A quick quiz before you cast your ballot on Tuesday.
1. Did you know that gas prices are at their lowest level in four years?
2. Did you know unemployment has reached a six-year low?
3. Did you know the number of people without health insurance has dropped 25 percent?
4. Did you know the U.S. economy just recorded its strongest six-month period in 10 years?
5. Did you know the stock market closed at a record high a few weeks ago?
6. Did you know corporate profits hit a record high last year?
7. Did you know the manufacturing industry is now on its fastest pace of job growth since the 1990s?
8. Did you know the federal deficit is lower than the annual average for the past 40 years?
9. Did you know the U.S. is less reliant on foreign oil than it's been in a decade?
10. Did you know our country is experiencing its longest streak of private sector job growth in history?
You might not know any of these things if you listened to much of the rhetoric on the campaign trail this year. That's because Republicans continue to spread a message that the Obama administration has been a failure while Democrats haven't fought hard enough to correct the narrative. A few Democratic candidates even refused to acknowledge they voted for the unpopular President Obama, who wouldn't be so unpopular if they grew a spine and started defending his successful record.
Yet if Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress next Tuesday, you can say goodbye to any hopes of advancing a progressive agenda for years to come. We'll see more votes to repeal Obamacare, more efforts to curtail voting rights for African-Americans and Latinos, and more legislation to take away a woman's right to choose. We may even see a renewed effort to impeach President Obama.
What we won't see is any movement to increase the minimum wage, any effort to stop the spread of guns in our communities, or any laws to guarantee equal pay for women. That's because Republicans oppose all those things.
If Republicans win, we'll become a more divided country with more complaints about Blacks taking away white people's jobs through affirmative action, gays destroying traditional marriage and "illegal immigrants" bringing in Ebola. We'll hear more phony arguments about voter fraud and see more bogus congressional hearings on Benghazi. And good luck to President Obama trying to get a progressive Supreme Court justice through a GOP-controlled Senate.
White men "will do great" with Republicans in charge, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham boasted this week. He later claimed he was joking, but we all know the truth. Even if Republican leaders wanted to help the Michael Browns or the Trayvon Martins of the world, their right-wing base wouldn't let them. And so we'll end up with more fearful white people, more guns aimed at Black people and more Fergusons.
It's tempting, and accurate, to blame the Democrats themselves for their predicament, but this alone abdicates our responsibility to make change. Our votes matter. In several key battleground states, including Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina, African-American voters could sway the outcome of the election and thus determine control of the Senate. That leads us to one final but critically important bonus question for our election week quiz.
11. Did you know your vote could decide the future of the Obama presidency?
Keith Boykin is a New York Times best-selling author and former White House aide to President Clinton. He attended Harvard Law School with President Barack Obama and currently serves as a TV political commentator. He writes commentary for BET.com each week.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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