Almost 50 years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act enfranchised thousands of black voters in Mississippi and elsewhere in the South, it’s increasingly evident that the Democratic voting bloc can become a game-changer in tight Southern senatorial races of both major parties.
As we have already seen, the African-American Democratic bloc in Mississippi – normally non-crucial in national elections – played a surprise role in helping veteran Republican Sen. Thad Cochran turn back a challenge from a far-right Tea Party champion.
While that black Democratic bloc here likely won’t make Democratic senatorial Travis Childers a serious threat to Cochran in November, black Democrats elsewhere in the South could make a key difference.
Nate Cohn, the numbers-crunching New York Times correspondent, has figured that in at least three Southern states – Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina – black Democrats could tip the balance for Democratic candidates to win, and keep Democratic control of the U.S. Senate.
What’s interesting about the quirky Mississippi Republican Senate primary, challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel keeps referring to the June 24 surge of black support for Cochran as “liberal” Democrats, rather than African-Americans, or blacks. Does he do that to counteract the racist taint he has from hobnobbing with neo-Confederate groups and extremist comments he has made on his talk radio show?