And a higher percentage with these views may have voted by mail!
Also see https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/how-black-voters-key-cities-helped-deliver-election-joe-biden-n1246980
By Jamie Henn
With Donald Trump defeated and Joe Biden declared president-elect, the climate movement is already engaged in a fierce discussion about how to move policy forward in the Biden era, especially if Mitch McConnell manages to maintain his control of the Senate. But the debate over policy misses one of the most important things Biden must do when he finally makes it to the White House: Use his new bully pulpit to advance the politics of climate action.
Past presidents have used the bully pulpit to sell and advance their political agendas, often despite resistance from the opposing party. Theodore Roosevelt, who coined the term, used his to rail against corporate monopolies such as Standard Oil and to advance his environmental agenda (as well as some despicable ideas about white supremacy). Ronald Reagan used his reputation as “the great communicator” to push forward his tax cuts and anti-government agenda. Trump turned the presidential megaphone up to eleven, using it to shatter political norms and advance his toxic ideology.
President Biden needs to use the Oval Office to advance the bold climate agenda he adopted during his campaign. Climate politics has been transformed over the last year, thanks in large part to youth-led groups like the Sunrise Movement and grassroots groups that insisted that climate justice become the centerpiece of Democratic plans to address the crisis. Large parts of the labor movement also got on board, giving credibility to Biden’s claim that when he thought about climate change, he thought about “jobs.” Meanwhile, investors continue to flee fossil fuels as the market shifts toward clean energy.
With Biden talking about the climate crisis against a backdrop of wildfires, derechos, and hurricanes, parts of the mainstream media finally got the memo that covering the largest crisis facing humanity should be a top priority. Newspapers made the connection between extreme weather and global warming. Climate change got more time in this year’s presidential and vice presidential debates than ever before, although cable news largely continues to drop the ball.
All this had an impact: Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis, and Trump’s daily tirades, climate remained a top-tier issue for Democratic voters. And large numbers of Republicans also said they were concerned about the crisis. According to a Fox News exit poll on election night, 70 percent of voters supported increased government spending on green and renewable energy.
The lesson for the Biden administration should be clear: Keep climate change and the clean-energy revolution in the spotlight.
For those of us who spend our lives following politics on Twitter or reading climate stories over coffee, it’s easy to forget that for many people, the benefits of acting on climate are still abstract. Worse, there are plenty of people out there who still embrace the outdated notion that they must choose between jobs and the environment. They don’t know that more people are employed in the clean-energy economy than in fossil fuels. That a Green New Deal could rescue communities that have depended on coal, oil, and gas. That all these changes wouldn’t just save the climate but also make us healthier, safer, and more secure.
Most of the public also don’t know that the fossil fuel industry is working around the clock to stop all these good things from happening. Your daughter’s asthma? Chevron knows the pollution from its refineries makes that worse, but lobbies against regulations to control it. Your Florida city is going underwater? Exxon predicted that, and then spent millions to convince you it wasn’t true. Your pension has dried up and you can’t get your black lung benefits? The coal industry lobbied to get out of those requirements, even as it gave its CEOs a golden parachute.
President Biden could bring these issues to the forefront in dramatic ways that build the case for climate action. He could start his term by convening an Environmental Justice Summit at the White House to highlight the ways that Black, brown, and Indigenous people are championing solutions. He could hit the road in an electric sports car and visit clean-energy companies that are creating jobs across the country. He could take a helicopter flight over the Block Island Wind Farm and talk about the potential for offshore wind. He could convene the nation’s governors to talk about how they can set state mandates for 100 percent clean electricity. And he could do all of this and more in partnership with the climate movement, so that as people get interested in these issues, they can plug into grassroots organizing that builds political momentum on the ground.
And here’s the thing: None of this requires approval from McConnell. If Republicans maintain control of the Senate and refuse to let a climate bill modeled on the Green New Deal come to the floor, the temptation from some congressional Democrats will be to let the issue die and move on to other topics. This is exactly what advisers like Rahm Emanuel urged President Obama to do back in 2009, leading to years of climate silence from Obama that left the public misinformed and inactive and undercut his administration’s ability to pass strong legislation on Capitol Hill. Instead, Biden and his fellow Democrats should put a bill on McConnell’s desk and then go out across the country and fight for it—and make McConnell and his followers own their opposition to an agenda most Americans support.
Black voters in key cities helped deliver the election for Joe Biden
“The fact that we have matched and topped white voter participation and done that while going through voter suppression in new and old forms every year, we are extraordinary,” said organizer LaTosha Brown.
Joe Biden attends a service at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on July 7, 2019.Demetrius Freeman / NYT via Redux fileNov. 7, 2020, 3:24 PM MSTBy Janell Ross
ATLANTA — In the way that one could on election night 2020, LaTosha Brown was making the rounds.
She was in a suite near the top of a luxury hotel so close to the airport that the balcony view overlooked a Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport airplane parking lot. Also there was Cliff Albright, who, with Brown, co-founded the voter mobilization organization Black Voters Matter.
After a Google Hangout with the field directors they had hired to register, engage and boost voter participation around the country, Brown sequestered herself in a bedroom, resting her body in a hotel chair, her tired feet — by then stripped to the socks — on the bed.
Between bites of food and watching election returns turn bits of the national map red or blue, Brown juggled calls, internet video sessions and texts, in each countering the conventional wisdom with journalists, political operatives and others that the election would come down to Donald Trump’s mythical all-white suburbs filled with stay-at-home moms or Joe Biden’s ability to convert them. Instead, it was decided in racially diverse urban centers and increasingly diverse suburbs in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia.
The Black people who make up 39 percent or more of the population in those areas chose Biden, with some exceptions. In fact, once the vote counts from Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta started to near completion, Trump’s lead in their respective states disappeared. Biden — who would not have been the Democratic presidential nominee without Black voters in South Carolina — reached 270 Electoral College votes in large part because of Black voters in these cities.
But within minutes of starting an interview with the CBC/Radio-Canada, Brown ran headlong into the conventional and dismissive wisdom about American politics that conceives of white voters as more important or legitimate than Black and brown ones. It was the logic that perceives Black voters as an eternal problem rather than the solution.
“I would say that we have long participated at extraordinary levels and have to overcome extraordinary hurdles to do so,” Brown said in that way a woman speaks when she aims to appear calm on the surface but is seething inside. The interviewer had dismissed the work of Brown, Albright, Georgia politician and organizer Stacey Abrams and many others who have registered and motivated voters for years, literally expanding the electorate and creating new swing states. In the interviewer’s framing, Black Americans “have historically low turnout,” so was that work really wise?
Brown said: “The fact that we have caught up with white voters, white women in particular, who have historically reaped all the benefits of voting and even any slight level of political engagement, who can’t get pollsters and parties to stop targeting them, to me says that we are extraordinary. The fact that we have matched and topped white voter participation and done that while going through voter suppression in new and old forms every year, we are extraordinary. That’s what I know.”
When the interview ended, Brown turned to say: “She wasn’t ready for that. The truth. Don’t ask me why Black voter turnout is consistently low when nothing could be further than the clear and obvious truth.”
In the weeks before the election, about 63 percent of Black voters and 73 percent of white voters told Pew Research Center pollsters that they were “extremely motivated to vote in the General Election.” About 54 percent of Latino and Asian voters said the same. In Georgia during the primary season, many voters, particularly Black voters, waited eight hours or more to participate. A surge in early and mail voting and other measures taken by Georgia’s Republican secretary of state prevented a repeat on Election Day.Picking presidents
If Brown’s was the voice that may have reset the understanding of anyone watching BET or listening to CBC/Radio-Canada on election night, for others the truth about the election and how it was won arrived the next day in the poetic language of the Black church pulpit, when the Rev. Steve Bland Jr., pastor of Liberty Temple Baptist Church, spoke to MSNBC. He stood just outside Detroit’s TCF Center, where Wayne County election officials tallied votes.
“As goes Detroit, will be done so …” said Bland, wearing a black baseball cap with the words “Faith Over Fear.” “We will determine the outcome, because we’ve gone from picking cotton to picking presidents.”
The accuracy of his assessment only grew clearer as Election Day stretched into Election Week.
Initial voting data and exit polls point to a few patterns: Record numbers of Americans cast ballots for each of the candidates, with many more Democrats exercising early and mail-in voting options than Republicans.
According to exit polls, Trump claimed about 18 percent of the vote among Black men and 8 percent among Black women, increases over his performance among both groups in 2016. But Biden held 87 percent of the Black vote, performing better among Black voters than any other demographic group.
And, much like almost every other Democrat since the 1960s, Biden won about 42 percent of the white vote.
Many white voters simply fled the Democratic Party after President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, with a bipartisan collective in Congress pushed through landmark equity-building legislation, and President Richard Nixon coalesced white Republican political support with his “Southern strategy.”
While some Democrats, like centrist Bill Clinton, have been able to attract a few more white voters, members of the group have remained a sort of elusive, most-sought voter. But Black voters have consistently proven essential in determining election outcomes and, when Democrats fail, these often disregarded voters appear to top many lists of those who are blamed.
“Just as in 2016, the presidential race is being decided in states where the robust or anemic turnout of people of color will determine the outcome of the election,” Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science and director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University, said in a statement. “In close elections, Democrats can maximize the advantage of strong minority support only when those voters turn out in strong enough numbers.”
Election cycle after election cycle, give or take a few points, about 90 percent of Black voters back Democrats, said Gillespie, who studies Black political behavior. About two-thirds of Latino and Asian American voters also vote for Democrats. But that strong Democratic advantage is less important if these groups do not show up to vote in high numbers.
For Cheetara Alexander, 34, the sense that this election, this presidential contest, was deeply consequential grew all year.
As a professional violence interrupter, Alexander works to prevent gun violence and murder in some of the Atlanta region’s most dangerous and underserved communities. It is the kind of work often overlooked when questions of police misconduct are met with calls for Black Americans to care about so-called Black-on-Black crime.
It is also work that made her particularly attuned to the tolls that unchecked police brutality and the pandemic have exacted on Black Americans. Alexander said the political, policy and rhetorical failures of the White House have been so intense this year that she abandoned her usual plan to vote early. She decided to vote on Election Day.
“There is just too much, too much going on that need not be, too much not happening that should be, to sit this out or even avoid what I had assumed would be crowds on Election Day,” Alexander said.
After a long day of work, Alexander arrived at the door of her polling site in DeKalb County, which includes about 10 percent of the city of Atlanta. It was 7:01 p.m. Poll workers there told her they had to close at 7 sharp. She could drive to another DeKalb polling site at Barack Obama Magnet Elementary School of Technology and cast a provisional ballot until 7:45 p.m.
The polling site at Obama Elementary, already serving two precincts because its multicolor cafeteria and assembly spaces could allow for social distancing, was ordered to remain open until 7:45 p.m. on Election Day because of earlier technical issues that were confirmed to NBC News by two poll workers and an election monitor, a white man in a mask bearing the words “SPEAK LIFE.” The extended time meant Alexander got to cast her vote in person, one of the last in metro Atlanta.
When she began to exit at 7:43 p.m., a poll worker offered to snap her picture with Obama’s portrait, which hangs, at all times, on the school’s front office wall. The former president had done a last swing through Atlanta to motivate Black voters the previous day.
“I didn’t plan to be the last vote, but if this Black woman in Georgia winds up being the one that gives that man in the White House his walking papers, that will be just,” Alexander said, pantomiming a chef’s kiss.
As Alexander spoke, a Black man with a bald head and a gray beard who declined to give his name overheard the conversation and said to no one in particular, “I claim that in the name of the ancestors and the late, great John Lewis.”
Lewis, a longtime member of Congress from Georgia and civil rights activist who was nearly killed in the push for Black voting rights, died in July. Trump, unlike many other Republican and Democratic government officials, declined to attend memorial services for Lewis, describing him as “not impressive” and saying, “Nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have.”
While many Republicans and Democrats praised Lewis at his death and expressed reverence for his life’s work, Republicans in the Senate — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — have continued to block efforts to restore the intent of elements of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court invalidated in 2013. Now, part of Lewis’ district, an Atlanta area that Trump described as “in horrible shape and falling apart,” may have delivered key votes to swing Georgia into Biden’s column, although NBC News has not called the state for either candidate yet, due to the closeness of the race.
In the days after the election, election officials in the key states of Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina made it clear. The election would, indeed, come down to cities with large Black voter bases and even, possibly, provisional ballots like Alexander’s.
But for every Alexander, there are also Black voters disillusioned by American politics.
Brian Keith, 43, a truck driver, is registered to vote in North Carolina. He is in a long-distance relationship with a Black woman who lives and votes in Georgia. That is not the only difference between them.
In the hour before the polls closed at Obama Elementary, he stood in a hallway waiting for his girlfriend to cast her vote. She planned to vote for Biden, Keith said. He skipped the top of the ticket on his own North Carolina ballot and participated in elections for state office on down.
“To me, when people can, one way or another, pump a million dollars into a race, that’s just legalized bribery, and so the election becomes a sham,” Keith said about congressional and presidential races. “Those folks, whoever wins, are bought and paid for at that level.”
Keith described himself as someone who was often offended by things Trump said but who also agrees with some of his ideas and demands. But because of the way national politics has been riddled with donations from wealthy donors and lobbyists, he would not back Trump, either.
“I don’t believe either of the parties, either of the candidates,” Keith said. “Honestly, if I had my choice, I would coup the federal government, because nobody really helps us, not the average person, not the average Black person, for sure.”The years of organizing led to this moment
Pushing back against narratives like Keith’s was the work that organizations like Black Voters Matter took on, years before the 2020 election. Brown and Albright, Abrams and many other grassroots organizers have collectively registered tens of thousands and encouraged many more to vote, while also contending with the reality that Black voters, typically loyal Democratic voters, have a limited list of political and social rewards for their votes, Brown said.
Abrams, who formed the organization, Fair Fight, after narrowly losing her 2018 bid for Georgia governor, declined to comment this week. The organization battled various policies and practices that suppressed the Black vote in Georgia and other states and worked to register about 800,000 new voters since 2018, Abrams told Vogue in an interview published Thursday.
Expanding the electorate to include every eligible person and engaging Black voters is key to creating a more equitable and just country, she has said. Abrams, who lives and votes in Georgia, also insists that she lost her bid to become the country’s first Black female governor after her opponent, Brian Kemp, then Georgia’s secretary of state, disqualified an unusual number of Black voters. Kemp, a Republican, won the election by 54,723 votes, or 1.3 percent of all the ballots cast. Abrams never conceded the race. Instead, she said at the time, “the law currently allows no further viable remedy.”
And Abrams made her feelings about the central role of what she describes as the new American electorate known on Twitter on Friday morning as the work of Georgia vote counters stood on the precipice of deciding the presidential election. The political groundwork she and others did in once-deep-red Georgia was on the verge of turning the state blue.
On election night — before the sweeping and definitive influence of Black voters had seeped into the space of the undeniable for even those uncomfortable with overt discussions of race in politics and those who have made a living decrying “identity politics” since 2016 — Brown had a few moments to reflect. As Brown and her assistant scanned Brown’s digital calendar for her remaining election night obligations, Brown described what would come next.
“Having been through the Obama years, I think many of us have learned and are prepared now to demand and keep demanding some policies of significance to the Black community, should there be a Biden administration after tonight,” she said. “That, too, is real. That’s just where we are.”
Latino Vote – research
JULY 10, 2020
The entirety of the Trump presidency has been marked by uncertainty and volatility for our country, exponentially more so during the coronavirus pandemic. As we focused our efforts on understanding how a pandemic which has seen people of color impacted more severely than white Americans, the creation of an economic recession, and an inspiring movement for racial justice and equality might impact the November elections, we turned our focus to voter registration and turnout trends.
While we will have a more comprehensive analysis to share soon, I wanted to share some of our initial findings, as I believe they at once demonstrate the challenges that lay ahead of us while providing hope that we can and will prevail.
As we shared in our recent analysis, voter registration slowed immensely in the first several weeks of the pandemic taking hold in our country. Election offices were closed, and in-person voter registration efforts were halted. Our analysis showed that, while those who were registering to vote were slightly more likely to be white, Republican, and older as compared to prior to the pandemic, the overall gaps were minimal and generally no more than a few hundred voters per state.
Following the activism that took place after the murder of George Floyd and demands for justice and equality, along with states gradually re-opening around the country, we took this opportunity to check-in on voter registrations and reflections in the electoral process.
The earliest sign came from Georgia, as the state began allowing voters to cast early ballots in person for their June primary. We found a significant surge in turnout among Black voters, who comprised 35% of early ballots cast before the demonstrations, and 47% after they began. Youth intensity also surged as well, with voters under the age of 30 seeing their early vote share almost double in a day:
Now we are seeing signs of the partisan registration gap closing. In 10 of 11 states with more recently updated voter registration data, we are seeing an upward trend in modeled Democratic identification among new registrants, when compared with the early days of the pandemic:
In California, we saw not only a surge in new voter registrations as the George Floyd demonstrations began, but a surge among younger people and people of color:
Incredibly, voters under the age of 25 saw their share of new registrations more than double during this time period.
We are continuing to monitor these registration and participation trends, and will share our findings with the community as they become available. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any questions, feedback, or to let me know any way we can be of assistance.
The Race-Class Narrative Project
The goal of Demos’ Race-Class Narrative (RCN) project is to develop an empirically-tested narrative on race and class that resonates with all working people and offers an alternative to—and neutralizes the use of—dog-whistle racism.IN THIS PUBLICATION
- Watch Race-Class Narratives In Action
- Race-Class Resources: State & National Findings
- Bring the Race-Class Narrative into the Field
- The RCN Team
If we hope to block racially and economically divisive tactics that use racism as a strategy to divide working people and poor people from one another so that a few can gain, we must mobilize around a new narrative. This narrative must help people envision a multiracial country in which everyone has economic opportunity.
Demos is committed to developing tools and offering strategic support so that progressive initiatives nationwide can use this new Race-Class Narrative to mobilize and activate people of color, working-class people of all races, and women (who together comprise what we call the “New American Demos”) to show up at the polls, run for office, and use compelling narratives and messages in their everyday conversations.
This is an ongoing project – please visit this page for updates.
Watch Race-Class Narratives In Action
Race-Class Resources: State & National Findings
As part of our quantitative research, the Race-Class Narrative project fielded online dial tests. The dial tests surveyed a representative sample of adults plus oversamples of targeted populations in the given region by asking a series of questions on issues of race and class.
**For Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio state handouts, please visit www.demosaction.org
- National Survey Report
- National Handout
- Black, White or Brown: A survey of Asian American, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders on the Race-Class Narrative
Bring the Race-Class Narrative into the Field
We want to help people incorporate the RCN into campaigns, base-building efforts and communications with voters. Connect with RCN in the following ways:
- Integrate the RCN findings and best practices into your trainings.
- Work with us to tailor the narrative to your issue campaigns and strategic messaging, from door-knocking scripts to commercials.
- Host a presentation or half-day workshop on RCN findings and best practices.
- Contact us for technical assistance on your strategic messaging plans and material development.
- Anat Shenker-Osorio, Principle Researcher, ASO Communications
- Ian Haney-López, Principle Researcher, Author of Dog Whistle Politics
- Heather McGhee, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos
RCN Advisory Committee
The RCN advisory committee was composed of over 60 national and state grassroots organizations and social change leaders.