In 2008, African-Americans clinched the White House for Barack Obama by turning out to vote in record numbers. In that year's U.S. presidential election, about 2 million more black voters went to the polls than in 2004, helping it become the most racially and ethnically diverse election in U.S. history, according to a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center.
But in 2010, we regressed. Many blacks stayed home, especially in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott narrowly beat Democrat Alex Sink. We also failed to make Kendrick Meek the first African-American U.S. senator from Florida. Only an estimated 10 percent of blacks went to the polls, compared to 13 percent in 2008. By not voting two years ago, we allowed Scott and the Republican Party to make it even harder for us to vote on November 6.
Since he took office, the governor has been doing everything in his power to disenfranchise African-American voters. He's screwed us over by cutting back on the days for early voting and rolling back voting rights for people with past criminal convictions — two measures that unfairly target blacks. So, Obama is turning to absentee ballots. The Democrats have cut the Republicans' absentee ballot advantage by two-thirds compared to 2008, according to the Miami Herald. This year, absentee voting should be nearly equal.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
But African-Americans can't sit back now. Florida is the most important swing state, and Miami has its largest black population. Obama's reelection will likely be decided on the streets of Overtown, Liberty City, Brownsville, and Miami Gardens. We also have a couple of important local issues on the ballot, like a $1.2 billion bond to renovate decrepit public schools and booting do-nothing County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson.
We demand a lot of respect and equality. For that to happen, we need to show up at the polls. We can't sit on our asses complaining about how unfair the system is. If we don't vote, we can't whine about the damage Mitt Romney will do if he beats Obama November 6.
It's time to stop bitching about the white man doing this and that to us. It's time African-Americans do something for themselves. It's time we break 2008's presidential election record.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.