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ICYMI from NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson: “Frustration with Racism is Coming to the Ballot Box”

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A New York Times op-ed from Derrick Johnson, president and chief executive of the NAACP, lifts up the findings and implications of polling conducted for the NAACP by the African American Research Collaborative and Latino Decisions, analyzing voters’ views in 61 of the nation’s most competitive midterm congressional districts.

According to Matt Hildreth, Political Director of America’s Voice:

Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans will try to distract voters and turn us against each other for their own political gain, but the poll finds that Americans are not having it. As Derrick Johnson reminds us, we must now take our “frustration to the ballot box,” mobilize others to do the same, and reject Trump’s cruelty, cronyism and divisiveness in favor of leaders who will work for all Americans — who see all of us as equal, no matter our race or place of origin, and implement new solutions that will make this a more fair and prosperous place for everyone.

Below, find key excerpts of Derrick Johnson’s New York Times op-ed, titled, “Frustration With Racism Is Coming to the Ballot Box”:

A new poll on voters’ attitudes in the nation’s most competitive House races showed that when it comes to perceptions of racism, there are two Americas — one in which people of color are distressed by President Trump’s rhetoric and policies and another in which white Americans are far less convinced that there’s a problem.

Conflicting perceptions of racism have always existed and should be expected, but this year, the divide may shape the outcome of the midterm elections.

…We found that African-Americans stand to play a key role in 21 of these races, making up from 7 to 24 percent of the voting-age population. In 31 of the key races, voters of color represent 20 to 78 percent of the voting-age population and are positioned to have a significant impact.

Based on this, we expect their perceptions of Mr. Trump’s racism and his party’s acceptance of it will motivate them to cast votes for Democratic candidates.

According to the survey, 77 percent of blacks believe Mr. Trump’s statements and policies will set race relations back. Of white voters, 51 percent feel this way, while 75 percent of Latinos, 75 percent of Asians and 64 percent of Native Americans agree.

Eighty-one percent of black respondents were angry at Mr. Trump for something he has said or done, while 61 percent of whites felt the same. Unsurprisingly, the poll also revealed that 82 percent of black voters felt disrespected by something Mr. Trump has said or done, while only half of white voters did.

Among black people, Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and policies tended more to create negative emotions, with survey respondents associating them with words like “angry,” “disrespected,” “ashamed” and “afraid.”

For anyone paying attention to our community, it was no surprise that black women, one of the nation’s strongest voting blocs, felt disrespected by Mr. Trump at a nearly 90 percent rate. This sense of disrespect was also seen among black men and other groups of color. We found that 70 percent of Latinos and 69 percent of Asians also felt disrespected.

It’s easy to understand where this perception comes from. Many of us believe Mr. Trump has enabled a surge in publicly expressed racism. He ignites our collective memoriesGov. George C. Wallace of Alabama standing in the door blocking the entrance to a school with every insult directed toward immigrants, Muslims, or N.F.L. players protesting the killing of unarmed black people.

…Whether we look at the Justice Department’s pushing back against consent decrees to rein in police misconduct, Mr. Trump’s nearly all white and male judicial nominees, or the Education Department’s decision to pull back on investigations of civil rights cases, we see a pattern that devalues the gains that many earned through the ultimate sacrifice. It would seem that Mr. Trump’s White House is engaged in none other than a war against civil rights.

We have waged war against the foes of civil rights for over 109 years, and, as such, perseverance in this fight inspires no fear in us. But if voters of color, along with white voters who see what we’ve experienced during this presidency, take their frustration to the ballot box, we can win the next battle.