Will African Americans Vote For Obama Because He’s Black?
Clinton got 83 percent of the black vote in 1992 and 84 percent in 1996; the third-party candidate Ross Perot probably sliced away some of Clinton’s black support. Al Gore got 90 percent in 2000; John Kerry got 88 percent in 2004. Obama captured 95 percent in 2008, and 2 million more black people voted than in the previous election…
Sherrilyn Ifill (pictured), a law professor at the University of Maryland, wrote a column last week exploring why so many black voters are rejecting Romney. She said it has less to do with the candidate than with his party’s treatment of Obama, such as John Sununu calling the president “lazy” after the debate, a congressman shouting “You lie!” during the State of the Union address, claims that Obama is not a citizen and more.
In an interview, Ifill said that for black voters, such accusations feel like white people are attacking their own dignity. “In essence,” she says, “they are closing ranks around Obama.”
She noted that women were justifiably moved by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s candidacy and Catholics flocked to the polls to elect President John F. Kennedy. Comparing black pride in Obama to white pride in Romney is a “false symmetry” because of the history of black oppression, she says, and she asked for patience from America at large.
“There should not be this resistance to pride over the first black president,” Ifill says. “If we get to the fifth one, I’ll be with you.”