Reports Show ‘Black Lives Matter’ Heavily Impacted US Polls
BLM protests were consequential for different reasons among those who voted Trump and among those who voted Biden.
Protests over the killing of black people by police officers in the United States of America occupied a large part of 2020. There were also of consequence in the run up to the 2020 US Presidential Elections, in which Democratic nominee Joe Biden was called winner on Saturday, 7 November.
But just how much did Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests matter in 2020’s US Presidential Elections, which was also shadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic?
According to an New York Times (NYT) article, dated 7 November, preliminary data from AP VoteCast says that about “nine of every 10 voters said the protests over police violence were a factor in their voting, with more than three-fourths calling it a major factor”.
“About a fifth of all voters said the protests were the single most important factor in their decision at the ballot box, according to the survey, which interviewed over 140,000 respondents by phone and online.”NYT
However, NYT also points out that BLM protests were consequential for different reasons among those who voted Trump and among those who voted Biden.
HOW BLM PROTEST IMPACTED THOSE WHO VOTED FOR JOE BIDEN
According to NYT, among those who say that the BLM protests were a significant factor, 53% voted for (now) President-Elect Joe Biden.
According to NYT, Alfonse Bowman, a Black person from Philadelphia, said that as he cast his ballot for Biden, he was thinking of how just a week before, the police in his hometown had fatally shot a young Black man. Bowman thought of Trump and said to himself: “We have to get this man out of office.”
Seventy-five-year-old Bernice Bigham, who too voted for Biden, said:
“Every time there’s a killing, I’m calling around to make sure that my Black son and my Black grandsons are OK, and that’s no way to live — it’s awful.”
Thirty-nine-year old Brooke Wright who has frequently voted for Republicans because she, like the Republicans, opposed abortion, said that this time she voted for Biden.
Her reason was that the protests made her want to change so much.
“I was ready to have the hard conversations with people who didn’t understand why I didn’t vote Republican anymore, instead of quietly staying out of those conversations.”
Wright is white and goes to an evangelical church, reported NYT. She had gone to her first BLM protest in the summer of 2020 itself, and tears had streamed down her face as she had held a sign up in support of her Black husband and two biracial sons.
HOW BLM PROTESTS AFFECTED THOSE WHO VOTED TRUMP
According to NYT, among those who say that the BLM protests were a significant factor, 46% voted for Trump.
Thirty-two-year old Crystal Daddario, a white woman and wife of an Iraq war veteran, reportedly told NYT that she thought: “All this rioting, it’s childish”.
Reportedly, the Daddarios were living in Louisville where Breonna Taylor was killed, triggering serious protests, and left the area “because it was getting too close to home.”
Adrian Anderson, a Black retail worker, who voted Trump, said that he was annoyed with the vandalism and looting of businesses amid protests over killing of George Floyd.
“I don’t think it’s Trump’s fault that the police are acting the way they are acting.”Adrian Anderson
According to NYT, Anderson is part Black, White and Native American.
THE “DEFUND THE POLICE” IMPACT ON POLLS
Amid intense protests against police violence towards Black people in the USA, calls to “defund the police” also started doing rounds.
The Democrats, according to NYT, amid counting of House votes, have debated the impact of this message.
Abigail Spanberger, a centrist Democrat, was reportedly angry with the liberals for “embracing” the calls.
However, Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, reportedly claimed that “embracing” such messages “energised” the youth, “who will ultimately save the day in the race for the White House.”
Notably, Biden had distanced himself from the progressive wing of the party and, according to NYT, opposed the idea of defunding the American law enforcement. Trump, however, had made multiple “false claims” to suggest otherwise, reported NYT.
(With inputs from New York Times.)
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