LOS ANGELES, October 24, 2014 — With two weeks before the mid-term elections, Democrats are scrambling and befuddled. From the missteps of Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky, who three times dodged the question of whether she voted for President Obama; to Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, who was unable to name his favorite books and asked a television host for a “do-over”; to the governor’s race in Texas where State Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign pretty much imploded over a below-the-belt hit ad she released against her wheelchair-bound opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Adding more insult to injury, the Davis campaign began asking spurious questions on Twitter about whether Greg Abbott would support a ban on interracial marriage.
Newsflash: Greg Abbott is married to a Mexican-American woman.
The party’s standard bearer is doing no better. President Obama is flailing. His approval numbers are at 40 percent — a record low for his presidency. From his response to the Ebola crisis, to his misjudgment of ISIS and Syria, to the Secret Service mess, his inconsistent — some would say incompetent — leadership reflects the incompetence that flows from his administration. The fact that the President is either golfing, fundraising, or exhibiting faux outrage over his administration’s fecklessness only serves to make him appear more distant and out of touch with the concerns of the American people.
Many of the mid-term Democrats consider Obama political Kryptonite; while they want him to collect the checks, they do not want to be seen with him on the campaign trail. Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton are the titular heads who candidates want to rub shoulders with and motivate voters. President Obama is persona non grata.
Except with Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, who invited Obama to speak at his rally on Sunday. Brown is running for governor in a state where Obama remains popular. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1, and according to a recent state poll, 98 percent of Blacks still have a favorable view of the President.
The President drew a large crowd, and gave his usual canned speech about fear-mongering Republicans, and how Blacks need to get out the vote. So, why was he unable to keep everyone in their seats?
Reuters reported, “A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.”
Politico and the Baltimore Sun posted similar stories. The Sun managed to insert some snark: “A steady stream of people, meanwhile, left the event shortly after the president began speaking. It was not clear whether they were escaping the gym’s heat — at least one person was carried out by stretcher — or for some other reason.”
People walking out? Hecklers? This would have never happened in 2008, when then-candidate Obama was the the Democratic Party’s messiah. What is even more stunning is that outlets like Reuters and Politico bothered to report it.
Obama’s critics have long known the bloom is off the rose. When anyone brings this up, cries of racism, hatred, and the epithet of “TeaPublican” are often applied. But the very traits that conservatives and other thinking individuals warned about — the inexperience, the lack of appreciation for America and its founding principles, the empty suit full of canned platitudes without any real action plan — were ignored for years. A majority of Americans carried Obama through two elections, happily riding the “Hope and Change” and “Forward” Expresses until they crashed, creating the wreckage of domestic and foreign policy we are saddled with today.
The dwindling approval numbers merely reflect the decreasing support from the staunchest members of the base. First were the Millennials who, along with Blacks, put Obama over the top. Their undoing was Obamacare being paid for on their backs, and Edward Snowden and the NSA wiretapping scandal. The anointed one who was to usher in a different kind of government turned out to be just another political stooge, and the youngsters showed their disappointment by opting out of Obamacare and refusing to show up at the voting booth.
Women were next in line to leave. The ridiculous “War on Women” has backfired spectacularly. An administration that pays females 87 cents on the dollar compared to what they pay their male counterparts hypocritically tried to distract women with the usual tropes of abortion and contraception. It is as though they think women are obsessed with their body parts, and do not have greater concerns, like whether they will actually have a job that pays anything, or whether they will be able to get proper health care with high Obamacare premiums and deductibles.
On Monday, Tina Brown, founder of The Daily Beast, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program. Asked why Obama is losing support among women, she said, “I think that particularly for women. I don’t think it makes them feel safe. I think they’re feeling unsafe. Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they’re feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody.”
Tina Brown has pegged him well. Too bad she didn’t have this much insight in 2008 or 2012.
The last holdouts are Blacks, and Democrats are once again focusing on their “ace-in-the-hole” base to get them through the November mid-terms. However, they may be miscalculating their ability to influence minority turnout with no central Black politician on the ballot.
A New York Times article breathlessly outlined the importance of getting Blacks to turn out for the mid-terms if Democrats are to hold the Senate. The article points out two problems: 1) Historically, Blacks tend not to show up for midterm elections, and 2) Obama is not on the ballot. “Black voters made history in 2012, exit polling and census data show, when they turned out at a rate higher than whites to help re-elect Obama. But fewer voters go to polls in midterm elections. In 2010, a disastrous year for Democrats, blacks voted at a rate lower than whites, creating a ‘turnout gap.’”
President Obama pointed this out in his Maryland speech, but if the walkouts are any indication, rallying Blacks to come out and vote when Obama isn’t on the ballot will be a flop. Perhaps Blacks are finally waking up to the fact that voting for a party that promises to protect welfare entitlements, but delivers little else in the way of actual employment, advancement, or economic gain is a losing proposition. Black unemployment has hovered between 11 and 12 percent for the last six years of Obama’s presidency, far above the 5 percent unemployment rate for whites. Black youth unemployment is close to 20 percent.
Protests and marches of solidarity with Attorney General Eric Holder and Al Sharpton are Band-Aids that do little to rebuild Black neighborhoods, stop Black crime, or produce jobs that would go further than handouts in reducing poverty. This is neither hope nor change, but bait and switch.
So will Blacks allow themselves to be used again this election? November 5 will tell the tale.