The New Arithmetic of Black Political Power
President Barack Obama’s reelection confirmed many of the long-seen demographic changes occurring in the United States. The 2012 electorate was younger, more educated, and more racially diverse than any in our nation’s history. The lesson in all this for African Americans is just as profound: be prepared to use the new arithmetic of Black political power or watch it diminish in an increasingly diverse and more resource competitive nation.
First, the Demographics
African Americans comprised 13 percent of the 2012 electorate, the same percentage as 2008; however, the 2012 national electorate and African American electorate were down relative to 2008. There is still room for significant growth. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, there are roughly 26.6 million voting-age eligible African Americans as of 2008; of that number 16.68 million (or 62.7 percent) cast ballots in 2012.
Latinos comprised 10 percent of the 2012 electorate, building on the 2008 total of eight percent. As the largest racial minority in the nation, and with projections indicating that 50,000 Latinos will turn 18 years of age each month for the next 20 years, their political impact relative to their proportion of the nation’s population has not been fully realized.
Whites comprised 72 percent of the 2012 general electorate, down from 87 percent in 1992. The white share of the national electorate has consistently fallen for nearly a generation, from 87 percent in 1992, to 83 percent in 1996, to 81 percent in 2000, to 77 percent in 2004, to 74 percent in 2008, to 72 percent in 2012.
Asian Americans comprise three percent of the 2012 electorate. However, they are America’s fastest-growing ethnic group and are an important and underrated portion of the swing vote in states like Virginia and North Carolina.
Bottom line: With the white share of the electorate in continued decline, the Latino vote not yet solidified, and the Asian American vote still in growth-mode, African Americans are presented with an opportunity to apply political power, not just influence, in the years ahead by picking who wins elections.
Now, the Politics
Conventional wisdom has held that because African Americans comprise a relatively small segment of America’s population, it cannot amass enough political power to make real, lasting, and effective change in some of the areas that still besiege our communities. I disagree. I think the power does exist, but has been unrealized because of low electoral turnout. Early analysis of the 2012 election returns suggest that 2012 election is the first in recorded history in which the African American turnout rate exceeded the white turnout rate. If confirmed, that milestone may well prove to the be launching point for a new arithmetic of Black political power. African American turnout has increased in each of the last four presidential elections. That has great potential for down ballot races and, if continued and coupled with further erosion of the White vote, greater political power for African Americans.
This, then, opens the door to real change on issues ranging from the prison-industrial complex, which warehouses Black men in community-damaging proportions, to access to college which, in an era of diminishing resources, has the power to be the salvation for Black people in America. Utilizing public policy to reroute the pipeline from community-to-prison to community-to-college can only occur with overwhelming electoral turnout that results in the elections of people who will put into practice those policies that reflect our collective ideals. So while African American turnout has been at or near record levels in the last two elections, the post-Obama era will require even greater participation from African Americans, in all elections at all levels, to truly result in change.
This will not be easy. Exercising power, and not just settling for symbols, is difficult. It requires that we sometimes be tough with our friends and punish our opponents. Ultimately, however, African Americans will have to be comfortable with the use of political power for achieving policy ends. Politics without policy change is nothing. Failing that, we will continue to get what we’ve always received.
Michael K. Fauntroy is associate professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of Republicans and the Black Vote. His next book, Attacking Democracy: Conservatism and Black Voter Suppression, will be published in 2014. He blogs at MichaelFauntroy.com and can be followed at Twitter @MKFauntroy.
Note: This essay was originally published in the National Urban League's 2013 State of Black America.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Friday, April 12, 2013
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GOP Outreach is Doomed to Failure
Much has been made of the Republican Party "autopsy" done in the wake of its poor showing in the 2012 national elections. Some party watchers and activists blamed its nominee, Mitt Romney, for their failure to overcome a beatable President Barack Obama, takeover the Senate, or expand its majority in the House of Representatives. As usual, some beat up on their old standby, the media, charging it with the usual indictment that they have it in for the Republicans. The more conscientious among them see poor minority outreach as at least some of the problem. They believe that the key to the hearts and votes of minorities can be found once the party ramps up its outreach, particularly to Latinos and Latinas. While they are right to be alarmed about their abysmal performance among minority groups, they are missing the point if they think it is about outreach. The Grand Old Party's fundamental problem is not outreach. It is policy. As long as the GOP is dedicated to being more conservative today than it was yesterday, then its minority outreach is doomed to failure.
What makes the party so strong among White voters - its militant conservatism - is exactly what hurts it among minority voters. Emphasizing this conservatism has worked well for the GOP. It began moving toward militant conservatism in the 1960s, priming White voters with talk of states' rights and reverse racism. The reward was the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan as president. Continued success only emboldened the Right to push out liberal and moderate voices. The purification is nearly complete and after close to two generations of scapegoating, demonizing, and otherwise vilifying minority voters, the party now stares in the face of a new reality: the old ways won't work in an increasingly diversified nation.
Professor Robert C. Smith's incredible book Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same, reveals the Republican conundrum. If he is correct when he writes that "in no country, none, anywhere, ever can a people be ideologically conservative if they are dissatisfied with the status quo", then it is difficult to see a time when conservatism will ever be attractive to anything other than token numbers of minority voters.
Nearly two generations of Republican stiff arms to the face of minority voters won't be turned around time soon. So far, the party outreach strategy appears to be to find minorities to sell the same failed policies that pushed away millions of potential voters. That is a losing plan. I am confident that current party leaders do not fully understand the hole they are in. After all, they have risen to their positions while defending the policies that put the party in its current predicament. I am equally certain that some elements of the party are perfectly fine with a nearly Whites only GOP. Of course, that faction is ignoring America's racial reality: The Republican Party as we now know it is headed for extinction if it cannot become more competitive in the fight for minority voters. It will not be able to become competitive if it does not turn away from its militant conservatism and adopt policies that minorities can support. Changing faces without changing policies is the political equivalent to moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Michael K. Fauntroy is associate professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of the book Republicans and the Black Vote. His next book, Attacking Democracy: Conservatism and Black Voter Suppression, will be published in 2014. He blogs at MichaelFauntroy.com and can be found on Twitter @MKFauntroy.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Sunday, April 07, 2013
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Part Two: Stop Shedding Tears for Roland Martin
It has been an interesting few days since I wrote about Roland Martin and political punditry. People who have never seen me on television or heard me on radio have called me a handkerchief head, a house nigger, an uppity Negro, an educational elitist, and a few other things that are not fit for print. I am a big boy and can live with the criticism; I know I picked on a sacred voice among some African Americans. One thing this whole episode has reinforced is the importance of tone. I used a lot of hyperbolic language in my original post. I regret that and am sorry about it not just because it is out of my character, but because it obscured the larger, more legitimate point that deserves re-emphasis: Too many non-experts have the microphone and our political media needs a greater emphasis on expertise. We deserve it.
I think it is irrefutable that the public is influenced by media. People say all the time that they think for themselves, but the truth is that thinking is shaped by what one sees, hears, and experiences. All of these factors are impacted by media. So, the political analysts who get the privilege of regular air time also have a responsibility to meet a significantly high entry bar. I am sure many, if not most, of the gatekeepers of American commercial media disagree. I reject the notion that expertise has to be submerged in the quest for ratings. There are numerous experts who can break down complex issues interestingly and succinctly. We should hear their voices.
So what is my threshold? I think it is fair to expect national media political analysts to have at least one of the following in their background: high-level academic training in politics and government; significant campaign experience (strategy, policy, fundraising, etc); relevant employment in government, an important interest group, or a large think tank; or long tenure, perhaps at least a decade, as a daily national political reporter at a major media outlet (covering the White House, Congress, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, national elections, etc). That is my list; I get that others may differ.
I stand by my belief that Roland Martin is an unimpressive political analyst. He is not in the same class as Cornell Belcher, Donna Brazil, Clarence Page, or Eugene Robinson, among others. He is not an expert on any angle of American politics. I have asked him to tell me otherwise. He has been silent, so I think he knows it too. But, to be fair, I must acknowledge that he is a symptom of a larger problem.
I hope we can move from just being happy to see Black people on television saying things we like to hear to assessing their messages to find out if their analyses give us greater clarity on what is going on in the world. We will be better off if we do.
My earlier comments have gotten a fair bit of attention. I’m pretty sure that these less hyperbolic ones will not get as much play. I just hope those who read these words will take a broader view of political media and demand more from our news outlets. More experts. More information. More quality.
Michael K. Fauntroy is associate professor of public policy at George Mason University. His third book, Attacking Democracy: Conservatives and Black Voter Suppression, will be published in 2014. He blogs at MichaelFauntroy.com and can be found on Twitter @MKFauntroy.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
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Stop Shedding Tears for Roland Martin
Update 2: Roland Martin and I have had some interesting exchanges on Twitter. He has responded to quite a bit of points, including those offered by his supporters. However, he won't respond to my question: Do you, Roland Martin, consider yourself an expert on any aspect of American politics? I'll consider his non-response as a "no."
Update: After sleeping on it, I decided to delete the last sentence from the original version of this column. It was gratuitous and unnecessarily harsh. I apologize. My overall premise still stands: Roland Martin is not an expert on American politics and his punditry is unimpressive. He should stick to hosting and leave the analysis to people who know what they are talking about. We, as consumers of political media, should demand more from network decision makers. More experts. More information. More quality.
I got into a back-and-forth on Twitter this past weekend with someone who is a fan of soon-to-be former CNN political analyst Roland Martin. The writer took umbrage with some of my tweets regarding Martin’s departure from the network. My position? Let's resist the urge to make Roland Martin out to be some wrongly aggrieved talking head. He is a marginally knowledgeable loudmouth who was more sizzle than steak. No academic training in politics and government. No significant campaign experience. No experience as a political reporter at a major media outlet; he wrote opinion pieces at CNN. He is lucky to have had his turn. So, to those who are shedding tears following the announcement of his departure from CNN: your time would be better spent applying pressure to the cable networks to put minorities on the air who actually know something about politics and government.
America’s public discourse on politics and government is infested by too many people with thin or nonexistent credentials. They are on television and radio because they're are either well connected, telegenic, or otherwise project the image the network wants you to see; expertise is not at the top of the list of traits. Their exposure gives them a level of popularity that legitimizes their analysis while, concurrently, inoculates them from criticism of their inanity (“they’re on X network, so they must know what they’re talking about”). While Roland Martin is the subject here, he is not the only person I’m thinking about. There are many experts on television, but in political media, those who know are almost outnumbered by those who don’t.
I wonder why we accept this. We wouldn’t listen to a science and technology analyst with no academic or employment history in the fields in which he or she is commenting. We wouldn’t listen to a Wall Street analyst with no academic training in corporate finance or employment as a stock and bond trader. We wouldn’t listen to a medical analyst with no academic medical training or employment. So why should we listen to a political analyst with a similarly thin background? We deserve better from our media. We deserve a political discourse that includes real experts, not just well practiced-talking heads.
Roland Martin is an overrated political analyst. But because there are so few political analysts of color getting serious run on cable news networks, we accepted his inane, somewhat self-promotional pundit routine (And were happy to see a brother on CNN). I hope as we continue to debate where CNN is going after reducing the role of talented people like Soledad O’Brien or not renewing Roland Martin’s contract that we also include discussions about the kinds of backgrounds we want in our political analysts. I also hope the conclusion results in our demanding more of an emphasis on expertise. We can have expertise and personality. We will all be better for it.
And if you’re interested, there is a long list of Black political scientist professors who actually know politics and government. Let me recommend a few (although I could easily give you 50 more names): Michael Leo Owens, Khalilah Brown Dean, Pearl Ford Dowe, Sekou Franklin, Wilmer Leon, Keesha Middlemass, Audra Gillespie, Mark Sawyer, Lester Spence, James Lance Taylor, and David Wilson.
Michael Fauntroy is associate professor of public policy at George Mason University. He holds a Ph.D. degree in political science from Howard University and an undergraduate degree in political science from Hampton University. He served as an analyst at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), where he provided research and consultations to members and committees of Congress. Prior to joining CRS he was a research analyst in civil rights at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights where he developed expertise in voting rights and ballot access issues. He blogs at MichaelFauntroy.com. Twitter? @MKFauntroy
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Monday, April 01, 2013
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New Audio: Michael Fauntroy Discusses “Fiscal Cliff” on NPRs “Tell Me More”
It is always a pleasure to be on NPRs "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin. This is a clip from the Tuesday, December 11, 2012 program in which Ron Christie and I discuss the "fiscal cliff" and other political news.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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New Video: Fauntroy Participates in National Urban League’s Urban Ideas Forum
I recently joined National Urban League (NUL) president and CEO Mark Morial, Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of LaRaza, and Joel Packer of the Raben Group on a panel at the National Urban League's Urban Ideas Forum. We discussed some policy options in the areas of jobs and education. It was an honor for me to join in the discussion. I thank the NUL for inviting me. The event was broadcast by C-SPAN. You can watch the hour long discussion here.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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As Kwame Brown Sentence Shows, Not All Scandals are Scandals
The year 2012 will do down in local political history as the year the progeny fell. Former D.C. City Council members Harry Thomas, Jr., Kwame Brown, and Michael A. Brown all faced public judgement for their transgressions. Two pled guilty in court for crimes they committed; the other, who had as yet fully explaine withdrawals of more than $100,000 in campaign funds, got routed in what should have been an easy re-election bid. These three men, whose rise to political power was owed to their familial links, have obvious commonalities: African American sons of prominent politicos who served on the Council concurrently. It is also true that the relationships that help catapult them to the council created burdens and expectations that they clearly did not meet and, perhaps, could never have met.
Let me be clear: I am not defending them or their actions. They did what they did and I am not interesting in joining a pity party for them. Thomas’ arrogance in particular, built on a foundation of very limited professional accomplishment before joining the Council, was especially galling. They failed to carry the heavy weight of expectations that come from being a second-generation politico in this city and the standard level of professionalism and integrity that we should expect from out elected officials.
However, I know it is not always easy to live up to the expectations that come with familial connections. While you inherit many of your father’s friends, you also inherit all of his enemies some of whom you don’t know have it in for you. It is also more difficult to develop one’s own self when their power is almost entirely derivative of their political connections.
For that reason, it is important to me that we not to paint them with the same brush. Proportion and context are required here. While media coverage and public reaction have been quick to see them all as the same stereotypical corrupt Black politician, there are differences in their transgressions that must be acknowledged.
While the questions hovering around Michael Brown may yet prove otherwise, Thomas’ theft of public money intended for youth enrichment is pretty low. His 38-month prison sentence coupled with three years of probation upon his release signifies the extent of his criminal behavior; prosecutors asked for 46 months imprisonment.
Conversely, Kwame Brown’s crime was really about keeping up with the Joneses. His sentence of one day in custody, 480 hours of community service, and six months home confinement raise a fair question: Was the sentence worth the prosecutorial effort? The prosecutors asked for six days in jail, the kind of sentence that suggests Brown’s misdeeds were not all that they were made out to be.
So as we come to the end of a difficult and embarrassing year for District politics, let us resist the urge to paint all corruption with the same broad strokes. Let us also remember that the people we elect deserve scrutiny beyond just the good feelings that are associated with someone’s relatives. It’s not good for the candidate, or the city.
Michael K. Fauntroy is associate professor of public policy at George Mason University. He is a fourth-generation Washingtonian and a nephew of for former Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Thursday, November 15, 2012
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New Audio: Michael Fauntroy Analyzes President Obama’s Reelection on Tavis Smiley’s Radio Show
Just a few days prior to the presidential election, I joined three other analysts to discuss the campaign and make predictions on who would win. I joined Tavis just after the election to discuss the results and how the President might move forward in his second term. My expectation is that House Republicans will double down on the same tactics which led to the gridlock we saw in the last Congress. The President does have some leverage as he won given some of his clear positions (e.g. letting Bush tax cuts expire). I think the GOP will be hard-pressed to defend the continuance of those cuts, given what they do to the deficit and the fact that the public wants to cuts to expire.
As always, feel free to pass it along to your friends.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Saturday, November 10, 2012
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New Audio: Michael Fauntroy Analyzes Presidential Election on Tavis Smiley’s Radio Show
I enjoyed participating in Tavis Smiley's election roundtable airing this weekend on his radio show (check here for airings in your area). I, along with Deroy Murdock, columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service, Connie Rice, civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Advancement Project, and Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute hashed out the various angles of the presidential campaign.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Saturday, November 03, 2012
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New Video: Mike Fauntroy Previews the VP Debate
Here is a link to my October 11, 2012 appearance on CTV News in Canada in which I preview the Vice Presidential debate.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Thursday, October 11, 2012
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New Video: Michael Fauntroy Analyzes the Presidential Election
Here is a link to my appearance on the September 21st edition of Fox 5 Morning News in Washington, DC. I discuss the Virginia Senate race and the state of the presidential election. Feel free to share as you like.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Friday, September 21, 2012
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Fauntroy Discusses Bill Clinton’s DNC Speech
I'm back from my summer break and happy to share with you some video of my appearance on CTV News to discuss President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Thursday, September 06, 2012
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Steve Smith, Racism, and the Republican Dilemma
Let me stipulate up front that I do not believe all Republicans are racists. I know and know of a number of Republicans committed to fairness and fighting racial, ethnic, and cultural inequality and all of its byproducts. I also do not believe all racists are Republicans. There are a number of third-party’s that espouse racist ideology that are not tied in any way to the Republican Party. However, it appears to me that the evidence is mounting that when faced with a choice between the Democrats and the Republicans, racist candidates for office choose the Grand Old Party.
The latest data point in the Republicans magnetizing hold on American racist politicians comes from Pennsylvania where White nationalist Steve Smith was elected to the Luzerne County Republican Party committee. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Smith co-founded the Keystone State Skinheads, now know as Keystone United, and has a long record of White nationalist activism and participation in neo-Nazi organizations. He was also state party chairman of American Third Party, a White nationalist political party.
While national party leaders would say otherwise, Steve Smith represents a dilemma for the GOP. How the party responds will go a long way toward answering questions about the extent to which it will go to win elections. Why would someone like Steve Smith decide that his political future lie with the Republicans? And what does it say about the Republicans that people like Steve Smith seek its imprimatur AND their voters say yes?
The answer may lie in the Party’s track record on race. It has be trafficking, overtly and covertly, in racial symbolism for nearly a half century. In the 1960s we saw states’ rights, “law and order”, the “silent majority”, and the southern strategy. In the 1970s it was reverse racism, and convincing rural Whites that affirmative action – and not corporate decisions to move jobs to cheaper labor markets abroad – was responsible for their jobs going away and their wages stagnating. In the 1980s it was the Republican apparatus trying to undermine Black civil rights leadership, defund federal civil rights enforcement, veto anti-Apartheid legislation, and produce the racist Willie Horton campaign ad in support of Vice President George H. W. Bush’s successful presidential campaign. That decade closed with the 1989 election of Republican David Duke a White supremacist Ku Klux Klan member to a seat in the Louisiana legislature. The 1990s continued the trend with nuanced voter suppression tactics targeting Black voters. The new millennium saw the Grand Old Party double down on racially targeted crime control policies and continue its push to demonize Mexican immigrants for political purposes. The track record is clear: over the years, the Republican Party has made itself into a far more attractive and hospitable place to Steve Smith and people of his ilk.
It is important not to conflate racism with the Republican brand. However, it is also important for the party, and those who vote for its candidates, to look at itself and wonder why it elects racists. Given the demographic changes afoot in the country, there is no evidence that remaining silent about this growing cancer on the party is a winning strategy going forward. America is browning as African Americans and Latinos comprise an increasing proportion of the nations population. Republican silence only continues to feed the narrative that the party will take the support of racists to win elections.
Michael K. Fauntroy is associate professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of Republicans and the Black Vote. He blogs at MichaelFauntroy.com. Follow him @MKFauntroy.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Wednesday, June 06, 2012
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Michael Fauntroy on “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin
Here is audio from my most recent appearance on NPR's "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin. I, along with Republican activist Lenny McAllister, discussed the political news of the week, including a proposal to reinsert Rev. Jeremiah Wright into this campaign. Many Republicans believe Senator John McCain's campaign erred in not hitting the Wright controversy harder. Put me down as someone who believes, Governor Romney's repudiation of the proposal notwithstanding, we will see a lot of video on Wright as we get closer to November.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Friday, May 25, 2012
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Supporting Obama With “Facts”
I happily voted for Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. I think he is a 180 degree improvement upon his predecessor, a man I think should be indicted for war crimes. However, I am also among those who believe that he has been timid on racial issues and can do more than he has on issues that are of unique importance to African Americans (and don’t give me that “He’s the President for everybody, not just Black people.” I get that, but we’re Americans too). So, as you can imagine, I was interested to see a News One report titled “What Has Obama Done for You Lately?” which offered “a short list of accomplishments that the President has achieved for Black Americans – and everyone else too.”
The list is ridiculous. As a public policy professor, I am a stickler for understanding how government works – and does not. If one of my students presented me with a paper with as many flaws, problematic interpretations, and factual errors, then I would fail him or her on the assignment. Following are the five accomplishments listed by News One and my analysis of their reporting.
“Awarded $1.2 Billion to Black Farmers”
There is disconnect between the sub-heading, which clearly states the President gave $1.2 billion to Black farmers, and the text that followed. The text said that the President’s administration “oversaw the $1.2 billion settlement awarded to Black farmers.” Legal action began in 1996, when 1000 Black farmers filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for discriminatory practices against Black farmers. The original settlement occurred on January 5, 1999, just more than a decade before Barack Obama was inaugurated as President.
Yes, President Obama supported settlement. Yes, the settlement occurred on his watch. But he did not “award” the money. Congress appropriated the money after Federal Court judge Paul Friedman approved the settlement. The President’s signing of the appropriations measure occurred after court and congressional action. At best, it is an overstatement to say the President “awarded” the money. At worst, it is a misunderstanding of the case and how the appropriations process works.
“Expanded Funding for HBCU’s”
As a graduate of Hampton University and Howard University, this issue is close to my heart. The News One article noted that “President Obama signed an executive order increasing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to $850 million over the next 10 years.” Executive Order 13532, signed on February 26, 2010, makes no mention at all of $850 million in increased funding. The funding is actually included in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA), which was signed into law on March 30, 2010. Either way, a simple civics lesson on the federal appropriations process would show that the $850 million may never materialize.
First, the Constitution empowers only Congress with the ability to spend money. No President can simply snap their fingers and spend money. Second, multi-year appropriations such as the 10-year time frame indicated in HCERA require annual action from Congress; they have to vote every year to give, for example, $85 million annually over the length of the funding authorization. Given the austere budget environment in which we now live, coupled with Republican opposition to virtually anything President Obama does, it’s highly unlikely that Congress would put up $85 million every year for ten years.
But let’s say they did and do some math. The executive order identifies 105 HBCU’s. Divide that number into the total “appropriation” of $850 and each institution would receive about $8 million, or about $800,000 annually over the decade. I can attest that every HBCU could use some help, but let’s not jump up and down as if $800,000 per year is a lot of money for HBCU’s, some of which have annual budgets in excess of $100 million. On the surface, $850 million sounds like a lot of money, but when you dig deeper one has to conclude that it’s impact won’t match the hype that heralded it’s announcement.
“Signed the Crack Cocaine Bill (Fair Sentencing Act)”
President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing on August 3, 2010. The law reduced the racist 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing. While that should be applauded, it has to be noted that the new law still legitimizes racism by maintaining an 18:1 disparity. We still don’t have a great answer as to why the administration accepted the disparity, or if they intend to push for its complete abolition. Paraphrasing Malcolm X: we shouldn’t call it progress if 18% of the knife is still in our backs.
“Passed Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act)”
It is indisputable that the Affordable Care Act will benefit millions of Americans, including African Americans. While I support a “single-payer” healthcare system the ACA is certainly an improvement.
“Created the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department”
This is too easy. From the Department of Justice website: “The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.” Future President Barack Obama Obama as born four years later (in Hawaii).
Bottom line: I support the President’s reelection and am all for strong, fact-based arguments on his behalf. I cannot support efforts to conflate his work and make it out to be something that it isn’t. Let’s lead with the facts. Putting up badly done analysis in the name of supporting the President only undermines legitimate arguments that can be made on his behalf.
Michael K. Fauntroy is associate professor of public policy at George Mason University. He teaches courses in American government, civil rights policy, and urban policy. He is a graduate of both Hampton University and Howard University. His third book, Living While Black: Reflections on a Post-Racial America, will be published in early 2013. He blogs at MichaelFauntroy.com and tweets @MKFauntroy.
Posted by Michael Fauntroy on Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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