Why the Black Vote Is Crucial in 2014

Your Take: Rep. Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, says there’s too much at stake for African-American voters to stay home in November.

Voters prepare to cast their ballots on Nov. 1, 2012, in North Miami, Fla.
Voters prepare to cast their ballots on Nov. 1, 2012, in North Miami, Fla. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This country has come too far since the Voting Rights Act’s initial passage in 1965 to move backward. House Democrats will continue to fight to ensure that participation in our democracy remains unfettered and that all votes will be properly counted.

During President Obama’s first term, Republicans made their top priority loud and clear: to make President Obama a one-term president. We’re all glad they failed. But if Republicans maintain or build on their majority after November, President Obama’s legacy—and the nation’s economic recovery—will be in jeopardy.

Republicans and their special interest allies are part of a broken and dysfunctional system in Washington that favors scoring politics points over problem solving, and looking out for big oil and special interests instead of the middle class.

Just last month, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor was caught dining on the taxpayers’ dime as he and his colleagues continued to block a vote on extending unemployment insurance for 1.6 million Americans. Shameful.

The question African-American voters will ask when they walk into the voting booth is: Whose side are you on? Are you standing with President Obama and working to strengthen the middle class and ensure that our government is meeting the needs of its people? Or, are you for a Republican Congress that’s championed gridlock, cheered on failure and celebrated inaction?

Every day for the past 15 months, my Democratic colleagues and I have come to work knowing the reason we are here is that Americans—including nine out of 10 African Americans—went to the polls to support us and our agenda. Democrats are working hard to continue earning the trust and support of African-American voters, and we hope you will join us at the ballot box this fall as we continue our efforts to move America forward.

Steve Israel is a Democratic representative from New York and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Follow him on Twitter.

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