The massive turnout of black voters this year is a beautiful thing, especially in the South, where black folks are making it known that there will be consequences to using them as scapegoats:

Between an initial vote on April 22, when Mr. Childers fell just shy of getting the 50 percent he needed to win, and Tuesday’s runoff election, when he won with a decisive 54 percent, the Republican campaign to link Mr. Childers with Mr. Obama intensified, with a barrage of advertisements specifically on that theme. Perhaps not coincidentally, vote totals in counties with large black populations went up sharply between those two dates. In Marshall County, which is 48.8 percent black, the votes nearly doubled, to 5,083. In Clay County, 56.8 black, nearly 1,500 more people voted, pushing the total to 3,898.

The attacks on Mr. Obama clearly had a galvanizing effect, local officials said. “The people I talked to said, ‘Man, I don’t like that they’re trying to use Obama against him,’ ” said Eric Powell, a black state senator who helped in voter turnout efforts. “It actually helped Travis.”

The Davis ad didn't feel just like an attack on Obama, but on black folks in general. Enthusiasm for Obama, (and blowback from racist campaigning) could make him competitive in southern states like North Carolina.

What the Times article doesn't say is what Republicans will do to counter the growing influence of black voters in the South. We'll probably see a concerted effort across the board to institute policies that have been successful in disenfranchising black voters, basically the kinds of tactics that have made Hans von Spakovsky such a popular guy in the Bush Administration. (While von Spakovsky's nomination to a seat on the FEC has been blocked, he's still been making the rounds.) Efforts to get voter-ID laws like Indiana's passed in other states in time for November are already underway, although some won't be passed in time. Numbers like these should motivate Democratic lawmakers to get same-day voter registration laws passed as soon as possible, to make sure folks who want to vote can and to diminish the effect of deceptive mailings, robocalls, and other time-worn vote suppression tactics that are likely to make appearances in the Fall.

--A. Serwer

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