African Americans will treat this election on Tuesday with a sense of urgency. Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the Obama campaign, told me that she believes the turnout among black voters will top the turnout in 2008. That may be wishful thinking, but she could also be right.
In fact, the NAACP announced Monday its plan to turn out more than 1.2 million voters by the time polls close on Election Day. This is the largest get-out-the-vote effort in the NAACP’s 103 year history.
“With so much at stake in the upcoming election, the NAACP has dedicated its time and resources to ensure more African Americans have their votes counted at the ballot box than ever before,” said NAACP President Ben Jealous. “Our predecessors sacrificed their time, bodies, and lives to secure the right vote for our community. It is now our responsibility to see this critical right exercised by African American’s across the country.”
The Hispanic Vote
ImpreMedia and Latino Decisions released a national election eve poll of Latino registered voters that showed that 20% of likely Latino voters voted early and 73% voted for President Obama while 24% voted for Mitt Romney.
Many Hispanic citizens say they are voting for Obama because of Romney’s tough stance on immigration policies. If this trend continues on Tuesday, according to the poll, Obama would receive the highest percentage of Latinos vote ever seen in a presidential election. Bill Clinton received 72% of the Latino vote in 1996 when he defeated Bob Dole.
The Race Factor
Voters of all racial and ethnic backgrounds – a multi-cultural coalition – will rise up against the Republican voter suppression tactics and reject Romney’s allegiance to wealthy donors. In a now-infamous secret video, Romney told his rich buddies that 47 percent of Americans who support Obama are “victims” who mooch off the government.
“In 2008, this country witnessed a truly historic election,” said Dr. Silas Lee, a nationally recognized political pollster and a professor of public policy at Xavier University. “Now, in 2012, President Obama has a chance to get re-elected, but will find himself fighting against a GOP nominee that has been dead set on making sure this election about the racial and class divisions in this country.”
This year, voter suppression tactics by conservatives have hit a new low: Some black and Latino voters have been told recently that if they are found guilty of voter fraud, their children will be taken away from them.
“The reality is that since the Florida debacle in 2000, we’ve seen deliberate, systematic voter suppression tactics targeted at African Americans and Latinos,” Barbara Arnwine, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
“We learned that this wasn’t a one-time occurrence but a full-time feature in the voting landscape,” Arnwine said. “It’s vicious, deliberate and ugly.”
Meanwhile, David Axelrod, senior advisor to the Obama campaign, said he’ll shave the mustache he’s worn for 40 years if Obama loses key states to Romney and Jen Psaki, an Obama communications advisor, has vowed to dye her hair black if Obama loses. Psaki is a redhead.
I’m not shaving my mustache or dying my hair based on the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election, but I do believe that President Obama will earn the 270 electoral votes he needs to spend another four years working in the Oval Office.