What are the issues facing the Black Community this midterm election and how will the Black Community vote? What has changed to benefit the Black community since the presidential election in 2020? Do African American voters get the respect they so richly deserve?
According to a June survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, nearly 4 in every 10 American citizens indicated that their personal finances/cost of living (44%) and inflation (40%) were the two most important issues they believed the U.S. government should work on and address within the next year. Surging gas prices, high energy costs, increased transportation costs, soaring food costs, out-of-control rent, increased housing expenditures, and other standard expenses have severely impacted many African Americans.
Many African Americans have shouldered the burden of having to adjust to these unpredictable and out-of-control costs and have had to pinch pennies to keep up with the inflation.
Outside of those economic concerns, issues such as criminal justice reform, crime reduction, health insurance and prescription drug costs, housing costs, sensible gun reform, and equitable educational offerings, are also some of the most important issues that are important to Black people. On top of that, the voting rights of African Americans are being targeted and threatened every day. Issues regarding voter disenfranchisement, voter intimidation, and voter suppression are not new. Protecting the voting rights of African Americans has been an ongoing fight for centuries and one that cannot be ignored. Voting matters. Voting makes a difference.
As midterm election voting has already started in Texas, one must ask whether these political candidates are truly concerned about the interests of the African American community.
According to the Pew Research Center, African Americans account for 13.6% of all eligible voters in the United States this midterm election cycle, and Texas has the largest number of eligible Black voters, with 2.7 million.
Let’s be honest!
With 2.7 million eligible voters in Texas, it is a fact that the African American voter seems to always be the deciding factor—yet many of these political candidates continue to take the Black vote for granted.
This election cycle, just like many in the past, there has been little to NO major outreach and little to NO major investment of money spent in the African American community!
Most candidates, especially incumbent ones, are facing some of the stiffest challenges and allegations and still have not reached out to the African American community.
Many of these political candidates and incumbent elected officials have huge war chests, and their campaign finance reports reflect that the money is definitely being received but is NOT being spent with entities who truly reach the Black community.
Again, there has been little to NO major outreach to the African American community!
I mean, what have these political candidates truly done to speak to the issues that are important to the African American community and inspire Black voters to go to the polls?
The money is being spent and the messaging is on full display.
Potential voters continue to be bombarded by television ads on any given network during key television shows, where nearly every candidate on the ballot is attacked.
Who is actually speaking to the concerns of Black people?
Political signs are visible all-over Black neighborhoods, placed by campaign operatives hoping that causes you to remember their respective political candidate.
How does that connect with Black people?
Radio attack ads and print mailers have become more frequent.
Who is talking about the issues that are most important to Black people?
Many candidates have done the traditional church visit—here and there.
What about the Black people who don’t go to church regularly, but are still eligible to vote?
When it comes to communicating their plans to develop, advocate for, and vote to pass solid public policy that will help the African American community, we typically hear crickets.
Many of these same political candidates also disappear and are never heard from again until they decide to run for office again.
Sadly, this has been a consistent pattern for decades, and many of these candidates get a pass for doing nothing that they promised they would do—win or lose.
Political candidates and incumbent elected officials must be called out and held accountable for not doing everything in their power to educate and do substantive outreach to Black voters.
Despite this stark reality, African Americans MUST NOT be deterred or dissuaded from voting.
The worst thing that African Americans could ever do, especially during these tumultuous political times, is stay home and NOT vote.
There is a reason that certain legislation has been passed to make it harder for Black people to vote!
There is a reason that the voting power of Black people is always targeted and attacked!
There is a reason so much money is being given to select candidates who support efforts to suppress the Black vote through voter suppression and voter intimidation tactics!
That reason is simple—Black votes always make the difference, and everyone knows it.
Voting has a profound impact on who represents you, who makes decisions on the legislation that will directly impact you, and who decides how critical resources come your way.
Your vote matters—whether you believe it does or not—and EVERY Black person will be held accountable and will have to abide by all legislation that is passed by these candidates you choose to vote for or not. No level of complaining or regret will change that.
NO community can thrive without having effective representation!
Without solid and effective representation, the strength of the African American community is weakened, and the collective voice of the people is ignored.
The collective voice of Black people has been loud and resolute as to what has been demanded from the elected leaders in Texas and across this country. Black people across Texas did not collectively advocate for Critical Race Theory legislation or loose gun laws or restrictive voter bills. It is time for candidates to speak up for Black people and fight for common-sense legislation that improves the quality of life for African Americans, not deteriorates it.
Again, these candidates should be doing better outreach to speak to the issues that are important to Black people. All Black people don’t strictly rely on the internet or social media to get their news and information, so political candidates and their campaign operatives need to stop trying force a square peg into a round hole and do outreach in ways that Black voters trust and rely on.
Although most of their outreach to the African American community has been a colossal failure, their failure to do so should NOT stop you from voting.
Exercising your right to vote during this midterm election will define who will be placed in office and who will help influence the public that will impact all Black Texans.
Again, these political candidates should be doing better outreach to speak to the issues that are important to Black people, but their failure to do so should NOT stop you from voting.
There are absolutely NO excuses!