The great divide. Democrat. Republican. The 2020 Presidential Election was split down the middle of America’s soul as Joe Biden and Donald Trump locked horns and attempted to attract voters from all walks of life to see who would be leading the country over the course of the next four years as commander-in-chief.
Two of the main groups of voters each candidate tried to connect with were African Americans and Latinos voters who in the past have been the driving force for the winner. The Black and Brown vote once again played a key role in this election as well. Both demographic groups were instrumental in an election where nearly 160 million people cast their ballot, according to the U.S Elections Project.
With the Black Lives Matter movement infiltrating its way into the fabric of America’s consciousness by way of civil disobedience rallies and protests to shed a light on police violence against African Americans and people of color, securing the Black vote seemed essential in this election. There are two names that particularly resonated with Black voters in this election: George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Because of this dynamic, Black voters wanted change.
A record of 30 million Black Americans was eligible to vote in 2020, with more than one-third living in nine of the nation’s most competitive states – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Dr. Anthony Samad, Executive Director of the Mervyn Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute (MDAAPEI) on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills believes that the Black vote was an important turn in the election, especially against Trump.
“The Black vote was the tipping point this election, Samad said. “All of the states Trump won in 2016 because either a suppressed vote was not excited about Hillary or because of the voter suppression that rejected Donald Trump. I think it was significant.”
African Americans overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden with the former vice president receiving 89 percent of the Black vote. Only nine percent of Black voters cast their ballots in favor of Trump. For Samad, this voter turnout was due to Black voters not siding with Trump this election and losing support from some Republican voters.
“[Trump] made subtractions with Black voters because this time there was an incentive,” Samad said. “Trump’s hyper racism, his leanings towards white nationalist and white supremacist behaviors created a record for himself. In 2016 he didn’t have one; this time around, he did.”
One state that got flipped by the African American vote was Georgia, which has not been a blue state for the past 28 years. By the slimmest of margins, Biden flipped and won the state 49.5 percent to Trumps’ 49.2 percent.
Biden and his presidential campaign can thank Stacey Abrams for helping Democrats turn things around in the Peach State. Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, lost the Georgia governor’s race by 55,000 votes in an election that was marred by allegations of voter suppression.
Abrams decided to recuperate and organize a committee in which she helped an estimated 800,000 new voters register to vote and help turn Georgia blue. Abrams did not win the governor’s position, but her victory made inroads for the Biden campaign to be successful.
“If you broke down the numbers even more in the battleground of Georgia, Stacy Abrams is getting credit and adulation because Black women voters came out in record numbers, they always do, but more so in Georgia, Gary Hardie, Jr of the Social Justice Learning Institute said on the flipping of Georgia. “The stakes for them were much higher.”
Hardie also believes that the work Abrams and local organizations did to get everyone they know to vote is the main reason why states such as Georgia turned blue in the voting process.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Latino vote population has been growing and that means more eligible voters for the two main presidential candidates to persuade.
Biden received 70 percent of the Latino vote. Trump tallied just 27 percent.
“[The Latino vote] was a reflection of the countries population,” Hardie said. “We know that the so-called minority in America are starting to form the new majority. The Latinx vote here was crucial again because that is a larger part of the population in California.”
For Hardie, Latino voters were looking to see which candidate would best show concern for their issues, which includes immigration.
The battle for the Latino vote was pressed more so in the states of Arizona, Texas, and Florida.
One of those particular states that got attention for its Latino voter turnout was the southeast state of Florida. Most Latino voters sided with Biden, but it was a battleground for both candidates to gain recognition. There were nearly 2.5 million Latinos registered to vote in Florida, making up 17 percent of the state’s registered voters, according to the Pew Research Center. Under their demographics for Hispanics, they make up 24 percent of the population in Florida.
Biden and Trump’s core battle in Florida was Miami-Dade County which went down to the wire. Biden wound up winning the county by just seven percentage points. The county is made up of approximately 68 percent of Latinos, most of whom voted for Biden. However, the outlier of voters who were in favor of Trump came from conservative Cuban Americans.
Cuban Americans (29%) and Puerto Ricans (27%) are Florida’s two largest Hispanic origin groups when looking at eligible voters.
Trump touted himself as a true American who cared about Cuban issues. Trump schematically injected suffrage of this group of people under the regime of Fidel Castro as a way to get the Cuban vote. One way of securing that vote telling Cuban Americans Biden was a socialist. This may have been a heavy contributor to the Cuban vote leaning more in Trump’s favor.
Last month in the run-up to the election, former President Barack Obama had to ensure to voters that Biden was not a socialist.
“Some of the rhetoric that you’re hearing down here in South Florida, it’s just made up, it’s just nonsense,” Obama said at a drive-in rally in Flordia weeks before the election. “Listening to the Republicans, you’d think that Joe was more communist than the Castros! Don’t fall for that garbage.”
Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade County and around the state helped Trump secure Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
Even with the record number of voters for both Black and Brown voters, it is important to cast a ballot because there is a sense of pride. Yet, it is still an uphill battle with the suppression each side must endure to not just cast a vote. Some Black and Brown communities must face voting suppression head-on with either having limited areas to vote or being uninformed properly about the election.
“It is not blatant and it’s not overstated, but it is an application of duty to provide greater access of voting options to Black and Brown communities,” Hardie said. “It definitely makes a lack of access and you are at a disadvantage with the system.”