Black America, Take Your Victory Lap
We fought hard, and we won. But the movement continues.
Black people have always been the doctors of American democracy. On the morning of November 9, 2016, they gave a grim prognosis for the nation.
It was a cancer that threatened to subsume the political experiment of liberalism. Donald Trump, a racist and sexually predatory real estate mogul turned reality television star, ascended to the presidency by melding all of his previous personalities with xenophobic vitriol. He quickly assembled a political legion of doom to metastasize his will while he went out to golf. Black people predicted Americans would suffer and then die under his reign. Now, in the interregnum between his defeat and the installation of the Biden administration, America is again realizing the seership of Black personhood. More than a quarter of a million Americans have died from Covid, their last conscious thoughts of a ventilator being shoved into their airways. A disproportionate amount of those dead are Black voters who backed Hilary Clinton in 2016.
Though Trumpism endures, the man we opposed so fiercely is done. Looking back on how we fought for the last four years, Black people again served as the regenerative medicine for the American experiment.
Black people around the nation spent the Trump years taking up our grandparents’ fight and making sure that our franchise would be heard.
First, we resisted the Trump administration’s most coherent plan to marginalize Black people: voter suppression. He campaigned and exploited the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder case that turned back federal oversight of elections. Like crabgrass, states with critical masses of Black populations began sprouting restrictive franchise laws. States such as Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama passed restrictive voter ID laws, closed down polling sites in locations with Black people, and generally made it harder to vote.
Civil rights legend and Rep. John Lewis suffered to have this scourge of disenfranchisement restrained decades ago. He died this year while seeing it again influencing national politics…