Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

New Obama ad makes last-ditch bid to reenergize black voters for Nov. 2 midterms

October 19, 2010 |  3:10 pm

Democrat president Barack Obama greeting presidents of Black Colleges and universities at White House 9-13-10

As The Ticket pointed out here a couple of weeks ago, Barack Obama's poll numbers have sadly sagged among most sectors of American voters -- young people (down to 57%), Easterners (52%), women (47%), independents (41%), seniors (38%), whites (36%).

Only among blacks has his support stayed very strong (91%).

The trouble, with severely challenging midterm elections coming up 14 days from right now, is that without Obama on a ballot somewhere, African Americans haven't demonstrated an eagerness or even willingness to flock to the polls as they did for him in 2008.

Last November that racial absence cost the Democrats the New Jersey governor's race, hurt in Virginia's and likely the Massachusetts Senate race too that went to Republicans for the first time since the Korean War.

So, what's a black president to do?

Dance with the partner that brung you. Make another radio ad aimed specifically at blacks, broadcast it nationally and regionally on shows that appeal to black listeners. And hope for the best.

"We cannot sit this one out," Obama declares. "We can’t let this country fall backwards because the rest of us didn’t care enough to fight." The ad went up Tuesday, part of a large, last-ditch bid by the Democratic National Committee to stem what current polls predict is likely to be a very bad day for Democrats on Nov. 2.

"Two years ago," Obama continues, "you voted in record numbers, and we won a victory few dreamed possible. I know so many across the country are hurting…and think change isn’t happening fast enough."

He talks (his emphasis) about "STOPPING insurance company discrimination, reforming education so it works for EVERY child...On Nov. 2 I need you to stand with ME...and VOTE."

They've made buys on shows including Steve Harvey, Yolanda Adams, Doug Banks and Al Sharpton. and are going heavily into local markets in Pennsylvana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Florida and, of course, Illinois, each of which not coincidentally has large black populations and important Senate races which, if lost, could cost the president's party control of that chamber.

Or, to put it another way, how bad do things look from that Oval Office when the country's first black president must make a special last-minute appeal for support from black voters?

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of important votes, click here to join nearly 54,000 global readers who follow The Ticket with Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available here on Kindle now.

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA