Black Chicago Group Calls For Boycotting Biden Vote, Holding America Hostage

Black Chicago Group Calls For Boycotting Biden Vote, Holding America Hostage


A voter casts an early ballot at a polling station, Feb. 9, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

One of the Democratic Party’s biggest fears–losing the Black vote–may be closer to coming true. Slowly over the last few years, the DNC has been losing Black voters, as some Black voters complain that the party does not appreciate their continued support and has not pursued policies that would benefit the Black community.

Now, a Black group in Chicago is calling for an outright boycott of voting to re-elect President Joe Biden in the 2024 elections.

The boycott of the 2024 election was conceived by local activist and performer Dennis Pitts. He told the Chicago Crusader that he launched the campaign because he believes Black people are on a path toward alienation.

“We must weaponize our vote because it’s one of the only tools left in the toolbox that can facilitate change,” Pitts said. “We cannot protest each individual incident of racial harm because over time that action becomes tiring—plus (the establishment) has already put measures in place to deal with civil unrest (under the guise of curbing domestic terrorism).”

Pitts may have tapped into a movement. According to a recent New York Times report, Black voter frustration is “bubbling over.” In fact, the share of Black voters in the electorate decreased by 1 percent nationwide from 2018 to 2022, the newspaper reported. This marks the biggest drop of any racial group measured. Meanwhile, the share of white, college-educated voters increased.

Still, Black Americans are a strongly Democratic group, according to the Pew Research Center. More than eight in ten Black adults (84 percent) identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while just 10 percent identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. Since 1968, no Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 13 percent of the Black vote.

But Pitts said his campaign is gaining momentum across the U.S., in predominantly Black cities.

“The recommendation is we’re looking for Black Americans to specifically withhold our votes from Joe Biden in the 2024 election,” Pitts said. “We’re going to delegitimize the political process here because it’s not legitimate because it doesn’t include us. …The goal is to basically hold the country hostage and withhold our votes under the threat of Trump being re-elected.”

Pitts pointed out he is “pro-Republican,” but he stressed that Blacks should withhold their votes from both parties until the concerns of the Black community are met.

“Both the Dems and Republicans are unified against Blacks—but they also seem to be fractured themselves,” Pitts said. “In addition to how they treat us, they also don’t like Trump. We need to be strategic. One of the biggest mistakes that the American public makes is that Trump is just your average Republican; that is not true. Both political parties are working to get Trump out of the paint. That is a theme and main characteristic of the 2024 presidential election.”

While Pitts noted he and his group is not looking to re-elect Donald Trump, but that this move may be the only political option for Black voters to negotiate.

“This is not a pro-Trump strategy, though it appears that way because Black people not voting as a giant bloc for one party that does nothing for us could eventually lead to a Trump victory, but that is not of our concern,” Pitts said. “Going into both national (political) conventions, the issue of where Black people stand and with whom we will give our power should be on their minds.”

Pitts said his group of organizers intends to be in Chicago when the DNC holds its convention.

“Right now, we’re in the early stages of planning exactly how we’re going to surround it,” he said. “No, we’re not looking to get on the floor of the Democratic National Convention. We’re not looking to get in the building and cause any kind of disturbance or anything like that. We’re looking to get the fact out that Black Americans are looking to boycott the vote.

“We’re still in the planning stages,” he added. “This is a small movement that we’re trying to turn national.”

The Biden administration may be feeling the frustration among Black voters. Biden recently gave the commencement speech at Historically Black University Howard University and, some say, tried to scare up the Black vote by warning of “sinister forces” attempting to reverse racial progress.

During the speech, he said that white supremacy is “the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland” and warned a predominantly Black audience that “sinister forces” embraced by his predecessor and putative challenger are trying to reverse generations of racial progress in America, The New York Times reported.

“There are those who demonize and pit people against one another,” Biden said, seemingly alluding to Trump. “And there are those who will do anything and everything, no matter how desperate or immoral, to hold onto power. That’s never going to be an easy battle. But I know this — the oldest, most sinister forces may believe they’ll determine America’s future. But they are wrong. We will determine America’s future. You will determine America’s future.”

He added, “Fearless progress toward justice often meets ferocious pushback from the oldest and most sinister of forces. That’s because hate never goes away. I thought when I graduated that we could defeat hate. But it never goes away.”

Biden has reason to be worried. Many Black communities activists have been reminding the DNC that some of Black voters’ biggest policy priorities, such as reparations, stronger federal protections against restrictive voting laws, student loan debt relief, and criminal justice and police accountability measures  have failed or stalled.

“Folks are just tired of being tired,” Travis Williams, a Democratic organizer in Dorchester County, South Carolina, told The New York Times. “They’re just sick and tired of being tired and disappointed whenever our issues are never addressed.”

Some of Biden’s ardent supporters are in denial.

“I have not found a lack of enthusiasm,” Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, who was Biden’s most vital Black surrogate in 2020, told The New York Times. “I just haven’t found it. And people keep saying it. But it’s not there.”

Pitts’ vote boycott isn’t anything new. Throughout the past few decades, there have been times when Black voters threatened to volt from the DNC, either by not voting, voting Republican, or calling for a third party to be formed.

In 2020, Tariq Nasheed told his 250,000 Twitter followers not to vote. Nasheed tweeted, ”The smartest thing Foundational Black Americans can do this election cycle is STAY THE HELL HOME and NOT vote. Don’t let any of these non-FBA groups SHAME you into voting when it helps THEM but not YOU as an FBA.”

Nasheed is a filmmaker, author, and activist who founded the Black think tank, the Foundational Black American Convention. Nasheed also goes by the names Tariq Elite, King Flex, and K-Flex, and has produced documentary films on the history of Black people and authored books on dating for men and women.

The DNC is also concerned with Black immigrants not signing onto the party.

In 2018, Sharon Austin, at the time an associate Professor of Political Science and Director of African American Studies, University of Florida, studied voting patterns of African Americans, Cape Verdeans, and West Indians in four cities: Boston, Chicago, Miami, and New York City.

“I discovered that while these populations are mostly Democratic, foreign-born black communities in all four cities are more willing than African-Americans to put aside partisan differences and vote Republican,” she said.

A voter casts an early ballot at a polling station Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, in Milwaukee. Recent revelations about Republican election strategies targeting minority communities in Wisconsin’s biggest city came as no surprise to many Black voters. For years, voting rights advocates have accused Wisconsin Republicans of pushing policies to suppress voters of color and lower-income voters. Many of those policies centered on the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)