Top four issues for Black voters this midterm

by J. Pharoah Doss, For New Pittsburgh Courier

Last week Terrance Woodbury, CEO of HIT Strategies, a millennial and minority-owned public opinion research firm, admitted President Biden’s approval rating amongst Black voters dropped from 86 percent to 78 percent, and 72 percent of Black voters stated that their lives have not improved since Biden took office.

Woodbury suggested that the Democratic Party has to demonstrate to Black voters that progress has already been made on their top issues. That’s the only way to get the high Black voter turnout that is desperately needed to defeat the Republicans in the midterm election.

HIT Strategies conducted a poll to make a progress report. The “top four” issues polled were Racial Justice, Climate Justice, Economic Justice, and Criminal Justice Reform.

As far as the first three, it is important to remember that when an issue ends in “justice”, that means it’s a subcategory of “social justice”, but “social justice” is a progressive priority not necessarily a priority for the average Black voter.

On Racial Justice, 88 percent of those polled believe progress was made in this area because the Biden Administration declared White supremacy a national threat and Congress passed an anti-lynching bill.

The average person doesn’t combine the terms “climate” and “justice”, but according to HIT Strategies, 80 percent of the Black voters polled believe “significant progress” was made in cleaning up existing hazardous waste, holding corporations accountable for waste, and ensuring full compensation for victims of environmental injustice.

Since Economic Justice is the core of “social justice”, it’s important to specify that “justice” means “to remedy unequal outcomes” produced by “the system”.

This time, only 13 percent of the Black voters polled stated there was “significant progress”. However, 62 percent believed there was “some progress” because the Biden Administration raised the minimum wage for federal civilian employees, canceled $50,000 of student loan debt for each borrower, and extended supplemental unemployment benefits for six months.

The fourth issue was Criminal Justice Reform.

80 percent of the Black voters polled believe “some progress” was made due to Biden’s executive orders that created a national database to track officers with misconduct claims against them, limited the use of no-knock warrants by federal officers, and banned federal officers from using chokeholds.

HIT Strategies stated that their poll proved that the Biden Administration made progress on the “top issues” for Black voters, but Black voters are broadly unaware of the progress made on their top issues, leading to cynicism, apathy, and lack of morale to vote.

Armed with HIT Strategies’ data, the Democratic Party launched an ad campaign to build the morale of their Black voting base by promoting their progress report on the four top issues for Black voters. This ad campaign also encouraged Black voters to vote straight down the democratic ticket, so the party can continue making progress.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but for a desperate measure to succeed, the Democratic Party can’t be this disconnected from the average Black voter.

Racial Justice, Climate Justice, Economic Justice, and Criminal Justice Reform are not the top issues for the average Black voter. The subcategories of social justice and criminal justice reform are issues progressives insist Black voters should prioritize as a “marginalized” community, but the average Black voter doesn’t have “marginalized” concerns for this midterm election. He or she is deeply concerned along with every other American about the growing cost of living and how a substandard American economy will be revitalized.

If Black voters lacked morale about voting in the midterms, it’s not because they were unaware of the progress the Biden Administration made on “marginalized issues”, it’s because they are fully aware they voted straight down the Democratic ticket in 2020 and didn’t want to make the same mistake in 2022.

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