Opinion: Obama’s Biggest Failure Has Been On Race Relations
Even those who were for Sen. John McCain for president in 2008 took comfort in knowing that even though McCain lost, having the nation’s first black president would most certainly lead to an improved relationship among the races in the United States.
Unfortunately, political poll after political poll reveals that the presidential election of 2012 has much to do – in fact, more to do – with the race of the presidential candidate than most anything else.
Like so many other expectations the nation had of President Barack Obama, not only has being African-American – as well as white – in the United States not improved, but the relationship between the races seems more segregated now than it has been for decades.
Race relations during President Barack Obama’s presidency, particularly during the president’s incredibly lengthy campaign process leading up to Election Day 2012, have worsened – and, in great part – due to President Obama’s actions.
Early on in the campaign – last January – long before it was even determined that the presidential challenger would be Governor Mitt Romney, President Obama recorded messages specifically designed for African-Americans to support him in the upcoming election. The videos were obviously designed for African-Americans as they were posted on such web sites as BarackObama.com/AfricanAmericans. Had the media not totally ignored the racially-divisive moves on Obama’s part, maybe the racial divisiveness in the 2012 election would not have continued up to and including the week of the election. But it definitely has. While many bloggers were stating that black leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have been up in arms if there were Romney or other white candidates’ videos specifically targeting the white vote, those bloggers’ posts were largely ignored.
Additionally, polls show the power of the president’s racial-divide as election-related polls indicate that Romney has basically no black support. For example, the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll results that were released in late August stated that Mitt Romney had 0% of support from African-American voters. What resulted from this designed racial-divide is that fewer whites are now supporting Obama. According to a recent poll, many fewer whites, percentagewise, support Obama in 2012 than they did in 2008. The decrease in black support for a white candidate and the decrease of white support for Obama speak volumes about what has happened to racism in the United States from 2008 to 2012. Obviously, after four years of having our first black president, fewer blacks consider voting for a white candidate and fewer whites consider voting for a black candidate. The polls numbers on these statements are far beyond the margin of error for any pollster.
Statistically, a Washington Post tracking poll from Oct. 25, 2012, has President Barack Obama losing the white vote to Romney by 23 percent when the Obama lag under the same conditions four years against McCain was only 12 percent. Four years ago, 5% of black voters backed McCain while Romney somewhere near zero support in 2012.
There is no logical basis other than pure racism for nearly 100% of blacks voting for Obama while only 60% of whites are voting for Romney according to the Washington Post poll. What is it that nearly 100% of black people don’t understand about voting for someone outside of their race – or, some may also argue, what is it that 63% of white people don’t understand about voting for someone outside of their race? The racism exists among blacks and whites, but obviously most extreme among African-Americans.
By 2012, the election was supposed to be much less about the race of the candidate and much more about the substance, but it is disappointingly much more about the race of the candidate than it was four years ago according to the glaring results of political polls released during this election cycle.
What’s astounding is that black unemployment in America is at 14%, higher than any racial group in the country – approximately 20% higher than it was in 2008. Yet, Obama and the Democrats’ “get-the-black-vote” tactics win the voters over regardless of the obvious lack of good the Obama presidency has done for minorities.
Traditionally, approximately 90% of blacks are Democrat, but in 2012 Obama has turned it into nearly 100%. That would be fine if he had improved the lives of African-Americans – and the rest of the country’s citizens – in the past four years.
As Malcolm X said two days before he died when speaking to an African-American audience: “The Democrats are playing you for a political chump and if you vote for them, not only are you a chump, you are a traitor to your race!” Malcolm X’s words are resonating even today.
If you so desire, forget about the horrendous economy, the 7.9% unemployment rate which is now higher than when Obama took office, the recent burning of American flags throughout the Middle East as four Americans are sent home dead from Libya while Obama won’t answer the tough questions about it. Even if one can look past all of these issues, no one should look past the reality that the first black president of the United States has not been able to improve race relations in this country. To many, that was President Obama’s biggest job – and he failed at it.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.