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They Don’t Hear Us Though: On Black Millennials and Pandering

This presidential election cycle has had historic levels of fanfare and spectacle. From the Republican party’s head clown and biggest liability, Donald Trump, spewing hate speech on loop to the divisive attacks between the Democrats and Bernie Sanders. The candidates have been made memes, gifs and farce while their platforms have survived various levels of scrutiny. This dramatization of politics also reads deeply disheartening to the undeniably visible Black resistances covering our nation (and the globe). The “Black Lives Matter” movement, as this iteration of Black liberation has been coined, has disrupted the political climate to demand recognition for the daily and systemic violence of Black folk in this country.

For complicated reasons, the Democratic party has historically been a more visible supporter of Black people, though so many young activists are disappointed by the lack of meaningful engagement by the presidential candidates in this election. That is not to say the candidates haven’t been trying. Sen. Bernie Sanders managed to keep his promise to the Bland family by saying her name in a recent Democratic debate. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton has done a more haphazard attempt to engage young black voters:she’s commodified Rosa Parks in a Twitter icon and even Nae Nae’d on The Ellen Show. It seems that the Democratic candidates are keenly aware of how black millennial voters are necessary.

In a recent New York Times piece titled “The Missing Black Millennials,”, Donovan X. Ramsey delineates how Black millennials were pivotal to Obama’s election. He states:“The Democratic Party isn’t really at risk of losing these voters to the other party. But it can’t take them for granted.” From their high turn-out in the last two elections to their increasingly visible organizing, black millennials are a critical base to engage. However, as Ramsey futher expands, even with the high turnout, many black millenials have been disillusioned by the potential President Obama’s election promises.

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