November 3, 2020
Social justice leader Rev. Barber: Poor & low-income people, Black candidates put the South in play in this election
Statement from Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and president of Repairers of the Breach, on today’s vote:
The South is in play today because it’s always been in play. For two decades, fusion coalitions on the ground across the former Confederate states have been organizing and building power. The difference this year is that wedge issues like abortion and race baiting are not driving the vote, but matters of life and death are. The pain and death of COVID-19 and its impact on poor and low-income people is driving an unprecedented voter turnout.
Also, Democrats decided to fight in the South. They put African Americans at the top of the ticket in many states, and those candidates have drawn African Americans and progressive whites and Latinos in those states. They have also put forward women and progressive whites who can win by championing an agenda that would help most people.
The South has been ripe for a transformative election for a long time, but too often Democrats have accepted that it was “red.” Early on, Vice President Biden talked about taking on Texas, and many commentators ridiculed him. We have been organizing with the Poor People’s Campaign in the South, and we knew that in a number of states in the South, if poor and low-income people just voted between 5% and 19% higher than they did in 2016, they alone have the power to shift the outcome of the presidential race, Senate races, and state-level races in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Arizona.
We targeted eight states in the Sunbelt and the Rustbelt and made more than 2 million peer-to-peer contacts. We know that the South is the key to fundamentally changing the country, and we are so glad that the political structures are finally catching up and the media is finally catching up to where the movement has been for a long time.
CONTACT: Martha Waggoner: firstname.lastname@example.org