Will Attacks on Obama and Voting Rights Mobilize Black Turnout?

Will Attacks on Obama and Voting Rights Mobilize Black Turnout?

Rep. Karen Bass says voter suppression can be used to motivate heavy Black turnout.

Published March 21, 2012

Rep. Karen Bass (D-California) has an interesting theory about how to handle assaults on women’s health care issues and efforts to disenfranchise certain voters, as well as the personal and often racist attacks on President Obama. Use them as incentives, she said, to not only help him win re-election, but also so Democrats can regain control of the House and retain the Senate.


“We get real motivated when one of us is attacked,” Bass said during Tuesday’s Leading Women Defined luncheon.


Bass said that Republicans developed a “brilliant long-term strategy” that included regaining control of the House of Representatives and several state legislatures just in time for redistricting. But it may not work out as planned, Bass noted, because of the demographic shifts that have taken place and the growth of minority populations. She believes that’s why states are working to implement stricter voting rules that would make it difficult for many minorities to vote in 2012.


“The president has to be re-elected and we have to take back the House and keep the Senate. If we don’t do that then President Obama is going to be left in his last four years with a Republican-lite agenda because he’ll only have the power of the veto,” she said. “Given the way they’ve behaved over the past 15 months we can imagine what would happen in that second term.”


MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid agreed that the GOP was attempting a long-term game, but said that they’re looking at a “long-term disaster” because by 2020, the electorate will be majority minority and the party still struggles to win minority support.


“They have to grow their Hispanic vote and other groups besides white males or they have to suppress the other team,” Reid said.


According to Bass, voter suppression is an issue that should motivate African-Americans to head to the polls this fall in droves.


“We can really use this. It generates emotion to know that they’ve gone so far to try to prevent Obama from being re-elected that they’ve turned back the clock on the civil rights agenda in terms of us being able to vote,” she said, adding that Democrats must use that as a catalyst and motivator to get African-Americans to turnout at the polls.


You can find more on the Leading Women Defined summit at: www.BET.com/lwd.



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Written by By Joyce Jones


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