Black Lives Matter movement in the face of US elections 2020

The role of pressure groups and civil society organizations is crucial in the elections of any State. It is all the more important in a country which is the flag-bearer of democracy as of now, i.e. the US. Even when it comes to presidential elections, what matters is when people organize together to bring about change. The 2020 US election is up ahead and the memories of George Floyd is still fresh. George Floyd was one of the latest victims of police brutality against black people which is frequently seen in parts of the US. With the nation already under the reign of a widely claimed racist leader, the people have had enough, and protests broke out in almost all 50 US states. As a flag-bearer of democracy and equality and as a country that everyone looks up to, it seems like the US public is determined to bring in the long-awaited changes.

Image: Clay Banks/Unsplash

The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The movement stayed alive and got national recognition after the death of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014. The movement returned to national limelight recently in 2020 with the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. An estimated tens of millions of people participated in the protests that followed, calling for defunding the police and investing into black communities.

President Trump has openly declared that he is all about law and order, however, the situation is that law and order takes a blind eye while police carry out brutality against the black community. Democratic candidate has called for more police accountability in a time when black lives have been devalued in society. National polls say that 61 percent of voters were in favour of BLM, which gives Biden a political advantage. Voters from various races who support BLM will be inclined to vote for Biden and not President Trump, who has been known to be a racist. President Trump in 1989 had brought out newspaper advertisements calling for the adoption of the death penalty after the Central Park Five incident, which saw five black and Latino men who as teenagers were wrongly convicted of a brutal rape. President Trump had refused to apologize for his ad. Add to this his obsession with the wall, Trump’s chances in the upcoming elections seem tough while BLM holds its head high.

U.S. President Donald Trump/ Image source: Reuters

The famous hacktivist group who call themselves ‘Anonymous’ reemerged after the death of George Floyd. Earlier, this group had threatened to target the city if protestors were harmed after the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. They had also declared war on the Ku Klux Klan by revealing details of alleged members online. This time they took down the Minneapolis police department website temporarily in a suspected DDoS attack. Older accusations against President Trump were also circulated on social media by this group.

There have been several other pressure groups that have been working against the current system in US. The most notable among them is the Lincoln Project, which consists of several current and former Republicans. Their main aim is to prevent the reelection of Donald Trump in 2020. In April 2020, this committee even endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The Lincoln Project produces anti-Trump ads and relies on Trump himself, his words and actions. Their video titled Unfit attacked President Trump for his mismanagement of the COVID 19 pandemic in the US. They also released a video a titled Mourning in America, in style with Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America campaign of 1984. It highlighted the fact that America was weak and sick under the leadership of President Trump. The video released in early June 2020 titled #TrumpIsNotWell projected President Trump to be physically unfit, thereby making it clear that a physically unfit person is unfit to lead the US.

The America media itself puts relentless pressure on the President by criticizing and mocking his illogical actions whenever needed. The late-night sketch-comedy show Saturday Night Live and late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! have taken the lead in this matter. Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of Donald Trump in SNL has become widely popular. The comedic portrayal of President Trump highlights his inefficiency as a President and makes it clear how Trump has been failing America. On the other hand, besides criticizing Trump for each of his policies, Kimmel had also subtly called out Trump for being a racist in his Oscar monologue. The mainstream media hates Trump as much as the previous generations hated the Vietnam War. The White House media downplays Trump’s achievements but highlights even his minor mistakes. When Trump is without a mask, he gets accused of not taking precautions. When he does wear a mask, the narrative is that Trump has bowed down to logic and given up on his no need for mask policy.

Jonathan Swan, a reported for Axios, in his interview with President Trump successfully exposed his lies by asking him basic follow-up questions. On the pandemic, Trump said that there are those who say that one can test too much. Swan pressed for details by asking who says so, to which Trump replied ‘’Oh, just read the manuals. Read the books’’. When asked what books, Trump moved on without offering any direct answer. Trump even blamed the testing as a reason for the coronavirus cases, which actually makes no sense, as testing only reveals the existence of cases. On Afghanistan, Trump said that the US is “largely out of Afghanistan”, which was untrue, as there were still more than 8000 troops in Afghanistan. Trump claimed that he has done “more for the Black community than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, whether you like it or not.” When Swan asked him specifically if he thinks he did “more than Lyndon Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act,” Trump said yes. All of these go to prove President Trump’s inefficiency and his total grasp of reality. Come elections, these will be a factor.

Federal officers disperse Black Lives Matter protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Undoubtedly, pressure groups play a significant role in US politics. Pressure groups along with political parties convey the needs of the society to the government and its officials. Pressure groups do not have any elected members. Their members come together for a common goal. They try to influence legislation with the support of the public. Pressure groups have been playing an increased role in US politics in recent times. The National Rifle Association partly funded Bush’s campaign with its million members with an expectation that the newly elected President would fulfil his promise of not interfering with existing gun laws. President Clinton faced pressure from both logging groups and environmentalists when the loggers wanted parts of Washington State opened to them whereas the environment groups protested that rare species found there were likely to become even rarer. The passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and Voting Acts in 1965 was a result of the pressure from Martin Luther King and his black American community. The resurgence of the BLM movement might have similar results, which we will see as a part of the outcome of US elections of 2020.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Prantik Basak

Prantik Basak is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti

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