How? Why? What the fuck?
After four years of emboldened white supremacy, regressive policies, and a pandemic response failure that’s hit Black people especially hard, the race for the White House felt like a “nail-biter” on election night, and still isn’t finished.
White voters showed up in big numbers for Trump again, according to exit polls, so that he actually improved on his 2016 results with white women. Perhaps that was to be expected, given how the president’s racist, fearmongering rhetoric is constantly promising to protect them from the rest of us.
But Trump also improved on his 2016 results with Latino men and women, helping him take both Florida and Texas. Despite Trump’s immigration policies, stereotypes about Mexicans as rapists and killers, and lack of strong outreach, Biden fell short with Latino voters whom he consistently struggled to prioritize. As Black voters know, the Democratic Party too often assumes that voters of color will pull through for them, and then takes them for granted. Even within Black voters, Trump did a bit better with Black men this year than he did in 2016, according to exit polls.
It’s time to retire the outdated stereotype that minorities inevitably go blue,—and to retire the “of color” myth of racial solidarity among minority voters. Black voters may remain committed to the Democratic party, given the alternative, but there’s a reason that the decades-old idea of an emerging Democratic majority of voters of color remains just an idea.
This should be the last election in which pollsters, pundits and strategists lump Black voters in with every other minority group. Trump’s blatant racism towards people of color clearly didn’t disqualify him with many people of color who have the option not to think of themselves that way. Unlike Black voters, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, Latino voters have proven time and time again that they aren’t a voting monolith.
With the exception of Arizona, Biden underperformed with Latino voters. In parts of Texas’s Starr County, where 96 percent of voters are Latino, Trump quadrupled his vote share from four years ago. In Georgia, Biden won Latino voters by 16 points—down from Hillary Clinton’s 4o-point margin. It was much the same story in Ohio.
If Biden makes it over the top, as appears likely, it will have been Black voters in major cities in battleground states who make the difference.
Once again, this nation has left it up to Black people to over-perform and deliver sanity to a country that has yet to give us the same. The sense of personal betrayal I feel right now is rage. Black voters kept our end of the bargain, and yet here we are, fighting to keep a white supremacist out of office in the middle of a pandemic that’s killing us disproportionately.