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Black and brown voters pulled Dems across the finish line—what are their priorities?

With a record turnout, especially in battleground states like Georgia, people of color had a major impact on the 2020 election results. But while the Black and brown electorate made their voices heard in the election, many of the organizers who registered thousands of voters say the fight is far from over -- and the Democrats they elected must now deliver by centering marginalized voices. NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano reports.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    We've been reporting on the record turnout this election of Black and brown voters, which helped impact the political process, especially in battleground states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

    Now, with the election over, many of the organizers, who helped register thousands of those voters, say the fight is far from over and want Democrats to deliver on centering marginalized voices. NewsHour Weekend's Ivette Feliciano has more.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    In the run-up to the November elections, members of United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigrant rights organization, reached out to tens of millions of undecided Latinx and first-time voters across the country, through phone banking and digital ad campaigns.

  • Greisa Martinez Rosas:

    I know that like people like myself, I have DACA, have U.S. citizens in our families that we had them, and asked them to think about us when they went into the voting booth.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Greisa Martinez Rosas is United We Dream's Executive Director.

  • Greisa Martinez Rosas:

    The record turnout of Latinos, of young people, Black and brown folks have been as part of the long term investment of organizers like myself, people in Arizona and Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. So, you know, I think that there's work to do and we will not stop until we tell the story about how this turn out wasn't an accident.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    The Black and brown turn out did not go unnoticed, as President-Elect Joe Biden acknowledged in his acceptance speech last Saturday night.

  • Joe Biden:

    The African American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I'll have yours.

  • Cherrell Brown:

    I'm not one for empty platitudes. The Democratic Party owes a great deal to the Black electorate. And it's time to pay up that tab.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Black Lives activist and writer Cherrell Brown is based in Atlanta, Georgia, where politician Stacey Abrams is credited with delivering hundreds of thousands of votes for the Democratic party.

  • Cherrell Brown:

    There will be a number of articles that praise Abrams, that praise Black and brown voters, but whether that translates into actual material benefits for those same communities is still the question.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Brown recently wrote an article for Essence Magazine, where she argues Biden's proposals for addressing anti-Black state violence aren't radical enough.

  • Cherrell Brown:

    The right has done this really wonderful job, actually, of painting President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala as this very anti-cop, socialist ticket. But nothing could be further from the truth. Biden and Harris both support giving more money to police for things like police training around anti-bias or to diversify the force.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    According to the American Election Eve Poll 2020, which surveyed more than 15,000 registered voters, Black voters named discrimination and racial justice as the second most important issue candidates should address, after the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Gary Segura:

    If only whites had voted, President Trump would have been reelected with about 56 or 57 percent of the vote.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Gary Segura co-founded the polling and research firm Latino Decisions, which helped produce the American Election Eve Poll 2020. He's also Dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA.

    He says the media's homing in on Trump's success with Latinx voters in Miami Dade county in Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas paints a misleading picture of this year's Latinx voting bloc.

  • Gary Segura:

    You're talking about a population that voted about 70/30 in favor of Vice President Biden. We think that Puerto Ricans probably gave as much as 71 percent of their vote in Florida to Vice President Biden. But it gets overlooked in Orange County and along the I-4 corridor because we spend all of our time talking about Cubans and the Venezuelans in Dade.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Segura says, though Latinos voted in higher numbers for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, 7 out of 10 voted for Biden in November, which is still above the historical average.

  • Gary Segura:

    The Latino margin will exceed the victory margin in Nevada and Arizona and New Mexico and Colorado. Latinos will have elected Senator Hickenlooper, Senator Luhan and Senator Kelly. We think Latinos gave over 120,000 vote margin to Vice President Biden in Philadelphia, which means without Latino votes, you would not have had the vice president carry Pennsylvania. This is also true for African-Americans, of course. So like all victories, there are many owners, right.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Both Cherrell Brown and Greisa Martinez Rosas say a Biden presidency might mean more favorable conditions for their political organizing, but their fight is far from over.

  • Cherrell Brown:

    Look at what's possible when people feel like they are part of the voting process. What Democrats should do, instead of diluting the message or spinning away from the most consistent and loyal voting bloc, is opening up more pathways for folks to be a part of the process.

  • Greisa Martinez Rosas:

    How do we make sure that we are ensuring that Black folks and immigrants and queer people and women are not only being heard and being put part of policy agendas, but as a culture ensuring that there's restitution for those of us who have been directly in the target of Trump. Which is why it's going to be so important to heal as a nation, to ensure that we are owning the things that happened on our collective watch, and to be really committed to bold shifts in our society.

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