When the Republican Party swept control of Congress after the 2014 mid-term elections, accusations started flying that the lack of support from Black voters caused the Democrats to lose.
According to Congressional Black Caucus chair Rep. Marcia Fudge, there were many reasons to blame for the Democratic Party’s loss, but African-American voters wasn’t one of them.
Fudge said that racism and gerrymandering in the South, along with party’s failure to mobilize young voters were the real reasons Democrats lost control of Congress.
“Democrats did not lose control of the Senate because African Americans did not vote,” she said in a public statement. “Actually, as supported by preliminary exit poll data, the complete opposite is the case. African Americans increased as a proportion of the electorate in 2014 over 2010.”
She went on to point out that “African Americans voted heavily for Senate Democrats,” and that was indeed the case.
According to exit polls conducted by Edison Research and compiled by the New York Times, roughly 90 percent of Black voters voted Democratic in the most recent election.
Some Democratic candidates who received a majority of the Black votes still lost against their Republican counterparts.
According to an exit poll by CNN, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan obtained 96 percent of the Black votes in North Carolina while Republican Thom Tillis received only 3 percent.
When it came to the white vote, however, the results were the opposite.
Tillis received more than 60 percent of the white votes while Hagan received 33 percent.
In Georgia, African Americans made up nearly 30 percent of the vote but Democrats still lost the election in the Peach State.
In most states, the percentage of Black voter turnout was relatively close to the percentage of Black residents in that state, according to information published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
So what caused Democrats to be crushed by the Republican Party?
According to Fudge, racism played a part in driving white Democratic voters in the South to the Republican ticket.
“We lost because our party has, to some extent, lost white Southerners due in part to the race of our president,” she said.
She also insisted that dirty politics, like the gerrymandering fiasco in Alabama, caused the Democratic Party to lose a substantial amount of votes.
“We lost because the Supreme Court decisions in ‘Citizens United’ and “McCutcheon’ allowed a select few to subvert the political process with secret, unlimited money,” she added. “We lost because of gerrymandering in our state redistricting processes. We lost because of our continuing problem with a clear and compelling message that would encourage voters to stay with us.”
Fudge also added that there is still one vote that had more power than the Black vote – the young vote.
“Democrats lost Senate control because we failed to mobilize young voters across racial and regional spectrums,” she added.
While most voters between the ages of 18 and 29 still voted Democratic, the gap between youth votes in support of Democrats versus Republicans was much smaller than it has been in previous years.
Back in 2008 the Democratic Party obtained more than 60 percent of the youth votes while the Republican Party failed to reach 40 percent.
In 2014’s mid-term election, however, 55 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted Democratic and 42 percent voted Republican.