Who votes, who is at home, who mails or drops ballots can all play a key role in the outcome of the US presidential election. Race and racism are important in motivating and oppressing voters.
Voting in the United States is voluntary, unlike Australia and a few other democracies. People must be motivated to vote, whether directly or by mail.
However, due to the polarization and tribalization of the people, it is very difficult to keep the potential of voters away from long-term loyalty.
Therefore, candidates mobilize promising supporters and seek to suppress their enemies. Campaign strategists intended that Donald Trump’s performance at the first presidential debate would show power. They wanted this to appeal to white women. White women are losing support in important states.
Instead, Mr. Trump strongly suggested that he wanted their help from the white supremacist group Proud Boys.
Democratic theorists argue that high turnout brings legitimacy to the political system by ensuring that all voices are heard in the process of democracy.
But in reality, efforts to manipulate election participation, especially to oppress black voters, have been an important theme in the history of American elections.
The enslaved people could not vote. After the Civil War in the 1860s, newly liberated African Americans seized control and sent several men to represent the southern states in Congress.
But as early as the 1870s, white Americans systematically deprived black voters (and many poor whites) of their rights through various regulations, including property and educational provisions. Men under the infamous “Grandfather Clause” decree could only vote if their grandfather was also eligible to vote in the years prior to 1867. Ballot box violence has separated African-American men and African-American women since 1920 for decades.
Mr. Trump told his followersElection Voting WatcherHe evokes exactly this history that dominated southern politics until the civil rights movement.
A new way to suppress voters
Since the movement, the majority of African-American voters have elected Democratic presidential candidates. As a result, new forms of repression have emerged to thwart them.
Since 2010, 25 states have introduced measures to make voting difficult. For example, voters must register before the election or present photo ID at the time of voting.
In 11 states, people convicted of felony are banned from voting for life, in some cases, after the sentence has ended or the fine has been paid. These laws have left 6 million adults out of the right to vote.
All of these methods affect poorer and less educated Americans than wealthy Americans. Non-White Americans, especially African Americans, Native Americans, and, to a lesser extent, Latin voters, are most affected.
In Florida, where this disfranchisement affected more than 20% of African Americans, voters overturned the ban. Republican state legislators quickly found a way to prevent 775,000 people from voting as unqualified persons with unpaid legal costs.
In neighboring Georgia, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp barely overtook a popular Democratic challenger, African-American Stacey Abrams, in the 2018 governor’s election. His success mercilessly disqualified 53,000 voters, 70% of whom were African-American and only 20% were Caucasian, resulting in questionable “signature matching” requirements.
On the contrary, both camps need to encourage their supporters to vote. African-American turnout was higher in the 2018 midterm elections than in 2014. Joe Biden, who needs to secure enough Democratic supporters and anti-Trump adult votes, hopes this trend will continue.
African Americans have more reasons to vote than usual. These include involvement or proximity to the prominent Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. A surprisingly high rate of African-Americans infected with COVID-19 and dying. The greater economic impact of the health crisis in the African-American community. And the possibility of electing Kamala Harris as the first African-American female vice president.
Mr. Biden’s eight years as Vice President of Barack Obama, and their apparently effective professional and affectionate personal relationships, may help inspire African-American voters. A Big question Mobilization generated through the BLM rally translate With high participation by minorities Young people In the election.
Mr. Trump needs to mobilize a large group of white women who voted for him in 2016.
However, recent national and major state polls suggest that Mr. Trump has already lost a significant proportion of white women, whether or not he has a college degree. Voting does not necessarily lead to election numbers, but in this case it may reflect the unprecedented involvement of suburban white women in the Democratic grassroots movement since 2016, following the trends of the 2018 midterm elections. There is.
In 2020, stakes will be particularly high
The 2020 elections seem to be a huge issue not only for public policy, but also for the future of election participation in the United States.
Mr. Trump has questioned the voting process for much of the last four years. If he can convince the Republican legislature to revoke the popularity vote on suspicion of fraud, there is a constitutional scope to select the electoral college to represent the state. This would undermine the basic ideal of “one man, one vote” almost unprecedentedly.
As is likely, both attorneys are preparing to bring the fight to court if the election results lead to controversial election participation questions. These controversies could go to the Supreme Court, perhaps including a new judge. That decision could shape the territory of election participation for the foreseeable future.
Voting restraint in the Trump era is not in step with the long-term trend of more comprehensive inclusiveness. Mr. Trump’s next four years are likely to create more obstacles to participation.
In contrast, the Biden-Harris victory offers an opportunity to prevent further erosion of democratic participation. It will also show new heights in representing African-American women in federal politics.
Claire Corbold was previously funded by the Australian Research Council. She is a member of the Australian Greens.
Zimbabwe is currently funded by the Parliament of Victoria and has previously been funded by the Australian Political Research Association, the New South Wales Election Commission, and the Institute of Government (Australia).