A+ R A-

News Wire

Blacks Key to Obama's Victory

E-mail Print PDF

By Freddie Allen
NNPA Washington Correspondent

WASHINTON (NNPA) – Despite efforts in some states to suppress the Black vote and predictions that African-Americans would not turn out at the rate they did in 2008, Blacks overcame all obstacles and were key to Obama’s re-election to a second term, an analysis of voting data shows.

Exit polls show that 93 percent of Blacks voted for Obama this year, down slightly from the 95 percent rate in 2008. But voting for all groups was down this year compared with the presidential election four years ago.

Obama carried every age bracket by at least 90 percent, but there was a gender gap among African-Americans, with 96 percent of Black women voting to re-elect the nation’s first Black president and only 87 percent of men supporting Obama. Four years ago, there was only a one-point difference separating the two groups, with women giving Obama 96 percent of their vote, compared with 95 percent for Black men.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney received only 6 percent of the Black vote, which was 2 percent higher than John McCain in 2008 but less than 11 percent achieved by George Bush in 2004 when he defeated John Kerry.

“The African American vote was crucial for President Obama in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia,” said David Bositis senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the battleground state of Ohio 50 percent to 48 percent. Blacks, who increased their share of the electorate from 11 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2012, gave 96 percent of their vote to President Obama, providing him with more than his cushion of victory.

Blacks also provided with Obama more than his margin of victory in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia, all battleground states and all carried by Obama.

Obama also won 71 percent of the Latino vote, compared with 27 percent for Romney; McCain got 32 percent of the Latino vote in 2008, which was less than the 43 percent Bush received in 2004.

The Latino vote was credited with carrying Obama to victory in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. His showing among Latinos was an improvement over the 66 percent share he won four years ago.

Romney won 59 percent of the White vote, compared with 39 percent for Obama, but that was not enough to overtake Obama’s progressive coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, unmarried women and low-income voters.

“[The 2012 presidential election] will be the last campaign where one of the major parties seeks to get elected solely with the White vote,” said Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Speaking at a post-election briefing on “The Impact of the African American Vote on the 2012 Presidential Election,” Bositis said that this election was a clear showing that the country is a now a multiracial, multi-ethnic country.

After losing to a president presiding over high unemployment and a sluggish economy, Republicans have been engaged in some public soul-searching, realizing that they must broaden their appeal if they want to remain competitive in national politics.

Where Republicans have effectively abandoned opportunities to appeal to Black voters, the Democratic Party effectively mobilized African Americans to combat voter suppression efforts in battleground states said Lorenzo Morris, chair of the Political Science Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“Blacks will continue to support the Democratic Party at high levels and they were definitely supportive of Obama, but I doubt that we would have seen the same level of turnout had other issues not mobilized Black voters during the election,” said Morris.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver suggested that overtly racist remarks by Republicans also fueled the heavy Black voter turnout.

Cleaver pointed to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) comparing the president to “a tar baby” in 2011, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouting “you lie!” during President Obama’s 2009 speech on health care before a joint session of Congress, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) calling for a “great white hope” for the Republican Party.

“That’s the stuff that kept Romney’s numbers low and that will keep the next Republican nominees numbers low,” said Cleaver. “What they will have to do when people make those statements is say, very openly and publicly, ‘We don’t want you in our party.’”

But that hasn’t happened. Instead former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a top Romney surrogate, described the president as “lazy” and charged for former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Obama only because both are Black, a comment Sununu later retracted.

Although several highly visible Latinos have been mentioned as possible presidential candidates in 2012, Congressman Cleaver said it will take more than a few Spanish-speaking candidates to alter the GOP’s direction.

Cleaver said that African Americans and Latinos should form strong political ties because it’s clear that they control the outcome of elections in certain states, including many of those deemed pivotal in winning presidential elections.

The universal support Obama saw among Black voters on Nov. 6, does not mean he will get the kind of pass he received his first term on issues important to African-Americans. In fact, Cleaver was widely criticized during Obama’s first term for saying: “If we had a White president, we’d be marching around the White House.” He said had Hillary Clinton defeated Obama and won the presidency, for example, he would have told her, “My sister, I love you, but this has got to go.”

Cleaver hinted that Obama might not be as lucky his second term, when he won’t have to run for re-election.

The Kansas City congressman said, “[Blacks] are enormously committed to President Obama and loyal to him, but many of them have complained about the deficit in attention.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Unveils New Art Exhibit: 'A Walk Through Atlanta History'

E-mail Print PDF

Special to the NNPA from the Atlanta Daily World

Travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport now can explore eight decades of Atlanta’s past in “A Walk Through Atlanta History,” a unique, multimedia exhibit in the Transportation Mall between concourses B and C.

Aviation officials recently hosted a ceremony to dedicate the exhibit, which highlights several prominent Atlantans — such as former mayors Shirley Franklin, Andrew Young and Maynard H. Jackson Jr. — who played important roles in shaping the city’s history. The exhibit features large wall murals, brief videos and reader rails that highlight key periods, milestones and events.

“Hartsfield-Jackson is proud to present this visual time capsule to the world,” said Aviation General Manager Louis Miller.

“It allows travelers and art enthusiasts to trace Atlanta’s history from its humble beginnings to its emergence as an international city.”

The exhibit covers eight time frames: the pre-Colonial era through 1840; the first train stop in Atlanta; the Civil War and the Battle of Atlanta; Reconstruction and the rebuilding of Atlanta into a commerce hub; the rise of the Sweet Auburn district; Mayor William B. Hartsfield’s achievements; Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement; and Atlanta’s entry onto the global stage.

Filmmaker and exhibit creator Gary Moss envisioned an enjoyable, educational experience for people of all ages. “I was surprised to find a story as rich, poignant and ultimately inspiring as anything that I had traveled far to find,” Moss said.

Black Cubans Still Suffering from Hurricane Sandy

E-mail Print PDF

Some say assistance given to white Cubans first, little for Blacks

By José Pérez
Special to the NNPA from The Miami Times

For centuries, Santiago de Cuba has been a loud and lively city nestled at the foot of mountains that meet the Caribbean Sea. Birthplace of people like Desi Arnaz, Rita Marley, and Afro-Cuban military genius Antonio Maceo, Santiago and its residents are always vibrant. It is because of this that a walk around the densely-populated city in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy indicated that something was very wrong. “Santiago is wrapped in a deafening silence of despair,” said Dr. Alberto Jones of the Caribbean American Children’s Foundation, who grew up in nearby Guantanamo and had been in Cuba visiting family and friends when the killer storm hit.

What Jones witnessed in Santiago was not limited to Cuba’s second city. He describes what he saw in places like Songo, La Maya, and Guantanamo as “horrifying, devastating, and unbelievable.” Describing the damage inflicted on Eastern Cuba as “massive,” Jones added that “hundreds of roads are blocked and overflowing rivers have washed away railroad tracks and bridges” in the area. Jones notes that 90 percent of Santiago’s residents are Black Cubans.

Ventura Figueras Lores, a reporter in Guantanamo, said that, despite obstacles, “chlorine and other disinfecting products to purify water for human consumption” are being distributed for free through the Cuban government’s pharmacy network. Both men point out that rebuilding efforts are already underway. Even nontraditional workers like older adults and children are involved with the process, says Jones.

His wife, Sylvia Jones, says such a proactive approach to hurricanes is nothing new for Cubans.

“Cuba has the best record in the Caribbean as far as casualties after storms are concerned,” she said. “Everyone knows where to go, what to do. And they don’t wait for you to evacuate — they come and pick you up.”

Death still strikes

In light of that, the Joneses and many others were devastated by the news that 11 people in Cuba alone were killed because of the storm.

“There are tens of thousands of roofless or windowless homes, schools, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, daycares and cultural centers that were partially or totally destroyed,” Jones added. “It is simply heartbreaking.”

“Here, despite all of the adversity is a real human hurricane,” Figueras said.

He explained that this “human hurricane” is evident by “the people along with the authorities rushing into affected areas with help despite the scarcity of resources.”

But while volunteers have been going into Eastern Cuba to aid with the recovery, more help is clearly needed.

“We are asking every concerned and caring individual to open their hearts,” said Jones, who has spent more than 20 years directing humanitarian efforts in Eastern Cuba from his home in Northeast Florida.

Mrs. Jones says they must “get the word out,” for the need for help for Black Cubans who often do not benefit from the remittances that Cubans in the U.S. (many of whom are white) send to their relatives on the island.

To Shop Digitally or Not

E-mail Print PDF

By Cheryl Pearson-McNeil
NNPA Columnist

Last year, when my favorite bookstore closed its doors forever, I actually sat in the car and shed a tear. Not as many tears when the record store closed. And I haven’t even stepped foot into a brick and mortar travel agency in more than 10 years. But, has anyone noticed that these once stable sources for browsing, longing and dreaming have gone by the wayside? What? You didn’t dream of saving 15 paychecks to take that trip to Tahiti when you were in a bookstore or travel agency? Or didn’t enjoy browsing through genres of music you’d never heard of before when you were in a record store, just because the choices were there and you could? These bastions of enterprise are now but all obsolete. Thanks in large part to e-commerce.

How do you feel about that?

According to Nielsen, online shopping for consumer packaged goods (CPG) – grocery related products, such as food, or staples like diapers, cotton balls and coffee, and health and beauty products – is the fastest-growing e-commerce option, and expected to grow 25 percent annually through 2015. Now that’s fast, especially considering digital shopping accounted for just 2 percent of total CPG sales in 2011, with less than 4 percent of Americans buying CPG products online in any given month. But, not to worry, while CPG e-commerce is growing fast, according to the findings of Nielsen’s newest in-depth analysis, Digital Shopping, What You Need to Consider, “clicks will not be replacing bricks” anytime soon, making it more of an evolution than a revolution.

Personally, other than buying books, I love shopping online because it requires minimal time and effort; and can be done in the comfort of my own home, car (while waiting for my son’s basketball practice to end) or wherever I might be. How about you? Do you prefer virtual shopping or brick-and-mortar? Both options fulfill these requisites in their own way and offer benefits and drawbacks.

Nielsen’s Digital Shopping report confirms that CPG e-commerce benefits include:

  • Avoiding crowded stores/checkout
  • Easy price comparisons
  • Access to deals and coupons
  • Broader product range
  • Access to more retailers
  • Features like automatic replenishment
  • Ease of research
  • Readily available human online help

If you have a headache, would you rather order your pain reliever online or run to the store for aspirin? Physical retailers offer instant gratification:

  • No waiting for delivery
  • Easy to address immediate or special needs
  • No shipping fees or stiff return policies
  • No inspection barriers (we can see, feel and smell our choices)
  • Exposure to promotions, sampling and signage
  • Ease of interacting with, evaluating and selecting products
  • Interaction with store associates

It’s interesting to note that based on the analysis of 18 product categories, the mix of product sales in e-commerce is 60 percent non-food to 40 percent food; while the exact reverse is true of the total CPG picture, which is 60 percent food and 40 percent non-food. The leading categories in online sales are diapers; diet aids; vitamins; skin care products and pantry staples like coffee; cereal; dog food and toilet paper; with categories such as carbonated beverages; dairy; liquor; beer; produce and frozen food having the smallest sales. Makes sense as refrigeration, perishables , weight and other factors come into play, making shipping cost-prohibitive.

The opportunities for brick-and-mortar retailers to reach out to consumers online are rich, barely-mined territory. Many, who might have been skeptical of e-commerce, are now making it a strategic goal. For instance, some retailers are appealing to shoppers who don’t have time to make grocery trips and aren’t crazy about long lines or crowded parking lots. In some instances, consumers can order online or from an app on connected devices; then pick up the item(s) in-store at a convenient time. (Don’t you love it?)

With our community’s projected purchasing power approaching $1.1 trillion by 2015, we are critical contributors to this growing shopping trend and marketers are responding accordingly. So, as you prepare to purchase items for your Thanksgiving dinner and other CPG items to make your holidays bright, remember you have the power – either online or in-person. Use it wisely.

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com

NAACP Poll Details Massive Black Voter Turnout

E-mail Print PDF

What Enthusiasm Can the Democrats and Republicans Expect in 2016?

By Zenitha Prince
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

Exclusive polling by the NAACP on election eve examined the role of Black voters in the 2012 presidential election and offered a glimpse into the political mindset and future of African-American voters.

“This data underscores the decisive role we played in key battleground states,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP in a statement.

In the key states of Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia, African-American support for President Obama ranged from 92-99 percent. And Black voters comprised between 12 percent to 33 percent of the vote in the respective states. “We turned out in every place that mattered,” Jealous told the AFRO in a post-election interview.

The polls also belied the pre-election narrative that Blacks were no longer enthusiastic about an Obama White House. Ninety-three percent of the survey’s respondents said they remained enthusiastic about President Obama while 79 percent said they are “very enthusiastic.”

However, in 2016, when Obama is out of the picture, Black support enthusiasm for a Democratic candidate is less certain. Only 47 of respondents were “very enthusiastic” for a Democrat candidacy and 14 percent said they are more likely to vote for a Republican in the future if the candidate has civil rights issues on their agenda.

“It reveals opportunities for the GOP to improve its relationship with our community, and suggests the Democratic Party should not assume it will see the 2008 and 2012 levels of Black turnout in 2016,” Jealous stated.

Still, if the GOP is to gain a stronger foothold within the Black electorate, it would need to revise or better communicate its stance on key issues, particularly civil rights concerns. Fifty-four percent of respondents said Republicans “don’t care at all about civil rights,” while another 32 percent think the party “just says what minorities want to hear.”

The Democratic Party got higher ratings on civil rights advancement and on other items on the Black agenda. African Americans seem to trust Democrats more than Republicans to address issues such as jobs, education and economic opportunity, including poverty, public education, healthcare, and creating jobs.

The NAACP battleground poll, conducted by Pacific Market Research, interviewed 1,600 African American voters who had already voted, or were certain to vote in the Nov. 6 election. The margin of error was 2.5 percent overall and 4.9 percent in each state.

Page 163 of 365

BVN National News Wire