Two weeks before election day, black Americans voted outrageously, helping to reach historic levels of early voting, as postal ballots flooded polling stations and people lined up in huge queues for personal voting across the country.
In an interview in 10 states where early voting continues, black voters said this year’s presidential election was the most important in their lives – some called it more consistent than 2008, when those who were old enough came to the polls. polling stations in record numbers to make Barack Obama ̵1; the country’s first black president.
They spoke of a sense of the urgency of defending national democracy and their role in it, which they believe Trump’s second term will destroy without repair. Many said they saw the president as a racist who could not force himself to disavow white supremacists or the annual fuss of police killings of unarmed black Americans, and they believed the country was less safe for them and their families.
Again and again, black Americans have described their vote this year far more than the choice between two presidential candidates, but as an urgent position in America’s long-running struggle against racial injustice, which, according to events this year, is not over.
“We don’t have to be where we live in 2020,” said Tasha Grant, a 44-year-old nurse who voted in Charlotte on Thursday, and hopes her vote for Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, will ensure the growth of her children into a safer, more acceptable world.
“Especially my son,” she said. It doesn’t matter if he is smart or student A. People still see him as a black man. “
Voter numbers in states with available data indicate a surge in black participation in the first few days of personal voting. In North Carolina, which began early voting on Thursday, black voters made more than 30 percent turnout on the first day, well above 23 percent of the total in 2016. -persons submitted by Thursday are still ahead of their total share of the electorate in 2016.
A similar picture in US cities with large populations of blacks. For example, in counties that include Milwaukee and Detroit, there are approximately 283,000 in total, the votes cast are already equivalent to almost one-fourth of the total turnout of these constituencies four years ago. The drop in votes for Democrat Hillary Clinton in those cities in 2016 compared to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 votes contributed to Trump’s overall victory after he led Wisconsin and Michigan by a tiny margin.
In the Washington Post-ABC News national polls in late September and early October, Biden led Trump by 92 percent to 8 percent of all black voters. In addition, three Washington Post-ABC polls conducted since August found that, on average, 86 percent of registered “black” voters either probably voted or have already voted, slightly against 80 percent in 2016.
In some parts of the country, the Black Life Matters movement has taken a turnout. Last week, dozens of people in Louisville, protesting against the police who shot the death of Breona Taylor, came out of the city park to the basketball arena, which served as a place of early voting.
They chanted: “This is what democracy looks like! You can’t stop the revolution! »
Another voter in the arena, Ronna Green, 39, said she had been protesting against Taylor from the beginning and decided to vote early because, he said, “it’s time for a change”.
“We’ve been going through this for too long, and everyone keeps putting a band-aid on it or sweeping it under the rug,” Green said, coming out of the vote in a T-shirt with the phrase, “It’s behind the black Women.”
Trump’s treatment of racial unrest and the coronavirus pandemic have changed the calculation for black voters, posing a real threat to their health and safety, said Morgan Jackson, a North Carolina democracy consultant. For some, this has turned voting into the beginning of life or death.
“African Americans said, ‘Enough,'” Jackson said. “Everything Trump has done in the last three and a half years, no matter how crazy, has been a mile from people. It’s a show you’ve been watching on TV. But with with these two problems, it has affected your family in your living room and at your kitchen table. “
During his tenure, Trump presided over a significant US government retreat from the advanced civil rights movement, which supporters say threatened a decade of progress against voter suppression, housing discrimination, and police misconduct.
In recent months, Trump has denounced Black Life as a “symbol of hatred,” defending armed white militants in Michigan, right-wing activists brandishing weapons from pickups in Portland, Oregon, and a white teenager who shot and killed two protesters in Wisconsin.
Trump also vowed to defend the Confederate general’s legacy by skipping the funeral of the late Congressman John Lewis, Georgia, a civil rights icon, and retweeted – and then deleted – a supporter’s video shouting “white force.” He questioned the right to elect Senator Kamala D. Harris (California), the first black and Asian-American candidate for vice president from the main party; in doing so, he revived a version of the erroneous “birth” statement that suggested that Obama may not have been born in the United States.
As a result, Democrat questionnaire Cornell Belcher said, Trump far outweighs the threat to black Americans’ right to equality under the law; it threatens their very existence.
“There is no group of Americans who has been more involved in this democratic experiment, historically, than the black man in the United States,” Belcher said. “Black people literally vote the way their lives depend.”
Trump has denied being a racist, repeatedly saying he has done more for black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. As an example, Trump advertises the pre-pandemic decline in unemployment among black Americans, as well as his support for a sentence to reduce the term of imprisonment for nonviolent criminals.
Trump’s campaign has also repeatedly said it receives more black votes than previous Republican candidates, with surrogates, including retired professional footballer Herschel Walker, appearing in ads in cities with large minority populations such as Detroit and Philadelphia. , Raleigh, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Savannah.
“President Trump has real achievements for blacks,” said Trump’s senior campaign adviser, Katrina Pearson. “Joe Biden, on the other hand, oversaw the stagnation of wage growth and job creation. He was also the author of legislation that introduced In fact, President Trump is a much better choice for black Americans, and that’s not even a close call. “
Campaigners also said the surge in early voting would not yet meet what Democrats need to offset enthusiasm for Trump on election day, when a majority of Republicans said they would vote.
“We need work to fill these ballots and return them,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters at a conference call last week. “That’s why ground play matters. . . and Joe Biden doesn’t have it. “
To date, however, states have recorded record levels of voting, both by mail and in person, and data show that Democratic voters have secured most of the turnout.
As of Sunday, nearly 28 million Americans voted, according to Michael MacDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida. The figure, equivalent to more than a fifth turnout in 2016, suggests that Trump will have to gain a huge democratic advantage on election day.
Bill McIntourf, the founder of the Public Party poll, said: “What was a moderate democratic advantage in 2016 among early voters has turned into an abyss that no one has seen before.”
However, analysts have warned that if narrow results spur a wave of post-election election lawsuits, it could affect colored voters more than whites.
A study by political scientist Dan Smith of the University of Florida found that in the last election, the ballots of black voters were rejected at higher rates. And in North Carolina this fall, election officials marked the ballots of a disproportionate number of black voters with mistakes that need to be corrected to take into account.
So far, this year’s mobilization is on the way to competition in 2008, when the historic turnout of black people helped push Obama to the White House. Since Clinton’s decline in black voters in 2016, Democrats have complained about whether a white candidate, including Biden, could ever attract the same level of support as Obama.
However, interviews with dozens of black voters suggest that the driving force behind many this year is not the Democratic nominee but the desire to remove the current president; some black voters said they were more motivated to vote against Trump than to vote for Obama.
“I’ve been waiting for this day,” said Connie Neal, who works in Charlotte’s health department and voted on Thursday. “We need change. We need a new president. Once I could do my part, why put it off? “
In addition to questions about race, black voters also said in interviews that Trump’s resolution of the coronavirus crisis is a major motivating force. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to be infected with coronavirus, hospitalized nearly five times more often, and twice as likely to die.
Latonia and Iri Smith, 62, and retired postal workers from Fishers, Indiana, said health care was a major issue in their decision to vote in person on Oct. 6, the first available day in their state.
“We are lucky that we have not been harmed so far,” said Iri Smith. “But we never know what autumn and winter will bring.”
Many voters polled in anticipation of recent days in Atlanta, Houston and Durham, North Carolina, said it was important to vote in person at the earliest opportunity to make a statement about the importance of the election.
They brought picnic lunches and lawn chairs, wore Black Lives Matter clothes, and in some cases voted for the first time.
Some also said they were suspicious of the use of mail, in part because of numerous reports this year of delays in the U.S. Postal Service and Trump’s threats to withhold postal funding.
Another force resonated with others: the vigilance generated by decades of suppression of black voters to trust that their vote would be taken into account if they could not scan it themselves.
“I’ve been so comfortable since I was 18,” said Alison Marsalis, 57, a psychologist at Wokegan, Ill. “I have people who were beaten for voting.”
Jaton Mitchell, 37, a pet care nurse who voted for Charlotte last week: “My people fought for the right to vote.”
Carol Blount, 60, of Detroit, also a retiree, offered a brief answer to why she voted in person. “That it was credited,” she said.
“My people, my heritage were not born with that right, and they had to fight,” she said. “I owe them my vote. They fought hard, shed blood and died so I could be here in 2020 to vote. “
Eliza Wiebeck, Scott Clement, Emily Guskin, Ted Miller and Greg Miller in Washington, Anna Clark in Detroit, Ted Genovese in Omas, Mark Guarino in Wakigan, Illinois, Stephanie Hunt in North Charleston, South Carolina, South Carolina Martin in Houston, Kevin Williams in Dayton, Ohio, Hysten Willis in Marietta, Georgia, Josh Wood in Louisville and Adam Wren in Noblesville, Indiana.