The number of young black men who cast a vote for the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 tripled that of 2008. Hearing this statistic, one commenter quipped, “Is this one of those situations where three times nothing is still nothing?”
No. “Nearly 20 percent of black males under 30 voted for Romney, more than three times what McCain got.” That according to Ann Coulter, who gets her information from Pew Research.
How? Why? Is there a growing number of young black conservatives?
Those stand as worthy questions. Answering them properly would require follow-up polling. Any number of factors could have informed these votes, which deviate markedly from the wider black community. At large, blacks voted 93% for Barack Obama, making it all the more fascinating to ponder why young black men trended toward the Republican candidate.
While we must wait and see if more comprehensive polling provides answers, likely influences upon the black vote hang ripe for analysis. Generally, it makes sense that the proverbial honeymoon is over. President Obama’s second inauguration cannot be as historic as his first. The novelty of beholding the nation’s first black president has faded over time.
Of course, there must be more to our cited trend than that. If fading novelty were the only factor, we would see the trend across the entire black electorate, and not merely among young black males. What do they see that their elders don’t?
For one thing, blacks fared worse under the Obama administration than in previous years. The Wall Street Journal’s Jason L. Riley confirms:
When the president assumed office, unemployment was 12.7% for blacks and 7.1% for whites. Today it is 14.3% for blacks and 7% for whites, which means that the black-white employment gap has not merely persisted under Mr. Obama but widened.
American Thinker’s Chad Stafko adds:
[A report from the liberal Center for American Progress], released in April, shows more dismal economic conditions in the African-American community. It found that from 2009 through 2011, black minimum wage workers swelled 16.6%, while whites had only 5.2% more minimum wage workers. Not only, then, has there been a disproportionate increase in the number of African-Americans who are in the unemployment line, but there is also a greater number of blacks working for minimum wage. This surely wasn’t the change African-Americans were looking for in Obama.
These results shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, the kind of “change” which the president and his ideological ilk continue to propose ignores the source of value, and thus the source of wealth and prosperity.
Workers of any race can earn only what they are willing to and capable of producing. The motivation and skill of the black community have not been fostered by Obama’s leadership. Stafko continues:
During his nearly four years as president of the United States, Barack Obama could have used the bully pulpit of the presidency to make a real impact on the black community and address the underlying problems within it.
An order of operation leads to economic prosperity. A thriving income requires the production of abundant value, which in turn requires rational action informed by a trained mind. Opportunities for such training tend to allude children born out of wedlock with little to no paternal influence. Stafko reminds us:
- Fewer than 40% of black children live with both parents.
- Black children are seven times more likely to have a parent in prison.
- Over 70% of black babies are born to unwed mothers.
So long as these social problems go unaddressed, truly progressive economic change will dangle beyond the black community’s reach. Informed by a worldview which sees government as the fountainhead of all moral good, civil rights leaders amidst the black community continue to focus on political activism as the means toward elevating black prospects. However, as The Wall Street Journal’s Jason L. Riley documents, political representation does not correlate with economic success:
Today, Asian-Americans are the nation’s best-educated and highest-earning racial group. According to a Pew study released earlier this year, 49% of Asians age 25 and older hold bachelor’s degrees, compared with 31% of whites and 18% of blacks. The median household income for Asians is $66,000, which is $12,000 more than white households and double that of black households. As with other groups, political clout has not been a precondition of Asian socioeconomic advancement.
The election of Barack Obama four years ago gave blacks bragging rights, but bragging rights can’t close the black-white achievement gap in education or increase black labor-force participation or reduce black incarceration rates. A civil-rights leadership that encourages blacks to look to politicians to solve these problems is doing a disservice to the people they claim to represent.
Asians, for their part, can point to an out-of-wedlock birthrate of just 16%, the lowest of any major group and a significant factor in Asian success. The black illegitimacy rate last year was 72%. Might it be that having a black man in the Oval Office is less important for black advancement than having one in the home?
Whether young black males are increasingly cognizant of this reality remains unclear. However, we do know that a large segment of the overall black community self-identifies in categories which tend to advocate for strong families with both a mother and a father.
Not only has Obama failed to address the sorry state of families in the black community, his policy stances actively undermine the family and leave many blacks feeling less secure. Elizabeth Flock of U.S. News & World Report details:
A new study from Washington University in St. Louis finds that under Obama, many black Americans feel less free than whites when it comes to political participation.
The study found that while the election of Obama initially boosted feelings of political empowerment among black Americans, those sentiments significantly faded in the years that followed—especially among conservative and religious blacks.
These two groups make up a large segment of the black population, with 56 percent of blacks identifying as “born again,” and 39 percent of blacks as “somewhat conservative,” according to the study.
The question becomes whether it matters more that your president look like you than think like you. Perhaps such a query informed the young black male vote this year.
Regardless, the reality of the Obama presidency presents an unprecedented opportunity to engage the black community and explore the roots of its political loyalty. How many cycles must pass without marked improvement in the lot of black Americans before they question the methods which their leftist patrons propose? In fact, many minorities and first-generation immigrants do question those methods and are hungry for alternatives.
In recent years, an increasing segment of the conservative community in Minnesota has recognized the need to reach outside the traditional Republican comfort zone and start a conversation with minorities and immigrants about their principles and values. The effort began within the state’s Republican Party, with the blessing and support of then chair Tony Sutton, and was led by former state representative Dan Severson.
Unrelated turmoil within the party undermined the success of that effort, and it was officially scrapped when the cost of employing the staff to support it could no longer be prioritized. Undeterred, Severson continued to develop relationships in minority and immigrant communities. His liaisons cast light upon a reality that starkly contrasts with the mainstream racial narrative. Whether talking with Somali immigrants, Hmong refugees, or multi-generational Americans of any ethnicity, Severson found a shared value of liberty and socially conservative convictions.
After integrating his outreach into a bid for the MNGOP endorsement to challenge Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, Severson has gone on to develop the Minority Liberty Alliance, a non-profit startup poised to expand engagement in minority and immigrant communities while empowering prospective leaders with the training and support necessary to drive truly progressive change. (This author serves on the board.) While it remains a newly incorporated glimmer in its organizers’ eyes, the Minority Liberty Alliance has attracted support from an impressive cross-section of diverse interests. There exists a need in these communities which has gone long unfulfilled.
For black Americans, the advent of an alternative to vampiric institutions which thrive on perpetual black poverty should be welcome news. Leftist non-profit organizations which claim to serve the black community and advocate for “progressive” change succeed only so long as their constituency continues to fail. Were blacks to meet with actual success, become better educated, deeply motivated, and increasingly wealthy, many of these left-leaning non-profits would be out of business. That truth prompts Minneapolis-based conservative activist and black commentator Don Allen to label such groups as “poverty pimps.”
Perhaps further analysis of the 2012 election results will shed a brighter light on whether young black males are tired of getting slapped around by these organizations’ empty promises and false premises. In the meantime, conservative and libertarian activists must dare to venture into minority domains and present a true path to prosperity.
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