“When Obama was elected it was thrilling,” the ad starts off, but the African-American man and woman on screen quickly begin questioning whether President Barack Obama should be re-elected for a second term.
“What has he done as president?” the woman in the video asks.
The answer they give is that he’s cut aid to black colleges and businesses.
“And his support of gay marriage is a slap in the face to people of faith,” the woman adds.
The video is one of two political ads Pivot Point, a PAC launched earlier this year, is airing on BET in the Seattle, Washington and Cleveland, Ohio areas. The other ad, below, features soundbites from Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP in July, in which he promises to improve conditions for African Americans.
Their goal, according to the head of the PAC, Dave Shemwell, is to communicate to African-American communities that it’s okay to consider switching political parties.
“You have no power when people take you for granted,” Shemwell told the Grio. “You only have power when people believe realistically that you’ll seek an alternative if they don’t come through.”
The people he’s referring to are Democratic politicians.
“Once [Obama] got into office, he didn’t pay any attention to the black community,” he said.
To make sure his message to African Americans would get across effectively, Shemwell partnered with Reverend Wayne Perryman, a local black evangelical pastor in Washington. The author of Whites, Blacks & Racist Democrats and activist for black issues echoed the same idea, calling the black community “a forgotten race.”
“The Democrats take it for granted. They don’t put anything on the table, but they get our vote,” he said. “For all the votes they’re getting, they should have an agenda.”
Perryman believes the opposite for the Republican Party, citing Romney’s NAACP speech.
“When he went to the NAACP and spoke, he talked about the conditions in our schools, in our communities,” he said. “He did make an appeal to African Americans, but we’ve seen no such appeal coming from Obama.”
Perryman named issues black people face, like economic instability and high foreclosure and school dropout rates. He explained that in the last four years, he felt President Obama had neglected to address the black community on too many occasions.
“If a white president was in office and all these things occurred, blacks would be out in the street,” he said.
“Black people should love black people so much, regardless of who is in office,” he continued. “When these kinds of conditions deteriorate to the point they have now, there needs to be strong, black voices bringing up these issues.”
So is electing Mitt Romney the answer to this problem? Will he keep his promises to African Americans?
“What do we have to lose?” Perryman answered. “I really think he’s sincere.”
He added that the changes Romney would bring may not be radical because some African American issues can only be solved by the people, not the government.
“But I think he can start things moving in the right direction,” he said of Romney.
The political ads began running in Washington last week and in Ohio yesterday. Shemwell hopes to influence votes in both his home state and the swing state. He said the ads will be airing on BET at least once a day by the end of this week, but there are no plans yet to air them in other states.