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Stacey Abrams Fights for the Black Man's Vote

Democrat Stacey Abrams is trying to earn the vote of Black men.

Recently, she was on stage with television host Charlamagne tha God and rapper 21 Savage when she was asked a question by a skeptical Black man.

“A lot of politicians speak about their plan and what they plan to do, but I also notice that I never hear a clear turnaround of when their plan will go into effect,” Soheem Perry, who lives in Suburban Atlanta, said. “If it doesn’t happen within the time that’s been promised, how should we feel about our vote?”

Perry encapsulated the alienation some Black Americans feel about the voting process. Like all political parties, Democrats court votes every election year but can sometimes struggle to deliver on promises.

But for Abrams to be the first Black female governor, she needs the support of Black men.

Some analysts suggest that Black men have trickled to the Republican vote, though a large majority of Black men have cast votes for Democrats in recent elections. The big fear is that those same voters won’t vote in a tight race.

But Abrams, who has acknowledged this possibility, produced her national profile by insisting Democrats can win Georgia, which is a longtime Republican stronghold.

“If Black men turn out in the numbers and support me at the levels they’re capable of, I can win this election, because we know Black men sometimes punch below their weight class,” Abrams said at the event covered by the LA Times. “They’ve got reasons to be disconnected. And it is not only disingenuous, it would be bad practice, for me to not do the work to show that I understand.”

Abrams has continued the work to garner the support of Black men. She has held a series of events, including a gathering in an un-air-conditioned warehouse featuring free food and T-shirts. In response to questions from Charlemagne, 21 Savage and civil rights lawyer Francys Johnson, Abrams responded with discussions of how she vehemently opposes prosecutors using rap lyrics in gang prosecutions, and how she intends to decriminalize, but not legalize, marijuana because she implores that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has disregarded efforts to make Georgia’s criminal justice system less intended as punishment.

“We need leadership that sees us, that serves us and that believes in us,” Abrams said. “The current governor has proven on every one of those metrics that he does not care.”

An underlying theme in Abrams' effort to attain the Black men’s vote is that Black women overshadow Black men in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has long been supported by Black women. It was Black women that were credited with electing Alabama Democrat Doug Jones in the U.S. Senate in 2017.

And President Joe Biden’s path to the White House was assisted by the support of Black women.

Still, Abrams understands the newfound attention on Black women plays a role on how some Black men view politics.

But she will be tasked with receiving the votes of a group of people who feel as though they are exactly where they were a few years ago. Adding fuel to this fire is that Black men maxed out their support for former President Obama.

Officials have maintained that others are saying that Democratic victories haven’t had a big impact on their lives.

“There is a cross section of Black men that manifest their frustration with failures of the Democratic Party by saying, ‘You have to earn my vote,’ Wright Rigueur, an author who wrote The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power, said.

Photo Credit: Que Jackson for The Quintessential Gentleman

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