The 2014 Elections and the Future of Black America

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I’m not going to sugarcoat things: For many of us, Halloween came four days late this year. The agenda of a Republican-controlled Congress could spell disaster for black people. After all, this is a party that, rather than try to appeal to black voters, instead worked at the state level to disenfranchise them with voter ID laws and other measures. Heck, even Mitt Romney acknowledged last year that his presidential campaign needed to do more to attract minority voters.

And no matter where you stand on the issues, you must concede that there will be extreme gridlock for the next two years: Congress will block President Obama’s appointments, while in turn the president will use up a lot of ink with a steady stream of vetoes when Congress passes bills to undermine his agenda. Undoubtedly the centerpiece of this grandstanding will be a toothless repealing of the Affordable Care Act without a veto-proof majority.

The expected leadership of the new Senate majority have agendas that, if they came to pass, would prove dangerous to black folks. Lamar Alexander, likely to become the next chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, was once George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Education. During his tenure, he advocated for severely curtailing race-based scholarships and restrict evaluation of faculty and student diversity when accrediting institutions of higher education. Now he has ambitions of scaling back President Obama’s policies of evaluating cost-effectiveness of colleges and the “gainful employment” rule for evaluating career colleges, preferring that our young people go into more debt, or throwing away money on worthless classes from a career college, which when legitimate can serve a valuable purpose for minorities’ career prospects.

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