13:12 GMT25 November 2020
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    Black Lives Matter (BLM), the political and social movement which came to international prominence this summer via a wave of anti-racism and police brutality protests, acts of civil disobedience and confrontations with law enforcement, did not officially endorse a candidate in the 2020 election, although many of its leaders have done so.

    BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors has asked the Biden team for a meeting to discuss how the would-be president-elect plans to support the group’s agenda for African Americans.

    “Without the resounding support of black people, we would be saddled with a very different electoral outcome. In short, black people won this election,” Cullors wrote after congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for their presumed election win.

    Pointing to the organisation’s heavy investment in the 3 November race, including via the 'Vote and Organize’ motto and “electoral justice” outreach to more than 60 million potential voters, Cullors got straight to the point, saying “We want something for our vote.”

    “We want to be heard and our agenda to be prioritised,” she continued, noting that she would like to meet to “discuss the expectations that we have for your administration and the commitments that must be made to black people.”

    “We issue these expectations not just because black people are the most consistent and reliable voters for Democrats, but also because black people are truly living in crisis in a nation that was built on our subjugation. Up until this point, the United States has refused to directly reckon with the way that it devalues black people and devastates our lives. This cannot continue,” Cullors emphasised.

    The activist urged Biden and Harris to adhere to a “well-thought out, community-driven, fully resourced agenda that addresses the particular challenges faced by black people.”

    In a speech dedicated to his presumed victory on Saturday, Biden thanked the African American community for ‘standing up’ for him, promising to make racial equity made one of his administration’s four top priorities, alongside the coronavirus, the economy and climate change.

    Trump Makes Inroads Among African Americans

    Cullors has previously characterised Trump supporters as “racists,” and compared the President himself to Adolf Hitler and “literally the epitome of evil, all the evils of this country.”

    Despite the unflattering description by Cullors, BLM and other Democratic-leaning groups, Trump has reportedly done better with Black voters in 2020 than he did in 2016. According to exit polling by AP VoteCast, Trump won 8 percent of the black vote on 3 November, which is about 2 percent points more than he did in 2016. Exit polling by Edison Research found Trump securing as much as 12 percent support among African Americans, including 18 percent among black men and 8 percent among black women. At the beginning of the year, before the coronavirus crisis and police brutality protests beginning in late May, between 20 and 30 percent of African Americans expressed approval for the Trump presidency.

    On the campaign trail, Trump promised to reduce unemployment rates among African Americans back to pre-coronavirus lows, including a $500 billion ‘Platinum Plan’ of investment to “Uplift black communities". Trump also accused his opponent of openly racist statements and policies, including the 1994 crime bill which resulted in a spike in incarcerations of African Americans for non-violent drug offences. Biden’s own running mate, Kamala Harris, clashed with the candidate for his alleged opposition to federally mandated busing to racially integrate public schools in the Seventies.

    Despite these issues, Biden and Harris nevertheless were projected to have won the vast majority of the Black vote on 3 November (about 90 percent, according to AP, or 87 percent, according to Edison). The majority of African Americans have voted Democrat since the Civil Rights era, with no Republican presidential candidate receiving more than 13 percent of the African American vote since 1968.

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