Black Chicago voters are exasperated with their lack of viable candidates and are considering not voting according to Keith Thornton Jr, a former 911 dispatcher for the city.
Speaking to Fox News in response to a recent Wall Street Journal article claiming that many black Chicagoans are contemplating sitting out the upcoming midterm elections due to increasing frustration at the consistent levels of high crime in the city and the economic conditions underpinning it, Thornton said that it’s “absolutely true.”
(Video: Fox News)
“Black people, just like myself…who have been in these communities, who have seen the bloodshed day in and day out…who, for the most part have been pretty liberal, Democratic voting for most of their lives, they’re fed up with it now,” Thornton told “Fox & Friends First” host Carley Shimkus on Tuesday.
But when they turn to the polling stations they’re disappointed by the quality of candidates being offered, feeling that ”there’s nothing here,” and are becoming inclined to “not show up at the polls” in response. Thornton noted that while the sentiment is understandable it would be the “absolute worst thing we could do” as it would simply mean keeping the “trash” they have in office now he said, referring to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker whom he claimed were “doing absolutely nothing to combat the issues taking place in our neighborhoods.”
When asked by Shimkus whether black voters would consider casting their ballot for a Republican in a long-held Democrat stronghold, Thornton said that it wasn’t “unrealistic” but voters would have to be presented with the right candidate, a “boots-on-the-ground” politician who would see the turmoil that Chicago goes through each and every day.
Referencing another violent weekend in Chicago, where over 50 people were shot and 182 people were injured due to gun violence, Thornton said citizens need a candidate who “is here for our people.”
Shimkus pointed out that things may only be getting worse for Chicago residents as the SAFE-T Act, set to go into effect in January, will eliminate cash bail for select charges. Thornton said that come the new year, Chicago will look like “you’ve entered Dante’s Inferno” and that “all hell’s going to break loose.”
“We need someone who’s gonna take the reins and be very very aggressive in the crime strategies… and stop the nonsense,” he concluded.
Thornton isn’t the only one concerned about black turnout in November. A recent Politico article echoed concerns that black voters won’t be out in full force this election. Black voters are a key foundation Democrat candidates rely upon as they vote more consistently on the left side of the aisle than any other racial category. Politico interviewed “more than a dozen elected officials, strategists and activists in key swing states, most of them Black,” and their responses showed they’re seriously concerned that the black vote could falter in the coming weeks.
Last week’s poll by Politico-Morning Consult showed that only 25% of black voters described themselves as “extremely enthusiastic” about the coming election. This is in sharp contrast to the 35% and 37% expressed by Hispanic and white voters, respectively.
“Should Democrats be concerned about African American turnout going into this midterm? Hell yes, they should be,” said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster. “History shows there’s a pull back. We shouldn’t be surprised by this.”
Belcher did say that current signs don’t reflect the type of drop-off of 2010 that saw a red wave where Republicans flipped 60 House seats, but he did caution that the black vote is still “the big X-factor” for campaigns.
In what are poised to be several tight races, the black vote could be pivotal in determining the balance of power in state and federal legislatures, and campaigns will surely be looking to focus their strategy in the coming weeks to ensure they don’t leave any ballots on the table.
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