Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, July 19, 2020 in North Charleston, S.C.
Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, July 19, 2020 in North Charleston, S.C. (Lauren Petracca Ipetracca/The Post And Courier via AP)

Trump supporters are preying on the Black community in a cynical effort to siphon votes away from Biden.

It’s August, and 2020 has already been a year. From a global pandemic to murder hornets, it feels like this is the challenge of a lifetime for us electoral organizers. In fact, I was talking to someone today and she compared 2020 to being stuck in the game of Jumanji. Every couple months, there’s another challenge. 

All jokes aside, there are some serious challenges that our communities are dealing with in the midst of one of the most important election cycles of our lifetimes. People’s lives are at risk. LBGTQIA protections are being scaled back. 

Black trans women are being murdered at alarming rates. There are still kids in cages at the Mexican border, and the current occupant of the White House tweeted, “When the looting starts the shooting starts” in response to peaceful protesters saying simply, “Black Lives Matter.” Our existence is such a threat, that simply mattering is a threat to white supremacists. 

This is our 2020. We are in the fight of our lives. The homegoing of John Lewis impacted me more than I anticipated it would have. As I watched his casket cross the Edmund Pettus bridge for the final time, I couldn’t help but feel like he was passing the baton to our generation to continue his legacy. We are tasked to make sure we are resisting this Trump presidency, including in November.

While dealing with all of the challenges 2020 has given us, there’s another challenge ahead of us: dirty tricks from the GOP. 

This week, the GOP has attempted to use rapper Kanye West as a way to guarantee Donald Trump’s reelection in November. Kanye West filed signatures to be on the ballot in Wisconsin in November.

In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by a mere 22,748 votes. Wisconsin can very well be the deciding state in November, specifically due to Black voters in Milwaukee. 

Now I’m not against third-party candidates, and I believe it is healthy and necessary for our democracy, but Kanye isn’t running because he has ideas or plans for our community.

He’s running because he is being used by the Republican Party. It has been no secret that Kanye has openly supported Trump. The fact that he is running against someone he has supported recently is suspect, to say the least. 

Upon further review, we see that the firm that collected the signatures and the woman who turned them in are all a part of the GOP. Make no mistake, this is a racist ploy for Republicans to put up a famous Black rapper, thinking Black folks don’t see that this is simply a tactic to siphon enough votes from Joe Biden to ensure a Donald Trump victory in November.

Trump supporters think that Black folks are stupid enough and lack the political analysis to vote for any Black person on the ballot despite our need for real policy. 

At BLOC, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, we provide tools, training, and resources to help Milwaukee’s Black community build long-term political power. One of our Lead Ambassadors, Sylvia, ran into someone collecting signatures for Kanye.

Sylvia was frustrated that people assume Black folks would vote for someone who looks like us but hasn’t put forth any policies that would help our communities. Black people are smarter than you think. We care about policy. 

Wisconsin is the worst place to raise a Black child, and Milwaukee is home to one of the zip codes with the highest rates of incarceration in the country. We aren’t going to be fooled by someone with high name recognition.

It is racist to think our political analysis is this superficial. It’s racist to think that we only vote based on if someone looks like us. It’s not only offensive but flat out racist to think our community can be easily fooled by this tactic. 

Despite Kanye putting out good music (even as I’m writing, I’ve turned on a playlist of all the songs I like and he has come up several times), we know that this is simply an underhanded ploy to retain power.

Donald Trump has threatened our lives, and some folks in our communities have lost their lives because of his lack of leadership. 

Black folks want to thrive. We want to walk down the street freely without being harassed by the police. We want to sleep and breathe in peace the way that Breonna Taylor and George Floyd weren’t able to.

We want to not merely survive but thrive the same way my neighbors in suburban Whitefish Bay and Shorewood do. I want to drive peacefully and not get an intense sense of anxiety when I see a cop car and wonder, will I be another Sandra Bland? 

Kanye is being used as a tool of white supremacy to make sure Donald Trump wins another term by preying on what they think is the ignorance of the Black community.

Not only is it offensive, but it is a grave mistake. Our organizers will do everything in our power to make sure folks really understand that this is nothing more than a dirty trick from the GOP. 

Donald Trump and his team have weaponized a global pandemic in order to suppress the vote. We are losing our grip on democracy by continuing to let Trump steal the soul of America. Trump is dangerous. Period. 

As Kanye said himself, ”No one man should have all that power,” and that’s exactly what we seek to prove in November when we strip Trump of his.