By Bruce Murphy – Sep 25th, 2018 01:11 pm
They could be the worst nightmare of the Wisconsin Republican Party: two groups who are separately working to increase the turnout for the November 2018 election. NextGenAmerica is targeting young people aged 18 to 35, while Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) is targeting African American voters.
The two groups are confronting head-on a well-known dynamic of American elections: in presidential years, young voters and African American voters are much more likely to turn out, which is good for Democrats, because these two groups lean left. In non-presidential elections, they are less likely to vote, which is good for Republicans.
NextGenAmerica cites the fact that 70 million Americans ages 18-35 are eligible to vote – more than any other age group and with by far the most liberal views. But younger Americans only vote at half the rate of older Americans, a rate which NextGen hopes to increase.
As for African American voters, they have typically supported the Democratic candidate for president by 85 percent or more. But the turnout by black voters was down by 20 percent in Wisconsin in 2016, driven by lower numbers in Milwaukee, and BLOC’s leaders are aiming to turn that around.
While some have pointed to Republican-passed restrictions on voting, including photo ID, as the cause of the lower turnout, BLOC’s executive director Angela Lang tells Urban Milwaukee she thinks it was more about Democrats “taking the black vote for granted,” and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spending no time in Milwaukee.
“If you want our vote, you need to spend more time in our community,” Lang says.
BLOC has a budget of $600,000, with five staff and 24 paid canvassers. The group is affiliated with the liberal Center for Popular Democracy, whose top funder is conservative bete noire George Soros, along with other liberal individuals, foundations and labor unions.