“This election is more important than the 2008 election for Barack Obama. The 2008 election was about changing and making history. This election is about saving the United States,” Richards said, citing concerns about racial justice and the oppression of black voters. “The racial division that is happening needs someone who will be a leader for everyone, not just their base.”
There are huge numbers of black voters across the country. They are betting a lot this year, they say, and no less than their health and safety is on the ballot.
Many said it felt like the most important choice of their lives.
Many black voters say they do not trust Trump
So far this fall, African-American voters have been rushing to the polls at a much faster rate than four years ago when Hillary Clinton was on the ballot.
By Tuesday, more than 601,000 black Americans had voted earlier in Georgia than about 286,240 two weeks before the 2016 election. About 192,775 voted in Maryland, compared with 18,430. And California had more than 303,145 – compared to more than 106 360 two weeks before the election four years ago. That’s according to Catalist, a data company that provides analysis to Democrats, scientists and progressive advocacy organizations.
Keith Green, 65, went to the polls last week in Overland Park, Kansas, to vote in person – for several reasons.
“We have a racist president who lies too much,” he said. “He goes on to say he doesn’t trust Democrats. Well, after everything that happened to the ballots, I don’t trust Republicans.”
Some prominent black Republicans, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Kentucky Attorney Daniel J. Cameron, sang his praises.
Green said the Trump administration made him worried about the future of his daughter and two grandchildren. He believes Trump has encouraged white leaders and brought the country back on the path to civil rights and equality.
“The last four years have been so bad,” he said. “We can’t stand another four years of that.”
Other concerns include health care and the structure of the courts
Wilburn Wilkins, 61, woke up early on Oct. 7, put on two masks and headed to the voting center in Joliet, Illinois, with his wife. Although the pensioner has pre-existing conditions, he wanted to vote in person.
“We have a president who is totally tearing up our entire democratic constitution,” Wilkins told CNN. “Many people are dying because he ignores the Kovid pandemic, ignoring the fact that people are unemployed and in need of financial resources. We need change.”
Like Green, he believes that White House decisions have undermined blacks and other minorities.
“Nominating a Conservative in the Supreme Court, arranging lower courts to have friends to implement conservative ideas, is likely to affect the people of Black and Brown,” Wilkins said. “They will affect things like civil rights, Obamacare – all of these things have the potential to have a negative impact on minorities.”
There are many bets on this election, said playwright and composer Nolan Williams Jr., 51, who lives in Washington and plans to vote in person on election day.
“For African Americans in this country, voting is the most effective way for us to make the change we seek. Given the events of this summer, it is crucial for our community to turn our social protests into political action,” Williams said. the deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor and the ensuing unrest.
“Healthcare, fair housing, including equal access to housing loans, poverty, the environment, significant reforms in our justice system and improvements in community policing are all issues that make these elections critical,” he said.
Some voters are distrustful after the 2018 elections.
Kee-Kee Osborne, 42, of Mabelton, Georgia, said one of the reasons she voted in person this month was to make sure her vote was counted.
“For me, the outcome of this election will be the difference between truth and deception, decency and dishonesty, inclusion and intolerance,” said Osborne, who works as an information technology manager.
“The words, actions and policies of the current administration (Trump) have deepened the marginalization of blacks over the last four years. It is imperative that our community participate in the process because we have the opportunity to vote for change at every level.”
“I wanted to make sure I voted in person,” she said. “These elections are so important to blacks because of current events like the murder of George Floyd and Breona Taylor (s) in the way the coronavirus pandemic has affected disproportionately blacks,” she said. “This revealed the long-standing institutional racism and racial inequalities that exist in America.”
But for Gakere, the most important issue is maintaining health care under the Affordable Care Act.
“We have family members with pre-existing conditions and we think there is a risk that it will be canceled,” she said.
With election day on the horizon, Wilkins has a message for black voters.