The recent Zogby Analytics poll has reported that President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 44%. A quick glimpse at some of the latest headlines should show why this is not a surprise:
- A 2.9% contraction of GDP
- A loss of 533,000 full-time jobs in June as employers continue to hire only part-time workers, a third of which are illegals
- A labor force participation rate of 62.8%, meaning 92 million Americans over 16 not working
- ISIS declaring a caliphate in parts of Iraq, mocking Biden’s 2010 prediction of a “stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government” as one of the administration’s “greatest achievements.”
- A White House orchestrated tsunami of illegal children crashing our southern border and creating an crisis of rapes, murders, child trafficking, and disease.
But as unsurprising as Obama’s lack of popularity is, there was one surprise in that Zogby poll. His approval numbers among African-Americans has dropped 10 points, to 76%
To put this number in context, Barack Obama won 95% of the Black vote in 2008 and 93% of the Black vote in 2012. John Kerry won 88% of the Black vote. Gore won 90% of the Black vote in 2000. Clinton’s percentages were 83% in 1992 and 85% in 1996. In fact, except for Adlai Stevenson winning 61% in 1956, no Democratic presidential candidate since Al Smith of 1928 earned less than 70% of the African-American vote.
Another way to illustrate the significance of a Black president having an approval rating 17 points than the percent he won from Blacks in his last election two years ago and lower than any Democratic presidential candidate in over 80 years is to point out that a 76% approval rating among Blacks makes a Democrat unelectable. As National Review writer Deroy Murdock says, “Securing 15 percent of the Black electorate severely erodes the stalwart Democratic base. If 20 to 25 percent of Blacks vote GOP, it’s curtains for Democrats.”
It would be too much to assume from this Zogby poll that the next Republican presidential candidate will win this 20 to 25 percent of the Black vote, but it does give me reason to be optimistic that this magic number may be in the GOP’s future.
Another reason for optimism is that many African-Americans are aware that the Obama administration has been a failure for African-Americans. Consider Tavis Smiley’s oft-quoted answer to Sean Hannity asking him if Blacks are better off under Obama: “No, they are not. The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, Black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category.”
This is not arguable. For African-Americans, the labor force participation rate, home ownership rate and real median household income are all lower under Obama, while the percentage of African-Americans below the poverty line is higher. Though some still argue that “you have to fish where the fish are biting”, it seems foolish for Republicans to not start expending more energy to reach out to the Black voter.
To a degree we are seeing this happen more often. Although some Blacks may disagree with Rand Paul’s view on drug sentencing reform, or disagree that it should be his primary issue in front of a Black audiences, at least Paul is speaking to them. And as Jason L. Riley of the Wall Street Journal pointed out during African-American Conservative’s interview with him as reprehensible as Thad Cochran’s courting of the Black vote may have been during his recent primary battle, at least he courted the Black vote. His opponent, Chris McDaniel, did not.
Conservatives should not be timid in competing for the African-American vote. They are in a good position to do so. One reason: though recently taunted by the Left as the party of the male, pale, and stale; the GOP (thanks to its “racist wing”, the Tea Party) has had great success in diversifying its ranks, particularly with Black candidates, such as Ben Carson, Allen West, Tim Scott, and Mia Love. Not only are these Black Republicans extraordinary individuals and well qualified for elective office, all are Conservatives who speak to issues that resonate within the Black community; such as Christian values, pro-life, traditional family, jobs, and school choice.
Conversely the Democrats continue to field candidates so aligned with Progressivism that they are often dismissive of the views and the best interest of the people they were elected to represent. No clearer example of this can be found than on the issue of illegal immigration. Despite the negative effect illegal immigration has on the employment and wages of Blacks – including those who live in Texas’ 18th Congressional District – their congressional representative, Sheila Jackson Lee, not only boasted of giving the illegal children currently overwhelming our southern borders lollipops, but has argued that deporting illegals “meets the standard of the Eighth Amendment inhumane and cruel treatment” as well. Oy!
Republicans should not be intimidated by the likes of Representative Lee, or even President Obama, from competing for the Black vote. Instead they should find guidance in the words of Reagan:
The time has come for Republicans to say to Black voters: “Look, we offer principles that Black Americans can, and do, support.” We believe in jobs, real jobs; we believe in education that is really education; we believe in treating all Americans as individuals and not as stereotypes or voting blocs — and we believe that the long-range interest of Black Americans lies in looking at what each major party has to offer, and then deciding on the merits.