Election Day Warning Sign for Democrats: Weaker African American Turnout

Democrats are riding high after unseating GOP Gov. Matt Bevin in Kentucky and winning back majorities in both chambers of Virginia's General Assembly in Tuesday's elections. Much as was the case in 2018, when Democrats took back the majority in the House, Democrats' gains were concentrated in largely white, middle-to-upper income suburbs, NBC News reported.

However, the results weren't as sparkling for Democrats in Mississippi, the least white state at stake in Tuesday's major contests. Plain and simple, African American turnout there was weaker than expected — and that should serve as a warning to Democrats elsewhere. In Mississippi counties where white residents outnumber African Americans, 2019 turnout was down just 3 percent versus last fall and Hood took 39 percent, up from Espy's 37 percent. But in Mississippi counties where African American residents outnumber whites, 2019 turnout was down 8 percent and Hood took just 68 percent, down from Espy's 69 percent. 

In the immediate future, this should be a major caution flag for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, another conservative white Democrat who faces a tight Nov. 16 runoff against Republican Eddie Rispone for a second term.

And of the six states set to decide the 2020 election — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — black voters are a robust share of the electorate in all but Arizona. Their engagement is critical to any Democratic path to victory.

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