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n the leadup to Election Night 2016, the vast majority of political pundits had former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton winning, with some even predicting a landslide. And though she did garner 2.8 million more votes than her Reality TV opponent, the Electoral College tally ended up awarding the White House to Donald Trump. Thus, as current polls show former Vice President Joe Biden and running mate Senator Kamala Harris leading the incumbents, and being declared victors by some, a sizeable number of the electorate are not so confident about the 2020 Presidential Election outcome. Thus, the Defender reached out to two area political science professors for their take on tips for avoiding a 2016 repeat.

Goodwin and Adams offered the following five things that could spare voters from another Presidential Election disappointment. Voter Turnout

“From what I’m seeing, it looks like folks are still trying to early vote to avoid the chaos on election day. So, it looks like folks are not being complacent as in 2016. Addressing Black Community Needs In fact, it looks like folks are, I don’t want Adams thinks the Democratic Party to say angry, but they can’t learned its lesson from 2016, wait to vote. And I think and have renewed efforts to there are a lot of young speak to Black people and people now that are more issues. He sees this energy enthused about voting; an more at the local level. infusion of young voters,” “I don’t think it’s at the said Goodwin. top of the articles of the Adams is encouraged by presidential ticket, but it’s the early voting numbers, present in the down ballot but even more enthused by issues and candidates,” said efforts by Harris County Adams. “There’s a great Clerk Chris Hollins to make deal of enthusiasm and voting more convenient. He anticipation that the Demadditionally says the demoocrats can flip the U. S. SenDr. Michael O. Adams graphic shifts nationally, ate. And if we come to the with the country getting state of Texas, for the first darker, younger and more time since 1992 we have an progressive by the day, are opportunity to flip the Texas showing up this year, as State House. We only need well as Blacks bringing an to pick up about nine seats, “anti-Trump” energy to and the way it’s looking right the polls in relation to his now, they could win as many handling of the coronavias 15 seats and take the state rus pandemic and the racist House of Representatives. dog-whistles Trump’s been With that renewed enthuaccused of making. siasm that we have seen within the Black commuDr. Ronald Goodwin Know who you’re votnity… it’s very significant.


Dr. Ronald Goodwin, Prairie View A&M University Political Science Professor, believes 2016 issue number one was a lack of voter turnout. “I don’t know if people across the country got complacent, but seven-to-10 days or so before the election, people were talking about a landslide for Hillary Clinton,” shared Goodwin. “And I wonder if people just thought, ‘Well, you know, she got this and no sense for me coming out and voting.” He then added what makes some nervous about this year’s election. “The polls showed one thing, and they just got it wrong.” TSU Political Science Professor Dr. Michael O. Adams, agrees that lower voter turnout in 2016 compared to 2012 impacted the outcome of the last presidential election. Adams, however, doesn’t lay the blame at the feet of Blacks, as many national pundits have. “If you look at who actually voted in 2016, we saw primarily white women, and one could argue, white suburban women, tipping the scales towards Trump.” Adams added that the Hillary Clinton “baggage,” some of which he assigned to the email “scandal” hyped by the GOP, was another factor in her 2016 loss. But Adams didn’t stop there. “To be brutally frank, I think the Democrats just took our votes for granted.” Adams pointed to Clinton’s absence in key battleground states as part of the reason why the energy to vote for many, was lacking in comparison to historic Black turnout in 2008 and 2012. “African American turnout was down, yes. But you have to look at the effort of Clinton in terms of appealing to voters.”

talking. Grandparents couldn’t vote. Great grandparents couldn’t vote. People, if you’re blessed enough, we can still touch to this day. We’re not talking about something 200300 years ago.” Along with teaching about historic voter suppression efforts, Goodwin stresses teaching younger voters what it means to be an elected official, to vote and to have someone represent them.

ing for, and why

Goodwin says knowing who you’re voting for and why, is another key to election success. “We live in a society that is so polarized. The minute I say that I’m a Republican or a Democrat, somebody’s going to vote for me regardless. But what policy do I stand for? Who am I as an individual? We’ve got to move away from sticking to labels. And if you vote for whomever, you need to know why. What are the issues that affect you?” Civics 101

Geneva Williams, 84, and Blanche Brown, 74, of the Elders Institute of Wisdom from the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, wait in line to cast their vote at the Palmer Center. -AP/Mayra Beltran

To avoid another November disappointment, Goodwin suggested teaching new voters civics and history. “We can go through a whole litany of how folks stopped us from voting, and look this is recent memory that we’re

Mo’ Money

Adams contends one of the biggest gamechangers between 2016 and now is which party is leading the race for campaign dollars. He mentioned the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that opened up campaigns to receive “outside money” and “independent money,” a reality that greatly benefitted the GOP. Now, however, the tables have turned. “Never in my lifetime would I have thought that a brother from South Carolina (Jamie Harrison) could raise $57 million in increments of $45. That’s just amazing. We see a lot of this independent money benefiting the Democrats. “Who would have thought that the Democratic presidential nominee would have more money than the incumbent president?”

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Houston Defender: October 29, 2020  

Houston Defender E-Edition. Houston's Leading Black Information Source.

Houston Defender: October 29, 2020  

Houston Defender E-Edition. Houston's Leading Black Information Source.