If there ever was a time that Black people needed to fully understand the power of their Black dollar, as well as the need to emphasize the importance of putting their money where their true influence is, that time is now. The upcoming November 2018 elections are by far one of the most important election cycles in the history of the United States. More importantly, it is one that can’t afford to be ignored by the African American community.
African Americans make up roughly 13% of the overall population in the U.S., and have a buying power so strong that it can’t be overlooked. While having a strong and consistent buying power in itself is a powerful asset for any group to have, turning that asset into a long-term money maker and wealth generation tool is the only thing that will strengthen the overall position and status of African Americans in this country, especially in the area of politics.
With this November election right around the corner, it is a prime opportunity for Black people to realize their true collective power by joining in with one another to create one of the most important movements of this era. It is time for Black people to “TakeOver the Polls” in every local, county, state and federal election in this country.
Yes! It is time for Black people to “TakeOver the Polls” by any means necessary. This movement can only be accomplished by championing a concerted effort to register Black non-voters and strongly encouraging existing registered Black voters to get out and vote.
One of the leading voices in the Black community is aggressively mounting a push towards registering new voters and increasing voter turnout in the Black community, beginning with the midterm elections and establishing a solid foundation that goes well beyond November.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which is a trade group that represents over 200 Black-owned media companies across the U.S., has begun an initiative to register 5 million new, Black voters before the midterm elections. This effort is a bold step that is sure to make a profound impact come November.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., who serves as the president and CEO of the NNPA, is championing this bold initiative on behalf of a storied organization that is the largest and most influential Black-owned media resource in America, reaching more than 20 million readers, combined, in print and online, every week.
In addition to working with the publications within the NNPA, the campaign initiative will focus on an aggressive voter registration drive, community-level education on important issues, and a mobilization effort, which are all designed to reach young, Black eligible voters, particularly in battleground states such as Texas.
“This coming November, the 2018 midterm elections will be one of the most important elections for American Americans in our lifetime,” said Dr. Chavis. “This is about voting rights and the enormous suffering and bloodshed that our people have experienced to make American democracy real and fair. Yet this is also about responsibility.”
Dr. Chavis and the NNPA have also built partnerships with organizations like the NAACP, in order to accomplish the goal of registering these 5 million new, Black voters.
“I am proud that the NNPA is encouraging and mobilizing the Black community to get 5 million more African Americans registered to vote across the nation,” Dr. Chavis continued. “We have to TakeOver and overwhelm our political adversaries at the voting polls in 2018. This is a payback year. Now is the time!”
In order for African Americans to “TakeOver the Polls” effectively before November, however, there are several things that must be done to make it work and get the results needed to make a significant impact.
First and foremost, education about the importance of voting is critical in order to get as many Black people registered to vote as possible, as well as helping them truly understand what’s at stake.
Secondly, political candidates must ensure that Black people become more familiar with who they are, which can only be done by effectively advertising in Black media outlets, such as the Black newspapers in their respective geographic locations.
Lastly, more accountability must be placed on the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party must do more, at every level, to cultivate and show appreciation for their loyal base of Black voters if they want to truly see change during the midterm elections.
According to the Pew Research Center, 87% of Black voters identify with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic, compared with just 7% who identify as Republican or lean Republican. Black women are a driving force behind this high percentage of Black registered voters, and when they turnout, they make a huge difference.
Take the recent Alabama Senate race for example.
When Alabama Democrat Doug Jones faced a challenging and seemingly uphill battle against controversial Republican Roy Moore in their special Senate election, it was Black voter turnout that made the difference. As a matter of fact, more Black voters (29%) came out to vote in that special Senate election across the state of Alabama than the percentage of Blacks who came out to vote for President Barack Obama during his re-election bid in 2012.
After getting reports that 96 percent of Black voters voted for Jones, with 98 percent of those voters being Black women, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez sent out a tweet saying, “Black women led us to victory. Black women are the backbone of the Democratic party, and we can’t take that for granted. Period.”
Strong, but true words from the DNC Chair, but will those words translate into true appreciation for the power of the Black vote leading up to the November midterm elections and beyond?
The need for groups like the NNPA to work collaboratively with the DNC, community leaders and other groups committed to creating a political revolution, is paramount and necessary. It must start now. However, it must go beyond the midterm elections and trickle down to the local, county and state races in a major way as well.
This is just one election cycle, and while it may be one of the most important ones in our lifetime, the Black community must start today by aggressively educating, equipping and empowering Black youth, voting age adults and senior citizens, through information sharing and voter registration efforts to ensure their voices are heard loud and clear at the polls.
It is time for the African American community to “TakeOver the Polls” this November, and beyond, by joining in with the NNPA to help register 5 million new, Black voters.