The nagging question that echoes inside my barber shop suddenly has a sense of urgency as the Democratic National Convention opens this week in Charlotte, North Carolina: Can President Barack Obama win re-election in November?

“What do you think?” a barber asks a small group of customers who sit against the wall, wait for haircuts, and pontificate about politics.

“It’ll be close,” said one customer who has frequented the Obama stronghold in Washington, D.C. for many years. “But I believe Obama will put it out.”

Like many African-Americans in D.C., and across the country, I’m cautiously optimistic, too.

Six months ago, there was more of a collective swagger in the black community, but now, 62 days before Election Day, in a race that is razor-thin close, black voters are worried – and for good reason.

In a recent report, the National Urban League calculated that if the African-American voter turnout rate in every state declines to 60 percent, down from 64.7 per cent in 2008, Obama would lose North Carolina and also have trouble in Ohio and Virginia.

"Essentially, African American voters in a number of key states hold the key to the outcome of the 2012 election," Marc Morial, the Urban League's president, said in a statement.

That’s an authoritative – and accurate – prediction.

Black voters – and all voters of color – have substantial political power in this year’s presidential election and it’s no coincidence that the Democratic National Convention is being held this week in North Carolina, a state Obama won by only 14,000 votes in 2008; a state where African-Americans make up 22 percent of the population.

Joy Cook, a 35 year-old African-American activist from North Carolina, is a volunteer for the Obama campaign.

“As someone from North Carolina, this is a great chance to show how our state stands behind the Democratic Party,” Cook said. “In 2010 Republicans swept North Carolina, taking control of both houses of the General Assembly for the first time since 1896, and I have personally felt the effects of the Republican Party being in charge of our state. We simply can’t afford that nationally and need to keep moving forward.”

David Bositis, a senior analyst with the Washington, DC-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, released a report this week, entitled: Blacks and the 2012 Democratic National Convention that underscored the significance of the black vote in November.

“While there is little question about the direction of [the] black vote this November, the size of black turnout will be important in determining the outcome of the election,” Bositis wrote. “Several of the states that President Obama won in 2008 that now appear to be likely to be more competitive have significant black populations, including the key states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. The black vote is also important in a few of the states that Senator Kerry won in 2004, such as, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

Consider these relevant facts from Bositis:

– At the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, there are 346 more black delegates than in 2008 at the party’s convention in Denver.

– Of the black delegates this year, 608 are men (41.9 percent) and 844 are women (58.1 percent).

– There are 39 states with more black delegates than in 2008.

– Florida’s black delegate total increased by 49 (98 percent), California’s by 44 (57.9 percent), and North Carolina’s by 30 (61.2 percent).

Indeed, there is political power in numbers – and this kind of unprecedented voting power should not be squandered in November. African-Americans can significantly help re-elect Obama as the nation’s first black president – or they can watch him move out of the White House and back to Chicago.

There’s an old adage that goes something like this: When someone tells you who they are, listen.

Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for the White House, has told African-Americans exactly who he is: He’s a billionaire conservative who said he plans to abolish the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); he said he intends to cut funding for education which would likely include Pell Grant; he said he’ll slash funding for the Endowment of the Arts; he’s blatantly acknowledged that he’s “not concerned about the very poor;” and he’s also a proud member of the Mormon faith – a peculiar religion that teaches that black people were “cursed by God” as a way to explain black skin.

"Romney spent a lot of time talking about himself and he spent a lot of time talking about me,” Obama told USA Today about Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention.  “He didn't spend a lot of time talking about the American people and how their lives will get better. I guess their premise is that the American people will be convinced, if we just get rid of Obama, then somehow that will be enough."

And while the nation’s unemployment rate is holding steady at 8.3 percent, Romney claims to have a magical plan to create millions of jobs.

“Are you better off today than you were in 2008”? Romney asks voters on the campaign trail.

But my question is this: Would the overall quality of life for most African-Americans dramatically improve if Romney is elected to the White House? Would black folks achieve economic and educational parity in a Romney administration?

Answer: Absolutely not.


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16 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Will You Be Better Off?

  1. africanwarrior on said:

    Romney and Ryan are Chicken Hawks who talk tough amd are a bunch of cowards tryimg to intimidate us . We must “punch them in the nose and chpcke them out” . We are better off than we were 4yrs ago
    And we will be much much better of when we drag all our pals , and familly to the voting booth tp Vote For Us and our Family
    Vote Obama Vote for You for a change , be good to yourself
    Love You , Love Your Familly Vote Obama and defend hia record witput Shame or excuses Tell Them All Yes We are Better Off Now Than We Were loosing 800,000 jobs a month and now Obama is creating Jobs You Can Believe In And Can Count On Using Arithmetic. Romney and Ryan Claim they will create 11 million jobs in 4 yrs he just failed hisArithmetic
    Every Economist don’t know where he got these imcredible mumbers from.
    Hmmm I know maybe creatong 11 million jobs in India and China?

  2. africanwarrior on said:

    Let us agressively defend our future
    Let us attack attack attack Romney and Ryan
    Keep them on the ropes . Brag loudly about about Obama’s capture of Bin Ladin , Brag Loudly about the Savings of America’s Auto Industry, Brag loudly about how Obama saved the Stock Market from Republican at
    Stupidity greed , Tell them about about how Obama took out Al Queda , tell them how hebrook out Ghahaffy on Libya without loosing one single American.
    Tell them about veterans who fought for Us that Obama is giving well deserved shelter and medication . Ask Romney why he didn’t serve in Vietnam like other patritic Americans of his age , why did he evade the draft like hia pals Bush and Cheney( evaded the Vietnam draft 7 times)
    All these Republican “Chicken Hawks” are eager to start wars yet like Romney and his coward VP nomine Ryan .
    Fight Back , Attack ,Attack we are 45 million Blacks , 55 million latinos we are ready to fight . Never Again ,Never Again are we going to be pushed around by racists We will punch
    In the mouth and submit them in a choke hold .
    I am ready to fight are You?

  3. africanwarrior on said:

    Yes We Are Better Off than when in2007 we were Loosing 800,000 jobs a month
    The DJI stockmarket was Down 6,500 points.
    GM was ready to close it’s doors , all this BFO
    (Before Obama) Bush never captured Bin Ladin
    Obama did . Obama has created 4.5 million jobs
    No hiding or excuses , Yes we are better off
    And Obama will add another 6-7 million Jobs
    And our unemployment rate will be down to 4 %
    these are Numbers You Can Believe In unlike Romney’s
    Un achieveable 11 million jobs he claims that he will create in America , maybe in China or India by putsourcing American jobs

  4. The enthusiasm for this president is still high in our community,but apathy has set in.We ‘re still the last hired then the first fired.It looks as if the liberal whites got what they wanted from this president and have now abandoned him.The question now is will we let them folks fire this president?..Like they do us..Folks,we should be as angry as those African bees.Hell to the No!…Not this time…We won’t be better off with Mr Plantation owner..Run and tell that to somebody..

  5. Hay Just want to be:
    Go to that cite I posted and get the understanding of what happened with the economic bubble crash and how much its still out of control. And you will see congress passed a bill backed by Alan Greenspan And signed by bill clinton that opened up what happened on wall st. There was a law on the books from the 1900’s because the same thing happened back then so they new what would happen and they still took the law of the books. Check it out
    And peace I’m off the post pages I just got the white man to give me another job I’m out.

  6. faeriedrumsong on said:

    I very rarely write something political, and even less often write something to a specific audience, but this time I am doing both. I am writing to African American Democrats. 

    While listening to the radio recently, I’ve become increasingly aware of something that disturbs me greatly. In the discussions about the upcoming presidential election, I hear a lot about the “historical” nature of this election, and about how “we” (black people) need to get out and support “our” president (meaning, the black man in the oval office, emphasizing the black part of it.)

    This, frankly, is bullshit. There are a lot of reasons that I am voting for President Obama to have a second term, and the fact that his skin is brown is not one of them. I will fully admit that the hue of his skin makes me happy and proud. I am happy that young black men have the ultimate role model in him. I am proud that we as a country have progressed, within my parents’ lifetime, from violent segregation to claiming a minority as president.

    But I am not voting for him because we share an abundance of melanin or a semi-common background.

    I will proudly vote for President Obama because I agree with his basic policies on:

    • Abortion
    • Gay Rights
    • Immigration
    • The funding of Stem Cell Research
    • Healthcare Reform (Obamacare)
    • The importance of a U.S. Presence in the United Nations
    • Gun Control on Assault Weapons
    • The very real threat of Global Warming
    • Protection of our National Parks & Forests
    • The fact that government should NOT regulate the internet

    I disagree with the president on some things, too. I believe Marijuana should be legalized, and I believe that space exploration is an important factor in our growth as a country and a planet, but 88% of the issues leave me & President Obama on the same side of the fence.

    You know what I agree with Mitt Romney on?

    No Major Issues.

    Thats right. I agree with him on nothing that is of major import.

    • I can not stomach the thought of the current Republican War on Women taking over the White House.
    • I can not tolerate the idea of people who believe that rape is just a “method of conception” being in charge of policy.
    • I can not believe in someone who has the intentional blindness to say that Global Warming and Cooling are beyond our control while implying that the tons of toxins and impurities we’ve put in our atmosphere have NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

    And THAT is why I am voting for President Obama. Because I believe he is the best person for the job. POLICY is why I will vote for him.

    This and ONLY this should be used as a criteria for voting. Because if you are voting for “our” president ONLY because of the color of his skin with no knowledge of his beliefs, policies or qualifications, you are no better than the person who votes for a white person simply because they do NOT have Obamas skin color. is an excellent way to find out what the issues actually are (because face it, most of us tune out the news and really don’t know shit about politics and we don’t even know why we SHOULD care about this election – or any other).

    original post: here

  7. Folks,you been took…You been had..if you believe Mitt is going to produce millions of jobs.Politicans always promise the moon.And we get nothing but a load of rocks.How will Mr fixit produce millions of jobs? The magic man says elect me first folks. Then I will show you. The oldest trick in the books.Perhaps Mr fixit would like to start another conflict.That would produce jobs real fast.Maybe send more cash to those filthy rich folks and let the loot trickle down to the poor.

  8. Black Republicans are the 8th wonder of the world with ross limbaugh and the GOP good old boys at the helm.
    And the 9th wonder of the world is the fact that no bank executives and no wall st executives were prosecuted for the economic collapse of 2007-2008.
    Dem-Rep both are liars its all about the greed.
    I don’t wanna be black I wanna be American. Ya some of us have lost are dam mind.

  9. FTSMITH on said:

    Why do you think the Rethugithans came up with the voter ID law? They know that Blacks will vote to put MY President back in the White House!! What these ‘haters’ don’t realize is, you have decent White Americans that will step up and make up for the number of votes that will be surpressed by the ‘haters’.

  10. Just want to be free of pain on said:

    Hey its time to use this social media and really get something done not just a be a talking head—-50% unemployment among our teenagers $16trillion deficit, and 47 million on food stamps. Gas at $4 gallon tell me this why do gas companies need tax breaks with the record profits they are not only posting but braging about?

  11. my Brother I am with you! tired of the Democrat rhetoric lies and scare tactics to keep us voting Democrat!!! Its time we stand up change the face of the GOP so that one day we won’t be referred to as African Americans but just plain old Americans who just happened to be black!!!!

  12. Just want to be free of pain on said:

    hoodtechiee Iam with you this 50% unemployment among our teenagers$16trillion deficit, and 47 million on food stamps. Gas at $4 gallon tell me this why do gas companies need tax breaks with the record profits they are not only posting but braging about?

  13. hoodtechiee on said:

    As an African American man I find it hard to believe how naive my people are. Let us look at the facts 15% unemployment among our people, 50% unemployment among our teenagers, highest foreclosure rate, highest incarceration rate, lowest net worth ($5,000).our college graduates cannot find jobs, $16trillion deficit, and 47 million on food stamps. Gas at $4 a gallon, inner city schools a shambles both structurally an academically and we want to vote this guy back in for another four years, please!!had this been a republican white president al sharpton and crew would be marching all around the white house demanding change, but instead they sit by subservient and dutiful and choose to ignore the facts just because obama is black, how sad. We are very much worse off than we were 4 yrs ago, it’s just baw, ebony, jet and all the other black pundits and black politicians won’t admit the obvious. they are better off because they are part of the problem, but for the other 98% of black people we are in dire sraits.every other ethicnicity in this country as a whole are doing better than us, but yet we still accept the excuses, rhetoric by politicians and radio host who are past their prime. The path that we are on will only lead us to more government dependence and encourage our people’s laziness and the obvious answer? We need a change in Washington and obama should be the first to go. at least the republicans have new ideas, new and younger people while we stand by and watch the train of progress pass us by all because we are afraid to take a chance, god help us.

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