Commentary: Obama’s Effort to Shore Up Black Political Support

Commentary: Obama’s Effort to Shore Up Black Political Support

President Obama met with Black business leaders and the chairman of the CBC to discuss jobs. But was it just a political stunt?

Published December 19, 2011

President Obama has not had an easy go of it lately. His poll numbers are declining, and even the Black community, which has always firmly supported the president, is faltering slightly. While 93 percent of African-Americans approved of the job Obama was doing at the start of his presidency, that number has fallen to as low as 79 percent in the last few months, and now hovers around the mid 80s, according to the Gallup Poll.

Though Blacks aren’t historically a numerically impressive slice of the voting bloc when it comes to national elections, they can indeed be a force, and most of them consistently vote Democratic. With that in mind, the Obama administration has of late been doing anything it can to help maintain the relationship the president enjoys with the Black community. The fear isn’t that Blacks will vote for the Republican contender, but that Blacks won’t vote at all. The president needs to reignite the enthusiasm African-Americans had for him in 2008, and he’s pulling out all the stops to try and do so.

On Wednesday, the president met with African-American business leaders and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, to discuss job creation in the Black community. “With African-American unemployment stubbornly resting in the double digits, members of the Caucus believe that it is imperative to have everyone at the table to help find solutions to mend our economy and get Americans back to work,” Cleaver said after the meeting.

No word yet on what Cleaver and Obama decided in their conference, if anything, but it’s nice to see that the president has Black unemployment, which is near 16 percent now, on his radar. What is sad to see is that this meeting is taking place so close to election season, which makes the meeting appear to be a bit of lip service designed to win votes, even if that’s not what it was at all. The president has a right to have these kinds of meetings whenever he’d like, but the Black community has a right to be suspicious of his intentions, too.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Written by Cord Jefferson


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