As a declared presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) should generate even bigger headlines when he addresses black audiences, as he has at Howard University and other venues. When he was executive of mainly Democratic Milwaukee County, Governor Scott Walker (R., Wis.) appealed to black voters; his reelection majorities consistently increased.
These and other Republicans should ask black Americans for their votes from now through November 2016. They should do so by challenging blacks to ask themselves an honest question: “What, exactly, have you gained by handing Obama 95 percent of your votes in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012?”
This economy has left blacks with little to show for their loyalty to Obama and the Democrats.
‐The unemployment rate has fallen under Obama, from 7.8 percent when he was sworn in on January 20, 2009, to 5.5 percent last month. Though less dramatic, joblessness has dropped for black Americans (from 12.7 to 10.1 percent) and black teenagers (from 35.3 to 25.0 percent).
From there, things get bleak.
‐U.S. labor force participation has declined during that same period, from 65.7 to 62.7 percent. For blacks in general, the damage was a bit lighter, dipping from 63.2 to 61.0 percent of available employees in the work pool. For black teenagers, however, this number deteriorated — from 29.6 to 25.7 percent.
‐The percentage of Americans below the poverty line inched up, the latest available Census Bureau data found, from 14.3 to 14.5 percent overall — between 2009 and 2013. For black Americans, that climb was steeper: The 25.8 percent in poverty rose to 27.2 percent.
‐Real median household incomes across America retreated across those years, from $54,059 to $51,939. Though less pronounced, such finances also reversed for black Americans, from $35,387 to $34,598.
‐Food Stamp recipients between 2009 and 2013, the most recent Department of Agriculture figures show, rose from 32.9 million to 47.1 million Americans. Meanwhile, the equivalent number of blacks soared from 7.4 million to 12.2 million.
‐Home ownership slipped from 67.3 percent of Americans in the first quarter of 2009 to 64.0 in the fourth quarter of 2014. For blacks, that figure slid from 46.1 to 42.1 percent.
For further details and analysis, see this chart.
Elie Mystal, a black Democratic activist, appeared with yours truly on Hannity on March 20. Responding to data like these, Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity pleaded in vain for Mystal to explain how Obama had improved blacks’ fortunes. Finally, Hannity practically begged Mystal: “Give me one statistical piece of evidence that the black community under Barack Obama — they gave him 90-plus percent of their vote — is better off under his policies. Give me a measurement that you can point to.”
“No,” Mystal sputtered. “I cannot give you one shining super metric that explains the difference in experience for black people under this president versus black people under the president’s potential competitors.”
This sorry spectacle vividly exposed the bare cupboard reserved for black profits on Obama’s watch.
As America’s first black president, Obama offered blacks a sense of ethnic pride, much as JFK’s election warmed the hearts of his fellow Catholics. Indeed, Obama’s breakthrough stirred Americans of all backgrounds. His first inauguration moved even his opponents. Obama back then enjoyed 69 percent approval.
But that symbolic value has evaporated. The eloquent, elegant figure who echoed Sidney Poitier has devolved into a latter-day Jimmy (J. J.) Walker. From his West Wing waltz with a selfie stick, to his exclusive interview with neon-lime-lipstick-wearing GloZell Green, to his truancy during Paris’s Charlie Hebdo march, to his 223 rounds of golf, to his screaming-infant-like reaction to the reelection of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama has soiled his office, turned himself into a punch line, and fundamentally transformed his country into a global laughingstock.
Obama has betrayed blacks as a community, failed Americans as a people, and enfeebled the United States as a nation.
These painful truths will be inescapable come November 2016, even to Obama’s most devoted loyalists. Republicans should make this case to black voters, starting now.