Conventional wisdom has it that the Obama coalition, particularly African Americans, aren’t going to show up for the midterm elections. Unfortunately for Democrats, there is a long line of off-year election results to make this a stone-cold fact. And now there is a near-constant drumbeat about how President Obama and his party are going to get thumped on Nov. 4.

The Upshot at the New York Times today puts “a Republican takeover of the Senate at 74 percent,” although it goes out of its way to say that it’s not “predicting a Republican victory.” The latest Post-ABC News poll shows that Republican enthusiasm for the coming vote is higher. And a Gallup poll released last week shows Democratic enthusiasm in the toilet. That last point is why President Obama has been sounding the alarm since at least the spring. This also explains why he called into the “Steve Harvey Morning Show” yesterday imploring — no, downright begging — the black radio audience to get to the polls.

The truth of the matter is, African American voters, young voters, progressive voters, Latino voters, they now vote at relatively high rates during presidential elections. But I bet a whole bunch of your listeners aren’t even thinking about this election coming up on Nov. 4. But this is really the last election in which I have the opportunity to get a Congress that will work with me [to get our progressive agenda done].
Back in 2010, folks didn’t vote. As a consequence, the tea party took over the Republican Party. We lost the House. And, although we’ve made a lot of progress on various issues since then, basically Congress has fought me every step of the way and it led to things like the shutdown and all kinds of negative consequences in terms of things like gun control that we couldn’t get done. So, we really need to have the kind of Congress that is serious about the issues that matter to folks and the responsibility is ultimately up on everybody’s who’s listening.
Folks like to complain, talk about Washington. But if only 45 [percent], 40 percent of the people are voting then it’s not surprising that Congress isn’t responsive. If people voted at the same rates during midterms as they did during presidential elections we would maintain Democratic control of the Senate . . . and so I need everybody listening to understand this is really, really important.

People are desperate when they know an impossible goal can actually be attained if a certain thing out of their control happened. As I have written many times, if the African American vote comes out in force in key Senate races such as Georgia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana, Democrats could hold the chamber. But because that’s such a big “if,” by the end of his interview with Harvey, I could hear desperation and a hint of exasperation in the president’s plea.

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I need everybody to really pay attention to this thing. . . . but this is something where I’m just hoping, everybody who’s listening, says, “We’re going to give one last push so the president and the first lady have the opportunities to really use these last two years on our behalf.” It’s up to everybody who’s listening. It’s up to them to make that difference. It’s up to you.

What I would love to see on Nov. 5 is a story about how the Obama coalition defied expectations. I’d love for the folks who clog my Twitter and Facebook feeds complaining how pollsters under-report support for Democrats because a lot of people of color and young voters don’t have land lines to be proved right. I’d love for them to vote in numbers that match the passion I see on social media. I’d love for the Obama coalition to prove everyone, including Obama, wrong.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

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