At the Netroots Nation Conference in Minneapolis, PSC’s Judy Lubin joined Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and other panelists on the Doin’ it Again — Getting 2008 First-time Voters Out in 2012 panel discussion on Saturday, June 18th. The discussion focused on offline and online strategies for engaging, energizing and winning back 2008 first-time voters, with an emphasis on youth and African American voters.
In a Huffington Post blog about the panel, Lubin wrote:
Joblessness in the black community combined with the oft-heard sentiment that the president has “dissed” his most loyal base has been the subject of heated public discussion, most notably the Cornel West/Al Sharpton debate on MSNBC back in April. But rather than focus on this issue, the Do It Again panel (video below) at last week’s Netroots Nation conference centered on grassroots strategies for re-engaging blacks and other first-time voters for the 2012 presidential election.
During the discussion, Lubin noted several trends that suggest black voters are likely to provide strong support for the president in 2012, despite high unemployment and criticism of Obama’s lack of a “black agenda”.
As she notes in her Huffington Post piece:
Despite the depressing joblessness rate and disappointment (expressed by some) in the Obama administration’s lack of targeted policy solutions to address their concerns, blacks overwhelming approve of the president’s job performance. Additionally, blacks, more so than whites, believe that a brighter future is ahead both for themselves and future generations. For many, the president is the embodiment of those hopes and dreams. This was true in 2008 and will likely be the same in 2012.
This does not discount the almost certain reality that getting disaffected voters back to the polls will be a challenge. The “enthusiasm gap” may very well cause an erosion of support among the president’s key constituencies. This will also likely play out with fewer small dollar donations.
But just in case anyone wants to inaccurately suggest that blacks remain loyal to President Obama because of his skin color, polling data suggest progressives and liberals on a whole still strongly support the president. Media reports on the Netroots conference focused on the tension between progressives and the White House, but as these Gallup numbers show, support among the president’s liberal base remains at about 90%, which is virtually unchanged since his inauguration.
The panel was moderated by LegalSpeaks blogger Debbie Hines and included Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), Politic365.com Editor Kristal High, technology and politics blogger Jeneba Ghatt and progressive organizer Scott Roberts.
Netroots Nation is the largest annual gathering of progressive activists and bloggers.