November 13, 2020; USA Today
“Black people did that. We defeated Trump. Now it’s time to celebrate while letting folks know #TheWorkIsNotDone,” reads a statement on the Movement 4 Black Lives (MB4L) website. After a resounding victory, M4BL advocates are preparing for what is to come, staying organized and mobilizing locally to begin the hard work of rebuilding “brick by brick a world deserving of Black people.”
The data show that communities of color, urban areas, and increasingly diverse rural areas helped Biden take the presidency, particularly in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia. Overall, these communities helped Biden achieve a popular vote margin of 5.6 million votes and counting. And the election’s record turnout makes clear that people came out in droves to exert their right to vote despite the many barriers: a pandemic, voter suppression, government intimidation through the White House, active dismantling of the US Postal Service, and an unprecedented wave of pre-electoral litigation.
In fact, Frontline journalists decided to build a database to track as many as 400 litigation cases that were brought up before the 2020 election. These included litigation from both parties to make it easier to vote, led by liberals, as well as to tighten voting restrictions, led by conservatives. The record-breaking litigation well surpassed the 196 lawsuits seen in the Bush vs. Gore election in the year 2000.
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In 2013, the GOP released a now-forgotten report that called for the creation of a Growth and Opportunity Inclusion Council to create a “broad grassroots” effort to promote the inclusion of communities of color, Latinx communities in particular. “If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we have to engage them and show our sincerity,” it read. “When it comes to social issues, the Party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming. If we are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues.” But the GOP has instead placed greater energy in scare tactics and voter suppression.
When the Black Lives Matter movement says, “Black people did that. We defeated Trump,” they understand that it was the power on the streets of the people of all colors—led by people of color—which brought down one of the most dangerous presidents in US history, one who the country could take decades to recover from.
Democrats are well aware that advocates expect to see promises converted into policies, and quickly. Some steps to make reducing racial disparities a priority are beginning to show in Biden’s transition team, but advocates know they must keep pressing leaders to deliver. High on their agenda is economic justice and shifting resources in overpoliced communities into housing, health, and environmental justice. NPQ covered the four planks of M4BL’s BREATHE Act platform back in September.
“One election alone won’t bring us liberation. We’ve got to be in it for the long run,” reads M4BL’s statement calling members to continue their hard-won victory.—Sofia Jarrin