This election isn’t personal for black voters: it’s business

This election isn’t personal for black voters: it’s business

For black voters, armed with the legacy of our ancestors and the power of our voices, this election is not just a moment of choice, but a moment of negotiation. It’s not about party loyalty; it’s business—the business of using our collective power to create a fairer and more just society for our communities and, by extension, all Americans.

The stark reality is that any increase or decrease in black voter turnout could dramatically change the outcome of the election. And increasingly it looks like it could happen. A Gallup poll released yesterday found that 66 percent of black adults in the U.S. approve of being a Democrat, up from 77 percent in 2020.

This fact should not only be a wake-up call for both parties, but also a constant thought that accompanies them from morning to night.

Our vote this year is not just a vote, but a powerful statement of negotiation. It’s not just political participation; this is a strategic conversation for the betterment of our communities and country. Our voice is a powerful bargaining tool that demands significant progress on systemic racism, economic inequality, health care access, education and criminal justice reform.

This year presents a critical opportunity for black Americans to redefine our role in the political landscape, to demand more than just participation. Our determination is backed by undeniable evidence of our electoral significance and the urgent need for policy change. We are not just participants; we are the drivers of democracy. The needs and aspirations of our communities must be at the forefront and our support must be earned.

2024 is a contract year for black voters. It’s time to negotiate from a position of strength, using our voice to secure commitments that will shape the future of our communities. This point affirms our participation in the political process as both a right and a responsibility, a tool to drive change and build a fairer and more just society.

The tireless sacrifices of previous generations compel black voters to use our political power effectively—requiring that both parties actively work to meet our needs. Choosing to stay at home is a terrible, dangerous and ill-advised decision, but it remains a choice that has influence in the context of negotiations. If you don’t want black voters to stay home, then you have to give them a good reason not to.

Placing the burden of “saving the world” on Black America is a critical misstep. Instead, the onus is on both political parties to negotiate in good faith, recognizing the value and necessity of securing black support. It means engaging with our communities not as a monolithic voting block to appease with empty promises, but as a diverse group of citizens whose concerns, aspirations and lives are integral to the fabric of this nation.

Our voice is a testament to the legacy of our ancestors, a resource to be used to achieve justice and equality, to ensure that the political system works for us, not against us.

It’s not about party loyalty; is to provide the best possible deal for our communities. This is a business negotiation where the terms are set by a commitment to address the systemic problems we face. Democrats may have an advantage, but much work needs to be done to translate that advantage into concrete policy victories for Black communities.

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Both sides need to understand that the Black vote is key and go to bed dreaming of ways to win it. Both parties must embrace this understanding, recognizing that the road to victory is paved with real efforts to win the black vote through real change and real commitments.

The Black vote is a powerful key to the future direction of this country, and it’s time for both parties to address that reality with strategies to not only secure votes, but to serve and uplift Black communities in tangible ways.

Michael Starr Hopkins is the host of the “Political Roots” podcast.

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