The Guardian US reporter Kenya Evelyn grew up in Milwaukee, in the swing state of Wisconsin. She recently returned to see how this year’s pandemic, recession and Black Lives Matter protests are shifting the city’s politics
In recent years, Wisconsin has come to play a crucial role in deciding the presidential election. In 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama comfortably won there. But in 2016, Donald Trump took the state by a margin of just 23,000 votes. That year, 93,000 black voters in the city of Milwaukee stayed home on election day.
The Guardian US reporter Kenya Evelyn recently returned to her home city and tells Mythili Rao what she heard when she spoke to black voters about what this election means to them. The Democrats had expected to hold their convention in Milwaukee – but when the pandemic forced the party to go virtual, an anticipated $200m economic boom instead spiralled into a substantial loss. The pivot was also the final straw for many of the city’s African American residents. The coronavirus shutdown worsened national crises that disproportionately devastated black Americans across the country, exacerbating racial inequalities in Milwaukee. Many activists told Evelyn that it could stifle local efforts to solicit enthusiasm for Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris. It’s a warning for Democrats not to take black voters for granted.
Read more: theguardian.com