To be sure, all voters turn out less during the midterms. Twenty-nine percent less white people voted in 2014 than voted in 2012, according to a September analysis by the progressive think tank Demos. But over the same period, there was a 40 percent dropoff in African-American turnout, a 43 percent dropoff in Asian-American turnout and a 44 percent dropoff in Latino turnout.
The consequences of ignoring congressional races can reverberate for years. In 2010, the Republican party not only took back the House of Representatives, crippling President Barack Obama’s agenda, but it also won a majority of state legislatures at an especially decisive moment. Since the decennial census took place in 2010, those state legislatures were able to gerrymander congressional districts in a way that will likely keep the House under Republican control until after the next census in 2022. Pennsylvania, for example, which voted for Obama twice,has just five Democratic congressmen out of a total of 18 House seats -- a result many attribute to partisan redistricting after the 2010 census.