Barack Obama cannot be reelected without the black vote and it appears there is some doubt that voting bloc will come through for him as they did in 2008. In 2008, for the first time in history the percentage of black citizens who voted was higher than that of the general population, outpacing all Americans by 2.6% There can be no doubt the reason for this was the presence of a black nominee on the ballot. Being black is what got him elected, with 96% of the black vote going to Obama.
Obama won the largest share of white support of any Democrat in a two-man race since 1976. Four years later, he is polling in around 40 percent of white voters, which would be a historic low for a winning candidate if he’s reelected. No Democrat has won the white vote since 1964. With such a huge drop off in white support Obama will need to have the black vote deliver another high turnout with almost 100% going to him. Will that happen? It’s not looking good for Obama.
There is one major issue that is driving a wedge of doubt into the black vote. Specifically, the black Christian vote. That issue is Obama’s support for gay marriage.
An Associated Press article outlines the wavering of black Christians.
“When President Obama made the public statement on gay marriage, I think it put a question in our minds as to what direction he’s taking the nation,” said the Rev. A.R. Bernard, founder of the predominantly African-American Christian Cultural Center in New York. Bernard, whose endorsement is much sought-after in New York and beyond, voted for Obama in 2008. He said he’s unsure how he’ll vote this year.
The Rev. George Nelson Jr., senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, participated in a conference call with other African-American pastors the day after Obama’s announcement during which the ministers resolved to oppose gay marriage. Nelson said Obama’s statement had caused a “storm” in the African-American community.
CNSNews.com also had an article showing black Christian support for Obama is in trouble.
The Coalition of African American Pastors announced at the National Press Club on Tuesday that the grassroots group – comprised of the more than 3,000 members – is launching a national campaign to support marriage between one man and one woman and to oppose the Obama administration’s efforts to advance same-sex marriage.
“The time has come for a broad-based assault against the power that be that wants to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women,” CAAP President William Owens said at the press conference, held to announce the Marriage Mandate campaign, which includes a petition seeking 100,000 signatures pledging support for traditional marriage.
“Mr. President, I’m not going to stand with you, and there are thousands of others across this country that are not going to stand with you with this foolishness,” Owens said.
In a press release announcing the campaign, Owens encouraged black pastors and the black community to “withdraw their support for Obama.”
“Today we will be launching a nationwide campaign rallying black pastors and African Americans to voice their opposition to the president’s position on same-sex marriage, and withdraw their support from him,” said Owens, who told reporters he voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
“We will see that the black community is informed that the president is taking them for granted while pandering to the gay community,” Owens said.
“The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) consists of 3,742 African American pastors, and he has totally ignored us,” Owens said.
He said Obama is ignoring the black community “because he feels that he has us in his pocket.”
“Well, we are not in his pocket,” Owens said.
It appears that Republican nominee Mitt Romney is not writing off the black vote as George W. Bush did. Bush declined invitations to speak to the NAACP convention during most of his presidency, but Romney accepted, speaking to the group in July this year. Perhaps Romney sees the gay marriage issue as an opportunity to court just enough of the black vote to boot Obama from the White House. Romney was booed when saying he’d repeal Obamacare, but I’ve read that he did gain some respect for showing up to speak and not referring to blacks as “you people” as Ross Perot did when addressing the convention in 1992.
There can be no doubt that Obama will get the vast majority of the black vote. But, even if he gets the same percentage of the black vote, the turnout is the key. Without the same or higher turnout of black voters, his reelection chances are greatly diminished. He is taking the black vote for granted, assuming he can ignore their values and still get their support because of his skin color. Some of the black community are wise to his attitude and don’t like it. If they vote for Romney instead, or simply stay away from the polls, Obama will be calling the movers next January.