The recent unrest caused by the killing of George Floyd has created a local and national backlash. People are protesting and even rioting in the streets. They are causing fires, looting local stores, and creating havoc that is undermining civil society. While the anger and energy are understandable, it is time to do something more constructive, positive, and long lasting. It is time to turn the anger into energy. Use the motivation for revenge and for change to engage in constructive civic actions. Let’s honor the tragedy by ensuring the future will be better.
Here is what we need to do. As people gather to protest, make sure everyone is registered to vote. Efforts should be made to ensure that everyone participating has either registered or pledged to register to vote. The future of our country depends on people showing up and doing what many former Republicans, such as columnist George Will, have recommended: vote against every Republican running for office. The Republican Party is no longer a party separate from Mr. Trump…the Republican Party is totally now the party of Trump. Will has said Trump’s gross and comprehensive incompetence now increasingly impinges upon the core presidential responsibility. This should, but will not, cause congressional Republicans to value their own and their institution’s dignity and exercise its powers more vigorously than they profess fealty to Trump. He has issued a categorical refusal to supply witnesses and documents pertinent to the House investigation of whether he committed an impeachable offense regarding Ukraine. This refusal, which is analogous to an invocation of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, justifies an inference of guilt. Worse, this refusal attacks our constitutional regime. So, the refusal is itself an impeachable offense.”
Leading Republicans have been warning us to take a stand against the President. Colin Powell, the retired general who served under three Republican presidents, said the party “has got to get a grip on itself.” Powell criticized Republican members of Congress for staying silent as Trump’s efforts to pressure a foreign power to target a political rival were exposed in the impeachment trial. Republican leaders, Powell said, “are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out.” He continued, “When they see things that are not right, they need to say something about it, because our foreign policy is in shambles right now.”
There is a strong reason to focus on voter participation this year. The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in the last presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. The 7-percentage-point decline from the previous presidential election is the largest on record for blacks. (It’s also the largest percentage-point decline among any racial or ethnic group since white voter turnout dropped from 70.2% in 1992 to 60.7% in 1996.) The number of black voters also declined, falling by about 765,000 to 16.4 million in 2016, representing a sharp reversal from 2012. With Barack Obama on the ballot that year, the black voter turnout rate surpassed that of whites for the first time. Among whites, the 65.3% turnout rate in 2016 represented a slight increase from 64.1% in 2012. And remember, Trump only won the election by getting about 75,000 more votes in 3 states…otherwise he would not have won the Electoral College. Thus, the decline in Black voters is perhaps one of the main reasons Trump is in the White House.
So, lets turn people’s anger into action. Especially in the Black community where we seek justice and fairness in our country. Focusing on voter registration and voter engagement could be the turning point in the 2020 election. Use the energy and activism of today’s citizenry to register 80% of all voter groups, including Black voters. Then victory and a brighter future will be within reach.