As each day creeps toward November 3, it’s crunch time for Black voters as they hit the polls,
sometimes waiting for hours, just to make sure that their vote is counted. Louisiana alone
recorded twice as many Black voters to its polls in the first two days of early voting than that of
- There is a new sense of urgency in the air for the 2020 election as Black voters seek out a
candidate that will truly serve them.
Among this population is a uniquely influential demographic–Black Christians. 79% of Black
Americans identify as Christian in some capacity and presidential candidates have routinely tried
to attract this sect of voters each election year according to Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Detroit,
founder of the Impact Network, the largest privately owned African American TV network in the
world. Jackson himself interviewed President Trump in 2016 ahead of the election and spoke
with him about his plans to support the Black community as the nation’s leader.
As a known figure in the Black Christian community nation-wide, Jackson stays in tune with the
political interests of these voters and recorded what is most important for them in this year’s
election, with the fight against racial inequality at the forefront.
“George Floyd was just a tipping point,” Jackson said. “When you look at the injustice and
things that are happening to our community some of these things have been created by the
system. With George Floyd, African Americans are very passionate about that. Whether you’re
wealthy, middle class, minimum wage, we know this has been a plague to our community down
through the year.”
The resurgence of the Black Lives Matter in mainstream media has put all eyes on President
Trump and former Vice President Biden. In the wake of pervasive racial injustice Black voters
want solutions. Answering calls from protestors to defund the police is a demand for many but
Jackson says that among his scope of voters, that isn’t the ultimate goal.
“Having to tell my children to make sure if you’re gonna be pulled over by a police officer you
say ‘yes sir,’ ‘no sir’ and avoid confrontation with them, this is stuff that we have to deal with
and its real,” Jackson said. “You may have some people talking about ‘defund the police,’ but
you know that’s ridiculous. If something happens in the community we’re calling the police. I
thank god for good police officers, but you also have those who are in the department who hurt
African Americans and have also taken a lot of lives.”
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S., Black Christians are seeking
recovery, and need their next president to take the matter seriously.
“The pandemic has changed the way we worship across the country and world,” Jackson said.
“As we move forward whoever is elected must be able to take care of the covid-19 situation.
Until we get rid of the virus there’s always gonna be a situation that people feel that they’re not
safe to go out and worship.”
Racial equality and pandemic response are in tandem with economic recovery for Black
Christians’ main concerns. Internal polling among 502 registered African American voters
reported that 80% see Vice President Biden and Senator Harris (D-CA) to be best suited to tackle
these issues, though social-desirability bias could be at play.
Jackson and the Impact Network focused on voter outreach in their recent programming,
working with journalist Ed Gordon to produce an informative interview series with experts in
fields ranging from medicine to politics. They hope to educate voters in an unbiased way and
guide them to a better understanding of how the 2020 election could affect them.
“As the founder and president of Impact Network we owe it to our viewership to at least give
them the opportunity to hear both sides cause you’ve got to choose one of the other,” Jackson
Regardless of the election’s outcome Jackson believes that it will be a moment of historical
“When they count all those votes it could not go the way that people are looking for it to go,”
Jackson said. “Whether it’s Biden and Harris or Trump and Pence the country is so divided in the
middle that we will definitely see a revelation.”
Black Christians are demographic to watch out for and as the fight for racial equality rages on,
these voters—like many Black Americans—continue to expect more from the U.S.
“When we look at all of that stripped of your name, stripped of your heritage through slavery
whoever is gonna be the next president–it can’t be a lot of rhetoric,” Jackson said. “It can’t be a
lot of false promises because we’re disenchanted with that, we just need change.”