Commentary: Are Romney and Ryan Bad for Black America?

How the GOP ticket would affect the African-American community.

Posted: 08/20/2012 03:56 PM EDT
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan

Before Paul Ryan joined Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign ticket, the Obama administration was already making a good case for why a Romney presidency would prove disastrous for the African-American community. A President Romney, it was said, would be mostly looking out for people like himself: wealthy, white and male. And Romney didn’t really attempt to deflect that criticism in any substantial way, like when he foolishly went before an NAACP convention and said he’d kill Obama’s health care law.

Now that Ryan is on the ballot, thus skewing the GOP ticket even further into right-wing territory, Obama’s camp is wasting no time in its attempt to hammer home that, this year, it makes sense for African-Americans to vote for him.

In a new email to Obama supporters from Stefanie Brown, the National African-American Vote Director for Obama’s reelection campaign, Brown does not mince words when denouncing Romney-Ryan.

“Their vision for America would be devastating to our community, putting the economic security of millions of families at risk and rolling back major victories we have fought for together,” Brown writes. “Paul Ryan represents the most extreme elements of his party, and by selecting him as his running mate, Romney has doubled down on Ryan’s radical ideology.”

Brown goes on to provide specific examples of what the Obama administration worries will be the real damage of Romney and Ryan in the White House. Nick Chiles at the Atlanta Blackstar writes:

The email appeal does a point by point dissection of the ways Romney-Ryan would hurt African Americans with healthcare, education and the economy:

— Repealing Obamacare could mean 410,000 African American young adults now on their parents’ health insurance plans would be uninsured, and 3.8 million fewer African Americans overall would be covered.

— The Romney-Ryan budget would decimate funding for Head Start and early childhood education, and erase President Obama’s expansion of the Pell Grant program, which helps nearly half of all African-American college students.

— Romney-Ryan would eliminate tax credits that benefit 2.2 million working African-American families in order to implement massive tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

While Brown’s points are well taken, it’s important to recognize that the programs she’s referencing aren't just important to African-Americans. For instance, repealing Obamacare would also put a fair amount of whites, Latinos and Asians at risk of losing their healthcare. Similarly, Pell grants have been a boon for Americans of all races hoping to get a college degree without having to go into too much debt.

Because of her position, Brown wants to primarily highlight the consequences of a Romney presidency on Black people. But let’s not forget that all poor people — a disproportionate number of whom are Black — will probably not fare well under Romney-Ryan either.

 

These views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the BET Networks.

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(Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)


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