By Cedric Muhammad, Aug. 14, 2012
Conventional wisdom holds that Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate is either a negative or neutral selection relative to impacting the Black vote. After all, it is not hard to position Mr. Ryan as a typical anti-social safety net Right-wing Republican. Within minutes of the news of Romney’s choice, Paul Ryan’s name became hyphenated, suddenly ending with ‘Medicare’ and ‘Medicaid,’ and even ‘heartless.’
My reaction, however was different. I do recognize plenty in Rep. Ryan’s record that will serve as legitimate red meat for Democratic Party activists, and Get-Out-The-Vote advertising scripts. But I don’t think on balance, that the obvious anti-Left positions of a Republican vice-presidential nominee is the most strategically intriguing fact, where Black Americans are concerned.
While Rep. Ryan is probably unacceptable to 80% of the likely-to-vote Black electorate automatically, I believe that he and Gov. Romney will receive a hearing from a remaining percentage who do not automatically believe their interests align with the Democratic Party. This 15% which I refer to as ‘free-agents’ – are comprised of Blacks more concerned with cultural issues, self-help, and asset ownership.
The remaining 5% are Blacks automatically loyal to the Republican party.