Voting amongst African Americans slumped in the 2016 Presidential election. According the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012.
But we learned from that mistake and this week we showed up and showed out on Election Day. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) reports that Tuesday night saw Democrats winning big across the country, as well as black candidates winning in several races nationwide. In a statement, DNC Political and Organizing Director Amanda Brown Lierman credits these victories to a major turnout from the African-American community.
“The DNC knows that the victories we celebrate this morning would be impossible without the massive support from the African-American men and women who made up about a fifth of the commonwealth’s electorate. Undoubtedly a cornerstone of our party, black voters continued to surge to the polls in a tremendous way, set the tone for future elections, and paved the way for government that truly represents them. That’s exactly why we will continue to engage black communities across the nation and fight to ensure every single eligible voter has the power to exercise their franchise.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, investing in communities of color was central to November 7th’s tide-turning victories. In Virginia, 100 percent of our investments went into doubling the number of organizers and putting boots in the ground. Since last summer, we’ve been committed to spending on a mail program that targets and reaches out to black communities. We know that when we invest in the core of our party, we win. That’s why we invested in a black women’s mobilization program, InCharge. Yesterday in Virginia, over 90% of black women cast ballots for Governor Ralph Northam. These women are the reason we won last night’s elections, and they’re the reason we’ll win in 2018.
“Because of all this, we saw black voters turn a purple commonwealth to blue. We saw Virginia Lt. Governor-elect Justin Fairfax become only the second African American elected to statewide office. New Jersey voters elected their first female African-American lieutenant governor in Sheila Oliver. And now Charlotte has elected its first-ever African-American mayor in Vi Lyles.
“With their ballots, African-American communities across the nation sent a loud, resounding message to Republicans who stand with Donald Trump and try to use his hateful rhetoric as a vehicle for political success—you do not represent us.”
As published in The Amsterdam News, the Black Democratic victories were:
· Justin Fairfax, Virginia lieutenant governor-elect
· Second-ever African American elected to statewide office in Virginia
· Sheila Oliver, New Jersey lieutenant governor-elect
· First-ever female African-American lieutenant governor of New Jersey
· Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council
· First-ever openly transgender African-American woman elected to U.S. public office
· Vi Lyles, Charlotte, North Carolina mayor-elect
· First-ever female African-American mayor of Charlotte
· Yvonne Spicer, Framingham, Massachusetts mayor-elect
· First-ever mayor of the new city of Framingham
· Wilmot Collins, Helena, Montana mayor-elect
· First-ever African-American mayor in Montana
· Melvin Carter, St. Paul, Minnesota mayor-elect
· First-ever African-American mayor of St. Paul
· Jonathan McCollar, Statesboro, Georgia mayor-elect
· First-ever African-American mayor of Statesboro
· Brendon Barber, Georgetown, South Carolina mayor-elect
· First-ever African-American mayor of Georgetown
· Mary Parham Copelan, Milledgeville, Georgia mayor-elect
· First-ever female African-American mayor of Milledgeville
· Booker Gainor, Cairo, Georgia mayor-elect
· First-ever African-American mayor of Cairo