Does Thin D.C. Crowd Flag Deeper 2024 Challenges?

Longtime social justice activist Larry Hamm, 69, founder of the People’s Organization for Progress, was a proud but concerned participant in last weekend’s March on Washington to mark Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” that was delivered to a sea of 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial 60 years ago.

Hamm and close to 50 supporters of his Newark based group chartered a bus to Washington as they’ve done many times in the past. Yet, Hamm noted this time, once the group got to the Capitol, he was struck by just how small the crowd was which he said only numbered in the thousands to support a broad agenda that included voting and reproductive rights.

The C-Span images from the event featured dozens of empty folding chairs.

This year’s commemoration was convened by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network along with the Drum Major Institute, a non-profit founded by King in 1961 to actualize his vision of a world free of racism, poverty, and violence.

Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and his wife Andrea Waters King led the march. Other speakers included former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), as well as Assistant Democratic Leader and civil rights leader Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).

“It was important that the march be called in the face of this full-frontal attack on Black people, women, working people, almost all sections of the population that have been under attack by the right-wing racists and their spearhead of their movement which is the Republican Party,” Hamm told InsiderNJ. “All that being said, it was not as well attended as the previous marches on Washington called to commemorate the anniversary of the 1963 March that I have regularly attended.

“I am not making a criticism per se of the organizers—I have to apply the critique to myself—I mean I am the king of small demonstrations,” Hamm said. “Most of the demonstrations that POP has are small. From time to time, we do get a larger turnout.”

Hamm continued. “We were all struck by the low turnout, and it is a cause for concern because if there was ever a time that there should be a mass outpouring of protest against these attacks against Blacks, women and working people—now would be the time. The coup is still ongoing. Here we are in the 21st century, and we have a former president under four indictments, formerly impeached twice, yet he is leading by far in the Republican primary.”

Hamm said the American labor movement was well represented with the biggest contingents from the SEIU, the CWA and AFSCME. Attendees heard from Fredrick D. Redmond, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

“The labor movement is fighting for a job you can build a future around,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler told the crowd. “We are fighting to end a system that pays a Black woman 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes. We are standing up to the extremists who want to rip away our rights including our right to vote.”

“Before the representative from the National Education Association spoke, the announcer made a point of saying the NEA had millions of members and I thought to myself, where are they?” Hamm said. “Even if just a fraction of a fraction of the membership had shown up it would have significantly added to the number of people in attendance.”

The Essex County activist said Democrats should not forget the 2016 drop off in Black voter engagement following their robust turnout in 2008 and 2012 when President Obama was at the top of the ticket.

Political analysts point to a marked decline in Black voter turnout in the 2016 contest when Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton but prevailed in the Electoral College, thanks to wins in Rust Belt states like Michigan. According to the Pew Center, Black turnout fell from 66.6 percent in 2012, President Obama’s second term, to 59.6 percent four years later, down by 765,000 votes.

In key swing states that Trump carried his margin of victory was in just tens of thousands of votes.

In 2020, particularly in the South Carolina primary, President Biden’s popularity with Black voters buoyed his flagging bid. Yet, the Brennan Center for Justice reported that in 2020 “70.9 percent of white voters cast ballots compared with only 58.4 percent of nonwhite voters—a disparity that will worsen the new restrictive voting laws.”

In May, the AP reported Biden’s approval with Black voters had “fluctuated over his two years in office. As with most demographic groups, the latest Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds his 58 percent current approval rating among Black adults sitting well below where he began. Roughly 9 in 10 Black adults approved of Biden over his first months in office.”

More recently, Bloomberg News reported President Joe Biden’s “path to victory in Georgia, a key battleground in his reelection bid, is imperiled by lukewarm support from Black voters — the bloc that was crucial to his narrow triumph in the state in 2020.”

Specifically, the outlet reported that in the Atlanta metro area — “home to the second-largest Black population in the US – Black residents said the pain of inflation and setbacks on policies such as student loan forgiveness have left them with misgivings” about Biden.

“Despite the rosy assessments we have been given about the economy, people’s everyday lives have not significantly improved—a lot of people in this country are not excited about there being any sign of a change—like with the student loans, the roll back of the Expanded Child Tax Credit and Medicaid,” Hamm said. “All of these things were rolled out during the pandemic and people saw that the government could help— now they have all ended but people’s need for them hasn’t.”

Hamm is concerned the Democratic Party’s not connecting sufficiently to the 85 million poor and low-income people who make up one third of the electorate, what Rev. Dr. William Barber calls the “sleeping giant.” According to the Poor People’s Campaign in Michigan, that’s over 40 percent of the electorate. In Florida it’s over 43 percent. In New Jersey, it’s close to 17 percent.

CBS Moneywatch reports the percentage of Americans struggling economically has jumped two percent year over year, with 61 percent of U.S. households “living paycheck to paycheck, an issue that impacts both low-wage and high-income families alike, according to new research from Lending Club.”

“Low-wage earners are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, with almost 8 in 10 consumers earning less than $50,000 a year unable to cover their future bills until their next paycheck arrives,” CBS reported. “Yet even 4 in 10 high-income Americans, or those earning more than $100,000, say they’re in the same position, the research found.”

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One response to “Does Thin D.C. Crowd Flag Deeper 2024 Challenges?”

  1. The reason the crowd that showed up in D.C. at last weekend’s purported “March on Washington” was infinitesimal is because Black Americans are fed up with the Democrats’ Plantation Owner mentality and don’t believe the Democrats and their Communist followers anymore. Black men and women see that they are much worse off since Biden and the Demoncrats took office. They understand now that Democrats are the Party of Communists, Thievery, Bribery, Extortion, Confiscatory Taxes, and Totalitarianism. Black men and women understand they were doing much better economically and safety-wise under President Trump and the Trump Administration and are going to support his re-election.

    Blacks were almost fully employed, their incomes were going up, their taxes were going down, more black men and women were opening and owning their own businesses, etc. Blacks in general were beginning to live the “American Dream”.

    Then the Biden Crime Family Racketeering Enterprise and their Communist Administration run behind the scenes by Obama, Susan Rice, and the rest of the Deep State Cabal got into office, and have been criminally and maliciously dismantling the entire United States. Biden and his Racketeering Crime Family have been taking MULTI-MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM THE COMMUNIST CHINESE, UKRAINE, RUSSIA, ROMANIA, PAKISTAN, etc., at the expense of the rest of us–and Biden and his Racketeering Crime Family have willfully refused to pay federal income taxes on criminally obtained millions of dollars in surreptitious income.

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