Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change and spokesperson for Color Of Change PAC, issued the following statement on last night’s Super Tuesday results:
Rashad Robinson is available for interviews upon request.
“Yesterday’s primary results underscored significant and instructive lessons that candidates would do well to heed: Black voters can make or break a campaign. From Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropping out after seeing no pathway to the Black vote after South Carolina, to Biden taking home many southern states last night, the message is clear.
However, Black voters are not a monolith, but rather a group made up of millions of people across the country with diverse opinions. And persistent, insidious voter suppression and misinformation campaigns online mean we are not in a fair fight.
It’s clear from last night’s results that relationships and local concerns lead Black people to vote. Last night, we saw contrasts in voting by age, location, and education. Many older voters are rightly concerned with harm reduction and not losing the gains Black people have fought and died for, so we saw them prioritize candidates who they think will best protect against this outcome. For younger Black voters, we saw more aspirational voting, persuaded by descriptions of how to achieve structural change, rather than just stories of what’s not working. This should come as no surprise but serve as a mandate. Each of these votes must be earned.
To fight back against Trump and Trumpism, these voting blocs must be unified. And they can be. It is incumbent on the candidates to continue to build genuine relationships and engage with voters not only through the election but all the time. Candidates must show up in Black communities, they must listen and they must incorporate these insights into real policy.
Meanwhile, we know that Black voters in our country have been subject to increasingly aggressive campaigns of voter suppression, disenfranchisement, and misinformation on social media and on the ground in their communities. Bringing voters on board means little if their votes are suppressed.
People in power have always tried to silence, discount, and lie to Black voters. Last night was no different.
Texas closed hundreds of polling sites in Black and Latinx neighborhoods ahead of this year’s primary, making it more difficult for the voices of voters in already underrepresented communities to be heard. Many voters in California had to wait for nearly 3 hours. Thousands of voters in Washington D.C. were mailed the wrong voting date. And thousands more are also being targeted with misinformation on Facebook, thanks to the company’s allowance of false information from politicians and a lax response to Russian interference.
Changing the rules that are disenfranchising Black communities will require movement and community leaders to build power and hold whoever we put in office accountable. Voter suppression is a key issue in the race that Democratic candidates have not adequately addressed and they need to do so immediately. Candidates and all elected officials who stand with the Black community must be vigilant against attempts to block or slow access to the polls for Black voters or decrease Black turnout through intimidation or misinformation, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook.
Winning in November and making real, lasting change will require ensuring that the people on the ground and in communities, both local and national, are resourced to translate this moment to electoral wins, fight dis-information and tell a clear story about how electoral victories are only part of the equation to improve lives. To do this, the eventual nominee must engage meaningfully with movement organizations and trusted voices within Black communities.
Color Of Change PAC is a Political Action Committee focused on building independent Black political power, amplifying Black voices, electing candidates who share our values, and holding them accountable to our communities. For more information on Color Of Change PAC, visit votingwhileblack.com.