Will the African-American vote save troubled Democratic Senate incumbents?

Michael Barone is… dubious.

It’s apparent that even the most vigorous black turnout effort in the eight states [of thirteen with contested Senate races, including Georgia and Kentucky] with low black percentages is not going to make much difference. Democrats there must hope that their candidates can maintain levels of support from whites at or above the levels achieved by Obama in 2008 and 2012. In addition, Democrats inColorado must hope they can maintain something like the 75 to 23 percent margin Obama won among Hispanics there in 2012 according to the exit poll. (Note: I have been skeptical, just based on instinct and observation of county vote totals, about the Colorado exit poll, which I suspect understates Obama support among whites and overstates it among Hispanics.)

In the five states with above-national-average black percentages, there’s obviously good reason for Democrats to try to bolster black turnout. But to win a Democratic candidate must also do significantly better than Obama did among whites in ArkansasGeorgia and Louisiana and somewhat better than in North Carolina.

…Yeah, that’s not going to happen.  The chart of contested states that Michael Barone referred to in the article has only limited information on the shift in the white vote from Obama 2008 to 2012, but in the three states that do have that information Obama’s share of the white vote decreased in his second election.  Given that Barack Obama did worse more or less across the board from 2008 to 2012 (a somewhat unique, and mildly dubious, achievement in American politics), and given that he’s only gotten less popular since then, it’s reasonable to say that the white vote is not particularly fertile territory for Democrats right now.

And now you know what Democrats running for the Senate across the country are simultaneously trying to court the African-American vote, and hide from the President.  How they expect to square that particular political circle is something that keeps about half Democratic political consultants up at night.  The other half? …Just going to cash those checks and shrug, man.  This is one of the few gigs around where people seem to be able to make a career out of getting things wrong*.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Note, by the way, that the assumption is that African-American voters will not further reduce their support of Democrats at the ballot box. That may not be a good assumption.

*Current partisan hack not excepted, although in my defense I’m at least entertaining, I get it right about half the time, and am not charging six figures in consulting fees**. And, oh, yeah: I don’t lie to you.

**Mind you, given the track record of some of these folks maybe I should.