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The power of the Black and Latino vote

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

With so much in the balance – from the public health crisis to our devastated economy to racial justice – Election 2020 will be the most important one of our lifetimes. Research shows that it is likely that the outcome of key races will be decided by Black and Brown voters, particularly in traditional swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Their power is immense, and they are motivated to use it because of the harm caused by President Trump. During his time in office, Trump has presided over the senseless killings of Black Americans by white police officers, including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others. Their deaths set off a wave of protests across the nation and are sure to factor into decisions made by Black voters this fall.

Latino voters will likely recall that Trump attempted to repeal DACA, which created fear and uncertainty for many families. The world watched as children attempting to immigrate to the U.S. were stolen from their parents and placed in cages before being sent back to their home countries. That is a picture few will forget, particularly Latinos.

Both Black and Latino voters have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 on Trump’s watch too, which is likely to fuel additional distrust. Case numbers and death rates have been significantly higher nationwide in these communities than among whites. Black and Brown Americans have also had higher rates of unemployment and have been hit hardest economically during the crisis. In June, the New York Times said that Black voters now have, “…the chance to lead the nation to recovery.” It stands to reason Trump will not be their choice to do that.

Black and Brown voters have the power to oust Trump, and the numbers prove it. A recent study by Pew Research shows that for the first time in history, Latino voters make up the largest segment of eligible non-white voters in the U.S. electorate, with more than 13 percent - nearly 32 million - being Latino. About 12 percent of eligible voters are Black (30 million). Overall, people of color in this election will account for nearly one-third (30 percent) of eligible voters, up from about 25 percent just 20 years ago.

Black and Brown women are a particularly strong coalition of voters. Many of them wield great influence in their homes, churches, and community groups. And in 2016 only 4 percent of them voted for Trump, according to CNN exit polls after that election. Based on his record in Black and Brown communities, there is no reason to believe they’ll vote for him in greater numbers this time.

A recent New York Times article claimed the “Black vote has never mattered more,” and that “the Black vote now defines American politics.” If that respected media outlet is correct, it is very bad news for the current president.

The fact is, President Trump was elected by white voters (58 percent), but more than ever before, Black and Latino votes are set to be the critical force in this election.

Both at the national level and in equally important local races, union members of all colors and backgrounds must raise our voices together at the ballot box this year if we want to make our nation a better place for everyone.

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