Looking for Black Votes

Adam Lawrence Dyer
4 min readNov 14, 2019
Gov. Deval Patrick — Official Photograph

The 2020 presidential candidates are all clamoring for the black vote. Even though Trump basically won the election with virtually no black support (Clinton had 88% of the black vote to Trump’s 8%[1]) Trump recognizes that his below 50% presidency means that he has no insurance policy…particularly with the government actively working against foreign interference, Julian Assange behind bars, Roger Ailes dead and Mark Zuckerberg turning into the anti-Christ. Trump recently launched his initiative to court black voters in Atlanta where he rolled out his 2020 freakshow and freak-self asking the crowd “What do you prefer…’Blacks for Trump’ or ‘African-Americans for Trump?’ “[2]

This is the problem for all of the candidates courting the black vote…not just Trump but the “top tier” Democratic candidates as well. None of them seems to have any kind of depth of knowledge or experience actually knowing any black people.

I have regularly put the challenge to my congregation “who do you know?” Another way to put it is, what does your world look like? My challenge to them and to the candidates is to actually take a close look at their world. If everyone in your world looks and sounds just like you or is some variation on the same, you are going to have a devilish time connecting on an authentic level with people outside of that bubble. It is not impossible to connect, but short of getting to know every single person everywhere it takes intention and a little bit of magic; it is the gift of the true politician. Obama had it as did George W. Bush for all of his failings. It is a specific blend of authentic interest in people and a really clear understanding of your own world.

This ability to navigate and swim among strangers is something that I had to learn to be successful as a Cruise Director. As I was transitioning into ministry, I recognized a need for this kind of awareness for religious professionals and communities that were trying and failing to make “multi-cultural” connections. I developed a series of workshops that ask people to take a personal inventory of their world. In the workshops I invite an honest conversation about how that world shapes their worldview. But the most important piece is asking participants at the end to commit to putting this self-knowledge into practice. I ask people to let go of a sense of perfection and show…