Reflections on the 2014 Midterm Elections

I wish we could select winning lottery numbers as accurately as we anticipated the Republican sweep in the midterm elections. The strategic objective of the Republican Party was to make the elections a national referendum on the policies and leadership of President Obama.

Rather than stand and fight on these issues, the Democratic National Committee decided to run away and decouple their reelection campaign from the very visible, 24/7 presence of President Obama. This was their "playbook" for holding or increasing Democratic Party seats in the House and Senate. How did that work out?

The not-so-subtle abandonment of President Obama fractured, confused and potentially alienated important core constituencies of his election base. Why didn't more Democratic candidates for Congress and the governorships of various states acknowledge the initial failures of the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act but then defend the historic change it accomplished in providing health care for an unprecedented number of previously uninsured persons?

Why didn't Democratic candidates preempt the discussion about some of the failures and improper care for veterans by indicating that the president moved decisively to address this issue? Why didn't they point to his administration being proactive in protecting our country from Ebola?

Yes, we have heard and read complaints about President Obama's "indecisive leadership" in foreign policy. But much of our problem and dilemma in the Middle East today is a consequence and byproduct of the "decisive" preemptive military "leadership" of former President George W. Bush. Almost a trillion dollars later, we are still dealing with Bush's foreign and military policies in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

We believe the immorality of the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay and revelations about the current extent of domestic surveillance and invasion of the privacy of American citizens has undermined support for President Obama among a significant segment of his proactive political election base.

As for his "leadership," President Obama and his "style" of executive management were tested early on in his presidency. He had an ideal opportunity to send a special message to the Republican Party opposition during his first State of the Union Address. When a Republican congressman from South Carolina, Rep. Joe Wilson, interrupted Obama's address by shouting, "You lie!" the president should have stopped his speech and requested that the Sergeant at Arms in Congress remove Congressman Wilson from the chamber. This action by President Obama would have sent the message early on that "You don't f**k with me. I am the president of the United States, whose office you will respect!"

Our personal, loving criticism of President Obama's executive management style is that he has elevated conciliation to almost the exclusive art form of political negotiation, subordinating or excluding a sometimes-needed style of taking names and kicking butt, or at least sending a message that he is ready, willing and able to do so.

Members of President Obama's potential voting base of support within the African-American community of civic, neighborhood and organizational leaders need to have a "Come to Jesus" meeting, state by state, where we reside in significant numbers.

It is absolutely outrageous, morally reprehensible and politically self-destructive for only one third of eligible African-Americans voters to actually show up at the polls to vote, on average.

Those African Americans and others who want to shout and jump up and down and demonstrate against, for example, police misconduct in Fergerson or elsewhere but, when it comes time to vote, don't do so might as well keep their mouths shut and throw down their placards of protest. The only effective political protest is the exercise of the power of their voting franchise.

Yes, I know there have been concerted efforts in various states to suppress or limit the opportunity to vote by adding anti-voting layers of regulations to prevent or discourage voting. Notwithstanding, no stone should remain unturned when it comes to going to the polls to vote.

The two thirds of persons in our respective communities who were eligible to vote but did not do so are participating in a form of political suicide and self-destruction, regardless of whether the president occupying the White House this time also happens to be an African American.

We must vote, when the opportunity arises, irrespective of the ethnicity or gender of the person who is the president of the United States or our governor, senator or representative in Congress. Otherwise, the third-rail issue of meaningful immigration reform will simply not be successfully resolved. Nor will meaningful reform of police practices toward young African-African men across our nation be implemented.