The 2020 presidential election has been widely regarded as the most important election of our lifetime. But at BlackPAC, we know that the election is just one way that this year is critical for improving the lives of and building political power for Black people.
Much of the recent research and opinion pieces have focused on which candidates Black voters are most likely to choose in the race. Our research tells us much more than that. We’ve listened to the priorities of Black voters and it’s clear that they are looking beyond November in order to create change and make America to live up to its promise of a multiracial, fully democratic society.
What’s most important to know about Black voters in 2020 is that they understand what’s at stake with Donald Trump in the White House and the danger that he represents. Our polling shows that Black voters overwhelmingly have an unfavorable view of Trump (78%) and the majority (84%) think he’s doing a bad job as president.
Even though 87% of Black voters prefer to elect any Democrat over Trump, they have many concerns that need to be addressed. Racism and discrimination are among the top three important issues for Black voters. These are complex problems that require comprehensive solutions and will not be addressed by voting Trump out of office alone. Trump’s presidency has unleashed a rising tide of white supremacy, nationalism and unacceptable political discourse that removing him from office doesn’t fix. Trumpism will only be eliminated when we go beyond the man and begin to take on the conditions that allowed him to become president in the first place.
More than who is leading the country, our democracy is in serious jeopardy. Inequality continues to grow while racial disparities in health, education, housing, wealth and criminal justice persist. Black voters are well aware of these crises and are concerned. 81% of likely Black voters say that the country is on the wrong track, and 83% say that economy has not changed or gotten worse. And Black people are still fighting for voting rights and full and fair representation in our political system.
Black people will play a pivotal role in shaping the country in the next decade. This is why, though it isn’t getting the attention it deserves, a fair and accurate count during the 2020 census is vitally important for us. It will provide information about how many Black people live in the United States. We have long been undercounted in the census, something that disproportionately impacts Black men and children in particular. Undercounting means we learn less about problems facing our communities at the local level and affects federal funding for programs that can address resource gaps and services. The census is also used to determine how many seats each state will have in the House of Representatives. Less representation only means it is more likely that we will get politicians who aren’t listening to the concerns of Black voters and incorporate those into policy solutions that make our lives better.
Over the course of this year, BlackPAC will be addressing these issues through research, ongoing work with partner organizations, conversations with Black voters and more.
We have launched the Black Citizenship in Action project to engage Black voters in conversations about what Black citizenship means, how we define and embrace it and why it’s so important for Black people to claim our role in American democracy.
We will also continue to engage with Black voters about the 2020 elections. We’ll continue our polling and focus groups around the country to learn more about our preferred policies, candidates and priorities. But that’s not all. Black voters were the primary targets of the Russian interference in the 2016 election through social media disinformation campaigns. We can expect more of the same in 2020. This is part of a historical pattern of efforts to deny Black people a voice and place in this country. BlackPAC will be working with Black voters to understand the forces that tell us we don’t belong and claim our right to agency and self-determination.
Finally, we will be partnering with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for its National Black Leadership Summit which will convene in Washington, DC on February 3rd and 4th. The summit is designed to bring together civil rights, labor, social justice, faith-based, student and business leaders to discuss critical issues and ensure success for Black communities in 2020. On February 4th, the day of the State of the Union address, we will host a watch party and will be covering the real-time reactions of Black voters listening to Trump’s speech as well as the Democratic response. Instead of hearing what political pundits think about how the message is received by Black voters, we want to hear directly from the voters themselves.
Though the issues at stake in 2020 are more critical to the health and well-being of Black people than ever before, BlackPAC remains committed to our long-term work with Black voters dedicated to building political infrastructure, electing candidates that address our concerns through policy and action and holding them accountable and defending our right to thrive and live with dignity.