Black leaders across the country are stepping up calls to galvanize voters as the days wind down to the crucial midterm election on November 8, where Democrats are bracing for big losses that will give Republicans control of Congress and important political seats in state legislatures.
As the conservative U.S. Supreme Court determines whether to outlaw affirmative action in college admissions after striking down the landmark Roe vs. Wade abortion case, leaders from the NAACP, National Urban League and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) have mounted get out the vote campaigns leading up to next week’s midterm elections.
President Obama this week visited Georgia to campaign for Democratic candidates, hoping to capitalize on record early voting turnout numbers that go against Republican candidates.
In Illinois, questions remain whether a campaign from far-right candidates can translate into votes by Black voters who have grown disillusioned in Governor JB Pritzker’s first term in office.
With crime still a problem, no Black-owned cannabis dispensary in Chicago and concerns of Pritzker running for the White House in 2024, questions remain whether he can get the critical Black vote to defeat Republican challenger Dan Bailey.
In Bronzeville and other Black neighborhoods in Chicago, anti-Pritzker flyers have been popping up on car windshields, mailboxes and newspapers, blaming the governor for Chicago’s crime problem. The Black and yellow flyers have also been accused of being racist with a photo of a Black child next to the message.
But Governor Pritzker is still leading with double digits in the polls, and is expected to easily win a second term. Pritzker will hold his election night results party at the Marriott Marquis near McCormick Place.
Other Democratic candidates running for federal, state and local offices in Illinois, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Democratic candidate for the Illinois 1st Congressional District Jonathan Jackson, are expected to win their races next week.
With new precinct locations throughout Chicago, there is concern that the change will create confusion and hurt voter turnout.
On a national level, Democrats and President Joe Biden face the possibility of losing control of the U.S. House and Senate to Republicans who are set on taking back America with an agenda that will roll back civil rights gains Blacks have made over the decades.
Needing just one Senate seat to win control in the Senate, Republicans are looking at Senate races in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where Herschel Walker is leading by a point in polls over Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.
In a fiery October 30 sermon that has drawn over six million views on Twitter, Reverend Jamal Bryant of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia, blasted Republicans for getting Walker to run against another Black candidate as they try to take control of Congress.
“In 2022, we don’t need a Walker, we need a runner. We need somebody who’s going to run and tell the truth about January 6. We need someone who is going to run and push for the cancellation of student loan debts. We need someone who’s going to run and make the former president respond to a subpoena. We need somebody who will be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding, knowing your labor is not in vain.”
In the governor’s race in Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams seeks to make history as the state’s first Black female governor, but she trails eight points behind incumbent Republican Jack Kemp less than a week from the election. On October 31, she appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central.
In the Senate race in Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are in a dead heat in the days before the midterm elections.
Since President Donald Trump was ousted in the 2020 presidential election, Republicans have attacked voting rights and affirmative action policies that have helped Blacks and minorities gain equal access to education and business opportunities in America.
That has America’s Black leaders on edge, as they urge Black voters to head to the polls. Their calls have sparked record turnouts in Georgia, where early voting numbers have already smashed records of the 2020 presidential election, when the state flipped to blue as it propelled Biden to the presidency to defeat Trump, sparking stricter election laws from Republican lawmakers in the Peach State.
Those laws have now appeared to backfire, amid the record turnout to the polls recorded during early voting. By October 25, a record one million voters in Georgia went to the polls during early voting.
In the red state of North Carolina, hundreds of student voters at the historically Black Winston-Salem State University marched to the polls on October 27. Shouting “Black Votes Matter;” their march was captured on video that was posted on Twitter.
On November 1, NAACP President Derrick Johnson tweeted, “In just ONE week, we’re pulling up to the polls to elect candidates who are focused on our communities, concerns, and rights. Are you ready?”
That same day, NAACP Attorney Sherrilyn Ifill tweeted, “I voted!
Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, has been counting down the days to the election on Twitter. On November 1, he tweeted, “Election Day is a week away. But in many states, you can skip the wait and vote early.”
In New York City, Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is pushing Black voters to head to precincts as Republican challenger Lee Zeldin takes on incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul in the state’s governor’s race.
Sharpton’s organization on October 19, tweeted, “Eric Garner, George Floyd, Buffalo – the list will keep growing until we have substantive change that addresses systemic racism at its root. New York City’s time for action is now, with #RacialJustice on the ballot this November 8.”