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Full fathom five thy lede on African-American voter turnout lies


When I voted on Sunday I wondered – briefly – what early voting data might cause the press to take a 5 second break from EMAILS! EMAILS! BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE EMAILS!! But some questions answer themselves before they’re asked: Black voters something something argle, of course. And on Tuesday, Nov. 1, voila!

This paragraph is the lede based on its location in the article.

African-Americans are failing to vote at the robust levels they did four years ago in several states that could help decide the presidential election, creating a vexing problem for Hillary Clinton as she clings to a deteriorating lead over Donald J. Trump with Election Day just a week away.

Here’s the real lede, in the third paragraph.

The reasons for the decline appear to be both political and logistical, with lower voter enthusiasm and newly enacted impediments to voting at play. In North Carolina, where a federal appeals court accused Republicans of an “almost surgical” assault on black turnout and Republican-run election boards curtailed early-voting sites, black turnout is down 16 percent. White turnout, however, is up 15 percent. Democrats are planning an aggressive final push, including a visit by President Obama to the state on Wednesday.

If African-Americans are failing to vote it is in the same way a man who has been kicked very hard on the kneecaps fails to run very fast.

In addition, this break from EMAILS! etc! (Now with more EMAILS!) is based on a comparison to early voting in 2012.

But is it surprising that three reporters looked at increased disenfranchisement efforts and the fact that voting behavior this year is (as of some date shortly before Nov. 1) different from voting behavior in one other year, and saw some sort of African-American/Clinton Enthusiasm Gap/Democratic Party Drama story?


I also will not be surprised by the rants about stupid, self-defeating African-Americans from the pseudoliberal stealth supremacists bund and comparisons of Trump’s and Clinton’s problems with African-American voters from the bothsiderists.

(And here by the way is an article about the usefulness of early voting in predicting an election’s outcome.)

As an aside, if the press really thinks that African-Americans have the power to decide the Fate of the Nation, perhaps its coverage of African-Americans could be less sparse between elections. Just an idea.

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