Black Americans voted with their feet in the 2010 midterm elections: they stayed home in record numbers and were one of the biggest reasons Democrats lost a record number of seats. Nor should anyone be surprised why so many Blacks decided to sit this one out. Black American voters may be becoming increasingly disillusioned with government, disillusioned with President Obama and his promises of job creation, disillusioned with his promises of change. And so they stayed home, a statistic supported by a recent CBS News report that cites lower turnout in most minority segments of the U.S. population than in 2008, but especially within the Black community.
But why is this surprising? Consider: unemployment is greatest among African Americans, with the Bureau of Labor (BLS) statistics reporting in Table A-2, unemployment of 29% for Black American adults. It is interesting to note that this recent mid-term election also saw a downswing in the number of newly registered Black American voters/students voting for the first time. But, if you consider that BLS reported that for Black Americans between the ages of 16-19, the unemployment rate is a stunning 48%, this kind of disenchantment with an administration that promised so much, but delivered so little, should be expected.
Less appreciated and not yet fully understood is the growing African American small business community. These Black Americans, often women and highly educated, are a very entrepreneurial segment of the population that have been hurt by Obama’s anti-small business policies and the hostility to business that emanates from senior Democrats in Congress. Furthermore, legislation such as healthcare reform, financial reform and the small business jobs creation act, championed by the old guard of the Democrat party, actually placed additional cost and time burdens on minority businesses. The uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Bush tax credits also affects the African American business community as it becomes hard for these businesses to plan for future growth.