With Republicans taking control of Congress, questions raised in Black America include: Is Barack Obama unpopular because of what he and his administration have done, because of the color of his skin, or both?
Democrats say voters voted against their own self-interest while Republicans saw it as the opposite. Each party accused the other of dominating with money. Not so. Filed forms of how money was spent — candidates, parties, and outside groups — reveal Republicans will have spent $1.75 billion and Democrats $1.64 billion.
Candidates and companies spend to keep their names in people’s minds for when they are ready to buy or vote. In 2012, companies spent far more than politicians in their advertising to get customers to buy: Proctor and Gamble almost $3 billion, the auto industry as a whole: $13.9 billion.
So with similar spending levels, why did the Democrats lose? Policies? Programs? Governance? The president’s skin color?
As we continually report in this column, we as a nation haven’t made much progress these past six years on issues of race relations. Race is still the elephant in the room.
A bigger question: What part will race play in attempts to impeach the president? Within hours after the polls closed conservative commentators began to use the “imp” word — impeachment.
President Obama has many issues on his plate, including many he said he would address prior to his 2008 election, to make a difference and to make us a more tolerable nation, but still left unfinished. The Congress will find President Obama will not play the lame duck role. Attempting revenge upon his presidency and legacy will cost them dearly. It will backfire, as it did with Clinton. It will harm the nation just as sending combat troops back into Iraq will. The American people no longer stand for more misinformation about America’s wars.
Other issues not addressed adequately in the Black community: education, jobs, the environment, immigration, and the sense amid Black America that there is no momentum to push for them. White media journalists spend inordinate amounts of time making sure that the feelings and the frustrations of Black America are discussed in detail by the White fourth estate, words without action.
As a Black columnist, I understand how White denial is a part of the Black experience in America. The results of the 2014 elections prepare us for a real pivot for 2016, a “pivot” that will determine the future of our nation and the future of our people.
Another important question: Why didn’t the NAACP celebrate Black Republican winners, especially these three firsts:
First Black U.S. Senator elected from South Carolina to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, Tim Scott.
First Black Republican U.S. Congresswoman elected from Utah to the U.S. House of Representatives, Mia Love.
First Black congressman elected from Texas to the U.S. House of Representatives, Will Heard.
Is the NAACP now the NAACD, National Association for the Advancement of Colored Democrats? I urge NAACP, the Urban League, and other Black organizations to focus on education, jobs, and housing, rather than on their hopes and fears of government and nonprofit bureaucracies. They need to overcome their “failure of nerve” to address the “is world,” not their utopian “wish world,” and translate that into practical and political tasks that serve our community, not just community organization leaders.
We can positively influence education, jobs and housing if both parties work together. Instead, both parties are ignoring us and taking us for granted at election time (Democrats because they get our votes without having to do anything for us, and Republicans because we won’t vote for them).