Ferguson anger may not be rational, but it is useful.
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Elections are a tricky thing, especially when you’re lagging in the polls. More specifically, mid-term elections are a tricky proposition for Democrats because historically, demographics relied upon by Democrats are less likely to vote in mid-term elections versus presidential elections. According to The Washington Post:
“Voters who fall into demographic groups that have traditionally been Democratic strongholds — young adults, African Americans and women — have wider turnout gaps than other groups, a challenge that Democratic candidates must negotiate every midterm election year.”
This election cycle is critical for both Parties, but for different reasons. The Republicans need to gain 6 seats to take control of the Senate, and the Democrats are doing everything they can to stop that from happening. There is much speculation as to how the Obama administration, and the Democratic Party at large is going to boost voter turnout, especially because of the usual mid-term malaise that plagues the Party. There has been talk of an October surprise, but as of yet, nothing has materialized that would really engage Democratic voters, and get them to the polls. However, it’s only the 25th, and there are 10 days until election day. In politics, 10 days is a lifetime.
Many are speculating that the demographic most needed for Democrats to keep the Senate is the black voter population. According to Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times:
“To keep Republicans from taking control of the Senate, as many are predicting, they need black voters in at least four key states. Yet the one politician guaranteed to generate enthusiasm among African Americans is the same man many Democratic candidates want to avoid: Mr. Obama.”
This seems to be a conundrum for the Democratic Party. How can they boost black turnout while their candidates are avoiding president Obama like the plague? What can they do to engage black voters? As any good student of history can attest to, the two best motivating factors in life are fear, and anger–and what is true of life in general is certainly also true in elections. The Democratic Party needs to sow fear, and/or anger among black voters so that they will turn out on November 4th, and help the Democrats keep the Senate. But how can they do that? One word: Ferguson.
The Democrats can use the anger, and fear stirred by the incident in Ferguson to motivate black voters. As we all know at this point, the Ferguson shooting has caused severe unrest, and agitation among many in the black community. Because the incident has been a murky he said/they said mess, cries of racism have gone on for months, drawing the United States back into our history’s darker corners. This fear-induced hysteria has led to many of the protestors in Ferguson to call for officer Darren Wilson to be charged with murder. However, recently leaked information has indicated that the evidence may in fact support Darren Wilson’s account of the incident, meaning that Michael Brown was the aggressor, and that Wilson was on the defensive. This leak has caused many to believe that Wilson will not be indicted. Now this is where the Democrats can leverage anger to their advantage.
According to CNN, one Ferguson protestor said that if Wilson is not indicted, “all hell will break loose.” In addition to that, according to The Inquisitr:
“Police have reportedly been preparing for the possibility of riots, and some believe that the grand jury leaks have come from law enforcement sources with the intention of readying people for the news that Darren Wilson will not be indicted.”
According to David A. Lieb, and Jim Salter of The Big Story:
“Missouri police have been brushing up on constitutional rights and stocking up on riot gear to prepare for a grand jury’s decision about whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot a black 18-year-old in suburban St. Louis.”
If October surprise history holds true, and the Democrats are poised to use unrest among the black community to get out the vote, the decision on Wilson’s indictment will likely be handed down just prior to the election on November 4th. The decision will likely be that officer Wilson will not be charged, and riots will ensue.
Georgia Democrats are already using the Ferguson shooting to their advantage in order to urge black voter turnout. According to Breitbart, flyers have been obtained in Atlanta by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that urge blacks to vote “if you want to prevent another Ferguson…” Images on the flyers include a black person in the street with his arms in the air, and a child holding a sign that says “Don’t Shoot,” with two bloody handprints on it.
This incident, as well as the outcome of the Wilson hearing, is the Democratic Party’s last hope to keep the Senate blue. As we know very well, Democrats will stop at nothing to win, even if it means exploiting the people they claim to care so much for. Is the Ferguson verdict Obama’s last hope at an October surprise? More importantly, will it work as intended? We will know in less than ten days.