Dear Black People: This is a critical time in our history. Vote Tuesday or be prepared to face serious consequences. Many polls show that Democrats are in trouble.
President Barack Obama’s 40 percent job approval rating in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll is the lowest of his career – and more than half of Americans are viewing Democrats unfavorably for the first time. Democrats are vulnerable in states that include Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Connecticut. If African-Americans ever needed a reason to vote on Tuesday, consider this: South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who may run in 2016, was caught on tape discussing the Republican Party’s reputation for appealing to mostly white men in a racially-charged recording.
“If I get to be President, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great,” Graham said.
Does this sound familiar? It should. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what” because they are “dependent on government” and “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.”
Graham is speaking for many white men who take Graham at his word: That he will look out for white men specifically if he gets to the White House. Graham didn’t say anything about representing African-Americans and other citizens of color because the Republican Party is not a party of inclusion. Days before critical mid-term elections when Republicans could take control the U.S. Senate, I could hear a sense of urgency in Rep. Marcia Fudge’s voice.
“We depend on government more than any other group,” Fudge, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said about African-Americans.
“We have to vote in November. We can’t work against our own self-interests.” Fudge, a Democrat from Ohio, is rallying Black folks and urging a strong voter turnout on Tuesday. She is both feisty and frustrated because still, in 2014, Fudge has to give black Americans a reason to vote. Some Black citizens, she said, are still questioning whether their vote will actually count.
Fudge knows what’s at stake: She says if Republicans take control of the Senate, the GOP plans to cut domestic spending for health care, education and social service programs while also cutting minimum wage and rolling back Social Security.
If they have win a majority in the House and the Senate, Republicans will also spend the next two years blocking Obama’s legislative agenda and initiatives that are designed to uplift African Americans. In an effort to boost the black vote in November, the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders announced a national get-out-the-vote campaign that will involve thousands of Black churches and more than 40,000 pastors from coast to coast.
“Because of the lagging economy in Black communities, each candidate’s position on issues like jobs with livable wages, equal pay for women, retirement security, and student loan relief is motivating people to vote,” said Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, NCBCP and convener, Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR).
“But, all politics is local,” she said, “so for this countdown period we have neighbors talking to neighbors via personal phone calls, robo calls, door-to-door canvassing, and social media, to remind them they have the power to make change in their community.”
I hope black voters listen to Campbell – and are moved to action on Tuesday.
What do you think?