 60 percent of eligible black voters still went to the polls. The other crucial factors are the age and gender of the voters. The trend in the numbers of black female voters over the past decade has been on the upswing. And the sharp upturn in black voters is among older black votes 45 years and older. Older voters traditionally are a more stable and reliable voting demographic, and the steadily growing number of black female voters virtually insures that the black vote will be a permanent potent factor in national elections. It was only a question of the right time and the right candidate for the numbers to surge. Obama of course fitted the bill on both counts. (Huffington Post)
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