Democrats looking to win in 2018 must do more to be the party that represents a diverse, changing and progressive America. This begins with developing a clear understanding of the electorate—specifically black Americans, who have long remained faithful to the party. Yet, even among black voters, particularly young ones, things are changing. Gone are the days of accepting engagement with the party once every election cycle with nothing in return for their vote. Black people have critical issues of concern that they want addressed for themselves, their families and communities.
This represents a shift in politics as usual. Traditional black outreach has focused on voter turnout. But one newly formed organization is concerned about engaging black voters around issues of relevance and importance for the black community—on Election Day and beyond.
Black PAC was founded in 2016 and operates under the leadership of Adrianne Shropshire, a long-time organizer and activist who has worked for decades on issues of economic and racial justice. Black PAC’s mission is clear—to demonstrate the power that black voters wield and to rally them around an agenda to dismantle structural racism and increase opportunity. The group does this by connecting with voters through long-term and sustained engagement. And though you may have never heard of Black PAC, you are certainly familiar with the results of its work. The organization was critical to 2017 Democratic electoral victories in Virginia and Alabama.
In a call with Daily Kos, Shropshire emphasized that, for black voters, both the special elections in 2017 and the midterms this year are specifically about issues and an agenda that will improve black lives.
“For black voters this cycle—and this didn’t just start in 2018, we saw this last year’s special elections and in November—this cycle is really about issues for black voters and really about an agenda,” Shropshire said. “And so while one of those issues is the rise of racism and the impact that’s having on black communities, which black voters place squarely at the feet of Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, there’s also a set of issues that people care about very deeply.”