Coming out of the respective party conventions, most African Americans will cast their votes for President Barack Obama again despite what that presidency continues to cost us. As President Obama seeks a second term there is no expectation of any change in Blacks' voting patterns. Though Blacks are no better off under Obama than during either of the Bush presidencies, Blacks will certainly give Obama strong support on November 6. The Republicans' nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has little history with African Americans. And, anti-African American segments within the GOP make Republican office-seekers' outreach appeals to Blacks difficult. Romney's Mormon faith puts many African Americans off because for much of their history, Mormons considered Blacks to be inferior to Whites.
The Romney/Ryan campaign illustrates that the divide that existed between African Americans and the Republican Party in the past has now become a chasm. It's being reported that Obama currently has 94 percent of Black American voters' support. There's little effort on the part of Romney/Ryan to garner African Americans' votes.
According to the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in August, "zero percent" of African Americans support Romney, though he has made overtures that include comments he made to the NAACP in Houston: "I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help hundreds of millions of middle-class Americans of all races, will lift people from poverty, and will help prevent people from becoming poor. My campaign is about helping the people who need help. The course the President has set has not done that – and will not do that. My course will."
Actually, the course Obama is on has caused Blacks' conditions to worsen over the past three years. There is no need to ask "have Blacks' lives gotten better" under Obama's presidency; the disproportionately poor employment rates among African Americans is worse; the economy under Obama has caused people's need for federal assistance, such as food stamps, to increase. In their pledge "to guard Obama's back" Blacks have accepted a level of leadership the majority of Americans see as "subpar."
What has Obama & Co., done to deserve "an encore?" Too many Blacks are still seeking "hope and change" that will never come. Most African Americans miss the fact that the majority of Americans are "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!" As a candidate, Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America's original sin, slavery. But as our first Black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be "twice as good" and "half as Black," Obama illustrates the false promise and double standard of integration.
Obama's presidency has been mediocre at best. Brother Barack has had three years to apply his remedies to the problems facing us and the best he and the Democrats can do is continue to blame the GOP and a president who left office four years ago. The Democrats had a veto-proof Senate and a majority in the House during Obama's first two years in office. Republicans took over the House as a direct result of voters' dissatisfaction with Obama's first two years in office. Bush left us about $4 trillion in debt. Under Obama, that debt is now $16 trillion. When Obama became president, the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent. Now it's 8.1 percent. And, federal government's business contracting with Black-owned firms decreased under Obama.
Black voters need to recognize the Democrats as derelict as the Republicans in discussing issues of concerns to African Americans, such as: strengthening families; unemployment/economic empowerment; urban training programs; violence in our communities; institutional racism; AIDS and health issues; unequal justice; drug recovery and incarceration.
How dumb are we? Where are our demands for representation? Despite a "Blackout" on dissenting opinions about Obama's presidency, some Black Americans feel their best interests haven't been served and won't be over the next four years – no matter who sits in the White House.
(William Reed is president of the Business Exchange Network and available for projects via the Bailey Group.org)