Vote or Die

When Donald Trump ran for President in 2016, he would frequently go before large, almost exclusively white, crowds to ridicule and disparage the Black community. Standing before the howling masses he would declare that schools in Black communities were uniformly lousy, their neighborhoods were violent and poverty-ridden, and there were drugs everywhere. And for good measure, he would condemn Black leadership for being largely feckless and too beholden to the Democratic Party.

He then would say given Black Americans were such failures in life, why don’t they vote for him for President to improve their rotten circumstances. “What do ya have to lose?” he would bellow out to the laughing and cheering crowds of right-wing supporters.

Now four years later, and 220,000 plus Americans dead, and more than 8 million infected from a worldwide deadly Covid-19 pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown Americans, coupled with a massive economic recession that has seen the Black unemployment rate triple and 40 percent of small Black-owned businesses close, it has become crystal clear to Black Americans what they have to lose under a Donald Trump presidency. And it is everything.

When civil rights and other African American leaders claim the November 2020 election is the most important in our lifetime, it is not hyperbole. It is a hard, cold, fact.

Indeed, in many ways, it all comes down to Black Americans seizing the moment to take back control of their lives through the ballot box, or to continue with Trump as President and on the road to annihilation. It is a matter of deciding to “vote or die.”

Among the most glaring examples of President Trump’s deadly reign over America has been the almost laser-like precision of the Covid-19 impact on people of color in America and Black people in particular.

In fact, according to the APM Research Lab which conducts research projects of all types Black Americans experience the highest actual COVID-19 mortality rates nationwide—two or more times as high as the rate for whites and Asians, who have the lowest actual rates. In fact, in their most recent report from Oct. 15, they noted that if African Americans had died of COVID-19 at the same actual rate as white Americans, about 21,800 Black, 11,400 Latino, 750 Indigenous, and 65 Pacific Islander Americans would still be alive. The report states:

Adjusting the data for age differences in race groups widens the gap in the overall mortality rates between all other groups and whites, who have the lowest rate. Compared to whites, the latest U.S. age-adjusted COVID-19 mortality rate for:

    • Blacks is 3.2 times as high
    • Latinos is 3.2 times as high
    • Indigenous people is 3.1 times as high
    • Pacific Islanders is 2.4 times as high, and
    • Asians is 1.2 times as high.

 

Given Trump’s dismissal of the depth and breadth of this deadly disease across America, his callous disregard for the impact it has had on the Black community in particular – where studies have shown as many as one-third of all Black Americans know someone who has died from the disease – and utter lack of any coherent plan for getting the country out of this mess, changing leadership in the White House is a matter of life and death.

The Covid-19 pandemic is only the most obvious example of the vote or die choice Black Americans must make this election. From the very first day he took office the he and his administration has engaged in a non-stop campaign of assault and marginalization of the Black community. It has been relentless in malevolently attacking sacred civil rights victories ranging from voting rights to fair housing policies, from police reform to equal opportunity laws and from access to equal education. It has resegregated the federal courts and packed them with bigots and white nationalists who have even refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the seminal Brown v Board of Education decision and gone so far as to ban the practice of diversity training in federal agencies and calling the Black Lives Movement a “symbol of hate.”

It is no wonder that Washington Post-ABC News national polls conducted in late September and early October, found former Vice President Joe Biden leading Trump by 92 percent to 8 percent among Black likely voters. Additionally, three Post-ABC polls conducted since August found on average that 86 percent of registered Black voters are either certain to vote or have already voted, up slightly from 80 percent in 2016.

And while he and his Attorney General William Barr have denounced the BLM movement they have loudly defended armed white militants in Michigan who stormed the state capitol to protest Gov. Whitmer’s efforts to protect citizens from the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. And even defended a white teen who shot and killed two anti-racism and police brutality protesters in Wisconsin.

And as the Washington Post recently noted, “Trump has also vowed to safeguard the legacies of Confederate generals while skipping the funeral of the late congressman John Lewis (D-GA), a civil rights icon, and retweeted — then deleted — video of a supporter shouting “white power.” He has questioned the electoral eligibility of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), the nation’s first Black and Asian American candidate for vice president from a major party; in doing so, he reanimated a version of the false “birther” claim he used to suggest that Obama may not have been born in the United States.

The Post quoted Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher who said, “Trump is much more than a threat to Black Americans’ right to equality under the law; he is a threat to their very existence.”

“There is no group of Americans who are more vested in this democratic experiment, historically, than the Black person in the United States of America,” Belcher said. “Black people are voting as their lives depend on it.”

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