Food for thought with just one more round of primaries between us and a full scale general election campaign.
Last year, political scientists Stephen Ansolabehere and Charles Stewart pointed out that most of Barack Obama’s increased vote total over John Kerry came from black and Hispanic voters. Those two ethnic/racial groups together accounted for an increase of 7 million votes for Obama, as compared to 3 million added votes from non-Hispanic white citizens. So in thinking about the upcoming elections for the House of Representatives, it makes sense to ask about how blacks and Latinos are represented in the most competitive districts. Consider the 42 seats currently held by Democrats that analyst Charlie Cook considers to be “toss ups.” As these races go, so goes the House in all likelihood. According to the Census Bureau, the median toss-up district’sresidents in 2006-8 were 3.6% Latino and 4.8% black—as compared to shares of 15.1% and 12.3% nationally. Simply put, irrespective of turnout, the electorate that will prove decisive in which party controls the House has fewer voters of color than the electorate that proved decisive in electing Obama.