By Peter White
NASHVILLE, TN — Blacks, Latinos, and Asians overwhelmingly voted for the Biden-Harris ticket and sent Donald Trump an eviction notice last week. He’s got two months to vacate the White House. It was a fitting end to the regime of an unpleasant and jingoistic loudmouth who divided the electorate and diminished U.S. standing in the world more than any previous President.
By the slimmest of margins, voters in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan picked Biden over Trump. Trump refused to admit defeat in those battleground states and vowed to take court action “to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
It won’t make any difference. Trump has lost. But living in denial with a set of alternative facts, indeed, in an alternative reality, is Trump’s normal state of being. His political genius lies in how well he has convinced nearly half the country they are living in it with him.
Despite what he says, it’s every man for himself in Trump’s America. He loves playing to an adoring crowd because he is the center of attention. He loves insulting his enemies on Twitter because he remains the center of attention. That’s what Trump really cares about—being in the limelight. He really doesn’t care about anybody else. He heard Biden had won Saturday while on his way to play golf at his course in Sterling, Virginia.
Trump convinced his supporters that their problems are the country’s problems and that socialists, Black Lives Matter activists, and criminal aliens are to blame. A reality check is long overdue.
Four years of Trump have eroded traditional American values of decency and fair play and the coronavirus has killed more than one quarter million people in nine months. That’s four times the number of American soldiers killed in Vietnam from 1954 to 1975.
“Thank you for saving our democracy,“ said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration reform organization. He was talking with reporters from the ethnic press on a conference call last Friday.
“If not for the minority vote we would not be celebrating the victory we are celebrating,” Sharry said.
He said immigration did not become a wedge issue in the 2020 election and a record number of Americans voted against Trump’s xenophobic immigration policies. He said most voters didn’t want to close down immigration, didn’t like separating families or gutting political asylum, and didn’t want to close a path to citizenship for the Dreamers.
“They chose on the side of America being a welcoming country,” he said.
“The most defining feature of American politics is the Black American vote,” said Theodore R. Johnson, a senior fellow at Brennan
Center for Justice.
“There is no other voting block in the country of this size with this amount of electoral power that behaves in the way that the Black American electorate does for this long,” he said.
For at least sixty years, 90% of Black Americans have voted for the democratic candidate for President and also for democrats in Congressional elections. It’s been like that ever since the Civil War when Black voters lumped themselves on one side or the other of our two-party system.
Johnson said this strategy was a way to exercise collective power through racial solidarity and further civil rights. Voting as a block is also a way to protect against overt racism from one party.
He said African Americans supported Joe Biden in the primary season, and not more progressive candidates like Cory Booker or Bernie Sanders, because they were practical. They thought Biden had the best shot to beat Donald Trump and they thought he would draw white votes away from Trump in battleground states.
Johnson said picking Kamala Harris as his running mate contributed to the increase in enthusiasm and an increase in Black turnout for this election. He also said the hardships 2020 has brought to Blacks underscored its importance to them.
“This is the highest turnout in 120 years and this thing is razor close,” Johnson said.
The lopsided support for the Democratic ticket in the Black community was high and grew higher because the coronavirus has hurt Blacks more than it has others. Johnson said when the economy started to fail, Blacks were laid off at disproportionate rates and their unemployment rates were disproportionately high.
On Memorial Day George Floyd was killed. And people heard about how Brianna Taylor was killed in March and Ahmaud Arbery in February.
“A summer of racial justice protests plus high unemployment, low economic security alongside a coronavirus pandemic, contributed to lots of voter enthusiasm to remove Donald Trump from office. And that explains why we’re seeing Atlanta change Georgia, Philadelphia change Pennsylvania, Milwaukee change Wisconsin, and Detroit change Michigan. And that is the power and the enthusiasm of the Black vote,” said Johnson.
Latino Presidential votes broke down about 70% for Joe Biden and 30% for Trump. Asian Americans voted the Democratic ticket at roughly the same percentage. Two exceptions to this occurred in Florida where 38% of Latinos voted for Trump and in Texas where 29% voted for Trump.
Democrats did not do as well in Congressional races and down ballot state contests as they had hoped. They will hold onto a majority in the House but may not get a majority in the Senate.
“If you are a state legislator or U.S. Senator or if you are a congressperson who did not expect to do the work and expected to ride
coattails in this election and you lost, the lesson here is Latinos cannot be ignored especially on election day,” said Dr. Stephen Nuño-Perez, an election analyst and associate professor at Northern Arizona University.
He said it takes engaging Latinos on the ground in order to win. The DNC did not do much old-fashioned block canvassing because of the health risks from COVID-19. Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minnesota got around the handicap by finding someone who lived in an apartment building to campaign for her. She won handily although other Democrats who relied on phone banking did not.
Nuño-Perez said Latinos are a very diversified group. Anti-communist Cubans in Miami voted for Trump as did many ex-pat Venezuelans. Many Puerto Ricans living in Central Florida were swayed by Trump’s recent release of hurricane relief funds.
“But keep in mind that Miami-Dade did go to Biden. Tampa Bay did go to Biden. Orlando did go to Biden, Broward County did go to Biden,” Nuño-Perez said.
He struggled to analyze what happened in Florida because some polls predicted it could flip blue.
“Largely what happened was white voters. They turned out in numbers. Latinos turned out in numbers. Blacks turned out in numbers. Asian Americans turned out in numbers. We can see that we had a very motivated base on both sides as a referendum on Donald Trump and what was going on with COVID-19.
“These communities were just being ravaged by COVID-19 and responding to that on Election Day,” he said.