A message to Black male voters: Don’t let Republicans use you

OPINION: GOP operatives are targeting Black men to use as simple tools in their ruthless pursuits of power.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

As we get closer to Election Day over the next couple of weeks, you’re going to hear a lot of pundits from both sides of the aisle talk about how this election is the most important election of our lives.

Now, I can understand that it’s tempting to deem one election more important than another. But I think it’s a little short-sighted.

However, some elections have consequences that far outweigh others and this year, the consequences are heavy indeed—up and down the ticket.

Likewise, I agree that some constituencies are more consequential than others—that’s just the fact of the matter—and I don’t mind saying that Black men are the most consequential voting bloc in this election and will continue to be so in the elections to come.

Of course, I don’t say this to somehow dismiss the importance of Black women. The fact is that, without them, there would be no us…politically or practically. However, the issues facing Black men, our votes and our voices are just as important and yet we ignore them at our peril.

That’s why you see so many GOP operatives targeting talking points and tactics to appeal to Black men. But while they seek to bojangle us with whitewashes, targeted disinformation and outright lies, we can see the truth if we look. We can see that they don’t have our best interests at heart, and, quite frankly, they would use us as simple tools in their ruthless pursuits of power.

But we won’t be used.

That’s why it’s so important, so consequential, that we meet this foolishness with fact.

That’s why, when we see them in the barbershop claiming, “Them Democrats ain’t done nothing for me,” we have to respond with the direct facts of $1.9 trillion from the American Rescue Plan, the expanded child tax credit, which briefly cut child poverty in half and the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years with employment growth for Black men outpacing both our white and Asian counterparts.

When they pipe up at the spades table arguing that “Ain’t nothing changed,” we have to point to $15 billion to replace lead water lines across America, the first new major gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years, a new cap on prescription drug prices, banning chokeholds and “no knock” warrants and turning back the tide of mass incarceration with federal marijuana reform and the elimination of the use of federal private prisons.

When they gather at the fraternity meeting, we have to remind the brothers about student debt forgiveness, the administration’s historic investment in America’s HBCUs and roughly $100 billion in federal contracts to small disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses.

It doesn’t matter if we’re at the hole-in-the-wall happy hour Friday or the supper table on Sunday afternoon, we have to be ready. We have to stand up for the truth. We have to speak up loud and proud about all the progress we’ve made since January 2021 because it matters. It matters more than you could possibly imagine.

It matters because we matter and, if you need proof, just look at the last few election cycles. Just look at 13% of Black men voting for Donald Trump in 2016 and 12% voting for Trump in 2020.

That’s just 1%, but it made the difference.

Still, think you don’t matter?

If we didn’t matter, the GOP wouldn’t be targeting us with precision. If we didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be doing everything they can to make sure we can’t vote. If we didn’t matter, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

But we do matter, perhaps now more than ever.

So, dear brothers, let’s act like it because the stakes are high. Let’s act like it because the ballot you cast in November is a survival vote. Let’s act like it because, too often, those who participate least are impacted most.

Let’s act like it…and let’s make the right choice.

Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea.

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