In about 200 days, Americans will vote to either re-elect or oust President Donald Trump.
For Black voters, the prospect of reelecting Trump can be a make-or-break decision. Some Black voters find the opportunity to reelect Trump to be enticing. Groups like Black Voices for Trump urge voters that the President will further his efforts around criminal justice reform and the development of opportunity zones if elected to a second term.
For others, living through four more years of a Trump presidency would be a nightmare. Many Black voters have criticized his repeal of immigration, healthcare, and economic reforms implemented by past presidential administrations.
The conundrum of the Black voter is nuanced. Because we are not a monolith, our views on national policies are varied. Furthermore, national issues alone do not impact our day-to-day lives.
Beyond selecting a 2020 presidential candidate, Black voters across the U.S. will also have to make choices on local and state candidates. These candidates control the accessibility of quality healthcare during a pandemic like COVID-19 (COVID), regulate state and local police forces, and can impact barriers to Black entrepreneurship.
This year, gubernatorial elections are taking place in 10 states (Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia) and one territory (Puerto Rico). Twenty-nine key cities will hold mayoral elections including Phoenix, San Diego, and Honolulu.
We hardly hear about these races in the national media. Nonetheless, Black voters will define how policy is mitigated by participating in these races.
No matter the outcome of each race, Black voters will undoubtedly influence the outcome of the 2020 election cycle. According to the Pew Research Center, the Black eligible voter population has grown about as fast as the electorate overall, meaning our share of voters has held constant at about 12% since 2000.
Candidates certainly recognize the dynamic voting power of the Black electorate. Both Democrats and Republicans at the state, local, and federal levels have relentlessly worked to mobilize Black voters in key battleground states like Michigan, Texas, and Ohio. Black Michiganders in the Michigan Democratic primary powered a victory for former Vice President Joe Biden.
As the presidential field narrows and as the nation adapts to the rapid development of COVID-19, we, as Black voters, must prepare ourselves for vigilant participation in the election cycle of 2020. Black Democratic voters in Louisiana, for instance, are faced with the challenge of staying focused on their candidate choices in light of the state’s recent decision to delay the primary election (as a response to alarming rates of COVID outbreaks).
Like them, we must inform ourselves on every level of government action during such a pandemic. We must familiarize ourselves with current officials and candidates so that we are electing leaders who are genuinely prepared to serve the economic, educational, and healthcare needs of our community through this crisis.
A new app called Politicking will ensure that we, as Black voters, don’t miss a monumental opportunity to assert our political capital in 2020. The app is a comprehensive resource for young Black voters, like us, to understand who candidates are, and what they represent.
We created Politicking to empower Black voters to understand the immediate and long-term impact of our political capital by explaining policy issues and candidate platforms at every level.
Voters must understand why electing a council member is just as important as electing a presidential candidate. By downloading Politicking, voters will have immediate access to this information in addition to personalized content that provides context on hot topics of the day.
Our ability to demand leadership that we deserve is more evident than ever in this election cycle. This year, let’s make sure the demands of our vote are heard loud and clear.