My friend Roland Martin put one of these on my radar. In Illinois, prominent black ministers around the state cast their lot with the GOP. They encouraged congregants to abandon Governor Quinn in Illinois and support the Republican. That made a real difference in the metropolitan Chicago area, where the Republican this time outperformed prior Republicans.
Another one that is a real surprise to me is Georgia. But it is abundantly apparent from the turn out data and the anecdotal evidence. Black voters were turning out for Democrats in early voting. In fact, I’m told that privately the GOP saw Democrats outpacing them in early voting around the state. But on Election Day, black voters stayed home. The weather was perfect. The Democrats had a mobilization ground game. It was a conscious decision by black voters.
Sure enough, reports from all over the state were the same. Heavily white precincts had huge turnout, but largely black precincts did not see the turnout people expected. Both Perdue and Deal made gains where Nunn and Carter did not.
My suspicion is that education choice is the answer. Again, it is anecdotal, but if you recall, Georgians voted in favor of charter schools. Black mothers in inner-city Atlanta ignored their pastors and the NAACP, siding with the state GOP leadership. The Democrats have run an aggressive campaign in Georgia this past year against charter schools. Jason Carter has all but said explicitly he intended to defund charter schools.
I have had at least a dozen mothers from inner-city Atlanta come up to me in recent weeks saying they could not stand to see the gains they made for their children undone by their party. They may not have gone out and voted GOP, but they made a conscious decision to stay home. It showed in the lines and it shows in the turn out data.