Race and its potential impact on the 2020 election season

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 6:05 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD and DEKALB, Ill. (WIFR) - “As much as we talk about voting blocks in every election, there seems to be a lack of persistence of memory about how important each of these blocks really are,” said Joseph Flynn, Ph.D., NIU Associate Director Of Academic Affairs for the Center for Black Studies and Associate Professor of Curriculum Instruction.

With less than a month until Election Day, the question of how race could impact the course of the season begins to take hold. For NIU’s Dr. Joseph Flynn, it starts with exploring its presence in society.

“We’re often identified, not necessarily by what we want to be identified as, but just by other people’s interpretations of what we look like,” said Flynn.

With the first few primaries in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where the populations are overwhelmingly white, Flynn says it can paint a flawed picture of the overall electorate as a whole.

“So, it takes getting to a state that has more racial and ethnic diversity to get a better sense of what people are really feeling and how important the voices of these different voting blocs can be,” said Flynn.

Others, like Rockford University’s Ron Lee, say bridging the gap can come from finding common ground.

“The success in any political campaign is going to come with those connections you’re making with people, the people believing that you are listening to them, that you understand the problems they face and that you have real ideas about how to begin to address those problems,” said Lee.

“We’re talking about millions of people across the country and those millions should be recognized and respected for their voice,” said Flynn.

Both professors say regardless of the racial voting bloc their constituents may belong to, candidates need to identify the root of the issues plaguing them to be able to properly offer solutions.

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