In case you forgot Texas, today is Election Day. Across the Lone Star State, voting is already happening like never before. As of Thursday evening, over 3.7 million Texans had already voted. This shatters previous records from 2012 when 3.1 million residents voted early, and there’s still one full day of early voting results to go!!
But even in this era of historic voter turnout, important questions remain, like who is turning out to vote at such high numbers? According to the Washington Post, this turnout does not appear to be driven by the African-American community…
By most accounts, Hillary Clinton’s path to victory relies on substantial turnout among black and Latino voters. And while early voting numbers so far appear to favor the Democrats, reports in recent days have suggested that although Latino participation may be up, African American turnout may be lower than in 2012. How concerned should the Clinton camp be?
In 2012, African Americans overperformed in states such as North Carolina and Texas. But this year, black voting rates are trailing other groups relative to their size of the electorate, with some swings on the order of 5 to 10 percentage points.
Per the Texas Tribune, African-American Texans led the state in 2012, voting at a higher percentage of their total population than any other racial or ethnic group. This is a very interesting fact given all of the negative stereotypes out there which suggest that the Black community is ‘uninformed’ or ‘uninterested’ in elections. But so far in 2016, Black voters appear to be trailing other parts of the state in the early vote, and are significantly behind their landmark participation rates from 2012.
This lack of voter enthusiasm should be an alarm bell to Democrats. How is it possible that a candidate as divisive as Donald Trump has not inspired huge turnout in all minority communities??
One prominent African-American is highly concerned, and that is President Obama.
This week on the Tom Joyner morning show, he had this to say, via Black America Web…
If you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, you are going to go and vote. And if you don’t know where to vote, go to www.iwillvote.com .If you’ve already voted, but your mama hasn’t voted, your cousin hasn’t voted, your nephew hasn’t voted, I need you to call them and say that the President and Michelle personally asked you to vote. It’s not that hard. And I know it’s not that hard because we’ve done it before.
But if we let this thing slip and I’ve got a situation where my last two months in office are preparing for a transition to Donald Trump, whose staff people have said that their primary agenda is, to have him, in the first couple of weeks, sit in the Oval Office and reverse every single thing that we’ve done – all the work we’ve done to make sure people get overtime, all the work we’ve done to make sure women get paid the same as men for doing the same job, all the work we’ve done so that 20 million people get healthcare, all the work we’ve done to make sure we’re doing something about climate change, so that we don’t have a situation where the whole world is not scrambling to figure out where they’re going to live and where they get enough water and crops failing and bigger hurricanes – if I’ve got to look at that the last two months, because folks stayed home, even going on the Tom Joyner cruise won’t help me then. If I’m on the cruise, I might jump off.
So yes Black America, sadly the nation’s first Black President is not on the ballot. It is a difficult fact to accept, but that should not be an excuse. Donald Trump’s policies on education, banking, the economy and a myriad of other aspects of American life would decimate the black community. He has promised time and again to pass on massive tax cuts to the wealthy, which will lead to divestment in minority communities. If a President Trump were to actually scrap the Department of Education and end student financial aid to college, it would bring about the swift demise of universities across the country, with Historically Black Colleges and Universities among the first to close their doors. Even if President Obama himself is not on the ballot, America needs to know that in 2016, Black Votes Matter.
Early Voting may be over for Texas, but there’s still a chance to vote this Election Day. Don’t wait until it’s too late!!