Column

It’s Time for Politicians to Care About Black Men

Listen up, candidates: You need us more than you ever have. But what can we expect from you?

Mike Muse
LEVEL
Published in
8 min readFeb 25, 2020

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Pete Buttigieg marches with South Carolina McDonald’s workers as they demonstrate for a $15 an hour wage and the right to form a workers union on February 24, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Dear Democratic candidates,

Between now and the Democratic National Convention in July, when the party officially chooses its nominee to challenge Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, 47 states will hold primaries and caucuses. Three have already done so. Yet now is perhaps the most crucial moment for Black men. Why? Look to the Palmetto State.

As the first heavily Black state to hold a primary each election year, South Carolina has become a mecca of sorts, a chance for you candidates to prove you can appeal to Black voters and get out the all-important Black vote. And tonight, the seven of you who remain contenders will take the stage in South Carolina to prove yourself to the voters who will decide your fates at Saturday’s primary.

But there’s a problem. You don’t actually care about Black men.

You need us, without question, but there’s still a commonly held perception that Black men don’t vote. We’ve been blamed for loss of national and midterm elections, and assumed to be too apathetic to even participate in our democracy until one of your campaign volunteers drops a poster at our barbershops. (Do they even stay for a cut?)

We want the big, bold campaign promises. We want to be seen smiling in your campaign television ads, without being used as a symbol of poverty or overcoming hardship. We want policy proposals that speak to our whole selves.

Have you ever stopped to ask why voter turnout is low among Black men? It’s because we’ve never been made to feel like we matter in this country — and that’s especially evident when a presidential election cycle comes around, and the only time candidates mention us is in the context of police and prison reform. On the debate stage and at campaign stops, it’s as if we…

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Mike Muse
LEVEL
Writer for

Mike Muse Intersects Politics x Pop Culture. He is host of "The Mike Muse Show" on SiriusXM & Co-host "Sway in the Morning" on SiriusXM & ABC News Contributor