At some point we must reckon as a country with the moral perversion of asking the people with the knee of the state on their necks to subdue their attackers. Yes, that is the African-American story—that we fled plantations and led slave revolts to demand our freedom. But that is not a reasonable expectation of citizens in a functioning democracy. The institution of slavery did not die until white Americans were willing to risk something to insist on a better way for the country.
We must stop holding as a broad cultural expectation the idea that African Americans need to overperform in the voting booth to stave off fascism. Black people, especially Black women, consistently show up in large numbers to insist that America does not have to go the way of white supremacists and fascists. Based on the early numbers in this election, Black people could break records in places like Georgia and Texas. It is the energy that young Black voters are bringing back to the South—helped along by the vision of Stacey Abrams—that might actually change the political landscape of the country.
And it is white voters, and increasing numbers of men across racial demographics, who show up to kill the hope of an expanded democracy. If Trump wins, white Democrats might have to accept what so many of us who are not white already know—the future of the country is young, Black and brown. Those are the people who represent where progressive politics is headed, and it is their votes that should be courted.