I woke up the day after Election Day thankful that the sun rose and that God had provided me with grace to be a part of a new day.
I then turned to the online news of the day to find out what was happening and one of the first things I read was the Washington Post 2020 Election Day exit poll results.
I immediately went still; then, feelings of sadness and frustration overwhelmed me as I processed what the exit poll revealed: the racial, gender and partisan divide appears to have grown even wider than it was in 2016.
First, the exit poll showed that for the Democrats that voted for Joe Biden for president, the top issues that motivated them to vote were racial inequality, the coronavirus pandemic and the importance of containing the virus. The Republicans who voted for Donald Trump, identified “the economy, importance of rebuilding the economy and crime and safety” as the top issues that motivated them to vote. Unsurprisingly, racial inequality was at the bottom issue of concern for Republicans.
Democratic presidents have not won the majority of the white women voters since Bill Clinton won his second term in 1996. So, the reality that race trumps gender in presidential elections is nothing new. And Black women, as always the Democratic Party’s most loyal voting bloc of women voters, did their jobs. They voted 91% for Biden and the majority of other women of color voted for him, too.
One of the exit poll questions that concerns me even more personally as a COVID-19 survivor was that 76% of Republicans that voted for Trump believe that “rebuilding the economy now, even if it hurts efforts to contain the virus,” was more important to them than containing the virus.
As I continued to deal with my disappointment and frustration, two very timely conversations gave me the motivation I needed to get my day going with determination to keep the faith. First, I was on a Black leadership call focused on demanding that all eligible votes be counted. On that call, one of my colleagues reminded us that, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space” and we have to keep up the fight for justice.
Immediately after the Black leadership call, I joined my daily staff call and one of our team members shared a Bible verse that made it even clearer for me that I must keep the faith and know that God is in control:
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” — Galations 6:9
These inspiring words and scripture gave me the encouragement I needed to give myself the grace and space to feel what I am feeling, reflect, regroup and then get to work. Because the 2020 election is not over. We still do not know who won the presidential election and many other congressional, state and local races are still undecided.
Further, the Trump campaign is filing lawsuits in an attempt to stop ballots from being counted in states that are undecided—and that must not be allowed to stand.
So, the fight for justice continues and there is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote and having that voted counted. It is time now, more than ever, to keep the faith.