When history reflects on the 2008 Presidential Election, Black Americans will be exposed as voters dominated by Groupthink, and feelings of reverse racism that made them support Barack Obama over John McCain in ratios of up to 94 to 1. It’s not that Obama shouldn’t be winning a majority of the Black Vote (indeed he should), but the sheep-like support of Senator Obama demonstrates the accepted reality that MANY Blacks (not all) are giving their vote to an individual based on his race and race alone. Maybe as victims of hundreds of years of racism and bigotry this is the payback Black Americans deserve, but John McCain deserves better for the simple fact that the Senator from Arizona has fought for the freedoms which Blacks and all Americans enjoy today. For those of you skeptical of my premise explore the numbers.
Black Voter Support in 2008 General Election (10/2/2008)
Obama 94% – McCain 4% – Undecided 6%
Black Voter Support in 2008 Democratic Primary
Obama 89.3% – Clinton 6% – Other 3.7%
Black Voter Support in 2004 General Election
Bush 13% – Kerry 86% – Nader 0%
This election shows Obama getting the largest percentage of the Black American Vote since Lyndon Baines Johnson received 95% of Black votes during his 1964 campaign against Arizona Republican Barry Goldwater. So the volume of support in this election from Blacks (to Obama) isn’t unprecedented, but the reality is Goldwater is no John McCain. McCain has fought against bans on interracial dating, supported Affirmative Action for specific programs (although he opposes quotas), and has passed legislation abolishing pay discrimination against minorities. John McCain also gets it right on issues pollsters say Obama and Blacks are at odds over. Sen. McCain is against Gay Marriage, is pro-life, and supports programs that address infant mortality in Black neighborhoods. Yet the numbers show George W. Bush received 300% the support amongst Black Voters in comparison to Sen. McCain–and to be sure George W. Bush’s record on Black Issues is far from stellar in comparison to Sen. McCain. In fairness, McCain has been criticized by Blacks for opposing MLK Day in 1983, limiting Affirmative Action in his home-state of Arizona, and his tax policy which leaves low income Blacks severely empty handed.
Barack Obama is a great candidate for Black Americans. For the first time in American History, Blacks have the opportunity to cast a vote for an individual who shares their ancestry and struggle of being Black in America. Blacks are partly energized because their support may lead to the White House regularly extending invitations to journalists from Essence, Ebony, and BET which serve their interests. Many civil rights activists have claimed an Obama election will be a realization of MLK’s Dream, and the beginning of the end to racial healing in America. All of this may be well and true, but it still does not justify or explain the almost total support for Sen. Obama by Black Americans. Other minority groups have had candidates of their race run for public office at the local, state, and federal levels and their support for the candidate with mutual ethnic ties has never bordered on Obamamania. Consider this, Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson of Hispanic decent, did not receive a majority of Latino voters over Senators Obama and Clinton in the Democratic Primaries. Richardson was the first ever Latino running for President, and his candidacy represented extreme pride for Hispanics nationwide, but the Governor failed to capture Obama-like support amongst “his people”.
The 2008 Presidential Campaign will be remembered as a historic election no matter the outcome. We’ve seen a former first lady, a Black American, the first Hispanic American, and first Republican female Vice Presidential Candidate all vie for the support of the American people. The American electorate is more involved in this campaign than any Presidential campaign in recent memory, but the 2008 race will forever be marred by the memories of racial bias and favoritism Black Americans showed toward Senator Obama. An election that was supposed to signify racial healing will probably cause unprecedented amounts of racial backlash once the afterglow of Obamania has worn off and people explore exactly how this man was ushered in by a large percentage of racially motivated Black voters. Racism in American will never disappear until the victims and perpetrators alike disavow treating people based on the pigment of their skin. It’s extremely disheartening to see Black voters forgetting their own message.