Commentary: Social Issues Turn Some Blacks Away From Obama

Barack Obama

Commentary: Social Issues Turn Some Blacks Away From Obama

A few Black churchgoers in the swing state of Ohio say Obama’s liberal social policies have turned them off of him this year.

Published September 10, 2012

A poll in late August claimed that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was going to get zero percent of the African-American vote come Election Day. That poll is wrong, of course, as African-Americans like Condoleezza Rice, Mia Love and Artur Davis — to name a few — have already committed to throwing their support behind Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan. But not just famous Black Republicans are going to be voting Romney in November. According to at least one news report, even some Blacks who voted for Obama in 2008 are thinking of going Romney this year.

In a recent radio story from Ohio, NPR reporter Allison Keyes went to speak to Black voters at a small Baptist church in the town of Girard. Though the church’s small size didn’t allow Keyes to get a very general view of how Black voters are feeling, she was able to tap into a small group of Black voters who have decided they may not vote for Obama because of his liberal social policies.

KEYES: Betty Washington is more concerned with where the nation is headed morally than economically, and that puts her and others here at odds with some of the stances President Obama has taken. Lurie Richardson(ph) is an educator who says she's always supported the Democratic ticket, but she's not so sure she will this time.

LURIE RICHARDSON: As a supporter of President Obama, I am discouraged by his stance on alternative marriage styles.

KEYES: Brian Hughes is still deciding what to do as well. He doesn't support same-sex marriage either, but he works at the General Motors plant near here and says the president saved hundreds of jobs in the area.

BRIAN HUGHES: You can somewhat favor President Obama for what he's done in the auto industry, but there's also other things that he actually does that would raise an eyebrow.

Others told Keyes that they’re considering voting for Romney over Obama because Obama hasn’t done enough to bring jobs to the Black community.

The interviews, with their multitude of reasons to not support the president, fly against all the racism posing as political punditry that says Blacks vote for Obama automatically because of race loyalties. They also call into question what the Blacks being interviewed here in one of America’s most valuable swing states expect to accomplish by voting their morals. Indeed, Romney and Paul Ryan have much more conservative social policies than Obama, who openly supports gay marriage and abortion rights. But a vote for them and their corporate interests might also prove bad for the finances of Black Americans, who are disproportionately poor.

In the end, the question for the Baptists in Girard should be whether preventing gays from getting married is more important than poor people in need of food assistance being able to get food stamps, a program which Paul Ryan wants to slash drastically. Perhaps they’d like to ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?”


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(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)�

Written by Cord Jefferson


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