Black America Votes: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II Declares Big Swing In Southern States

The social justice leader believes the difference with this election is a matter of life and death.

National social justice leader Rev. Dr. William J. Barber says the “pain and death” of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on poor and low-income people is driving an unprecedented voter turnout in the South.

Barber is the co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and president of Repairers of the Breach.

“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,” said Barber. 


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He asserts that Democrats decided to fight in the South by putting African Americans at the top of the ticket in many states. 

“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 Poor People's Campaign has been organizing across the South. The group targeted eight states in the Sunbelt and the Rustbelt, and reportedly made more than 2 million peer-to-peer contacts. 

Barber added that the South has been “ripe for a transformative election” for a long time, but too often Democrats have accepted that it was "red." He said if poor and low-income people just voted between 5 percent and 19 percent higher than they did in 2016, that could potentially shift the outcome of the presidential race, as well as Senate races, and state-level races in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Arizona. 

 “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.”

For more Election Day news, check out BET's 2020 Election Live Blog, here. 

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