The leader of the Congressional Black Caucus last week weighed in on the midterm defeats for Democrats: “Don’t blame us!”
“Democrats did not lose control of the Senate because African Americans did not vote. Actually, as supported by preliminary exit poll data, the complete opposite is the case,” Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said in a statement. “African Americans increased as a proportion of the electorate in 2014 over 2010. African Americans voted heavily for Senate Democrats, and by doing so remained loyal to both the President and the Democratic Party and its values. So, don’t blame us!”
Fudge noted that in Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) easily defeated a Democratic challenger, African-American turnout was “notably better with a more than 10 percent jump in voter participation.”
She also noted that Georgia, where Michelle Nunn lost to David Perdue, African-Americans made up 29 percent of all votes cast, “with 92 percent of those voters casting their ballots for the Democrat in the Senate race.”
“Simply put, find another scapegoat,” she said. “Don’t blame us!”
Fudge added that activists “stood ready to combat any instance of voter intimidation or fraud.”
“Black elected officials crisscrossed the country to discuss the urgency and importance of this election. We phone banked, knocked on doors and held ‘Get Out the Vote’ rallies. Our losses were not a referendum on African American political engagement. We did our part, so don’t blame us!” she said.
“Democrats lost Senate control because we failed to mobilize young voters across racial and regional spectrums. We failed to persuade Southern voters to hold true to core Democratic values. We lost because the Hispanic community was insufficiently motivated. We lost because of ideological differences within the Democratic Party and with our Administration. We lost because our party has, to some extent, lost white Southerners due in part to the race of our President. 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. 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.”
There will be 47 African-Americans in the 114th Congress, a new record. Will Hurd of Texas and Mia Love of Utah will be the newest members.
Fudge has said Hurd and Love are both welcome to join the CBC as it “welcomes all new African-American members to join the caucus, which has always been the case.”
Hurd, a former CIA operative, told the Dallas Morning News he’ll consider it.
“They’re great members, and I’m looking forward to working with them,” said the first black Republican elected to Congress since Reconstruction. “Whether or not I join the committee, we haven’t made that decision.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) politely declined to join the caucus upon his election to the House in 2010.
In 2012, Scott told PJM that he had a “cordial” relationship with the CBC.
“It was pretty chilly for a long time,” he said. “I won’t say that the chill’s out of the air. We have at least a cordial interaction.”