Yesha Callahan

Open Thread: If Democrats Don’t Take #BlackLivesMatter Seriously Should Black Voters Withhold Their Vote?


As Progressives debate on the tactics some activists are using to press Democratic candidates about their plans to address the issues most important to the Black community, one writer is issuing a threat: Take #BlackLivesMatter seriously or don’t count on Black voters to support you in 2016.

In an open letter published on Daily Kos, Monique Teal warns Liberals, “You’re doing it wrong and it’ll cost the Democratic Party

“I’m sorry that your pep rally was interrupted but WE ARE DYING BY THE DOZENS in the streets. Have some perspective,” Teal writes. “If you support Black Lives Matter activists up until they do something you don’t agree with, then you were never really in solidarity. If you support the Black Lives Matter movement but have never done anything to challenge systems of privilege and power, then you aren’t actually an ally. You are part of the problem.”

In an article that lays out the reliability of the Black vote for the Democratic party, Teal surmises Progressives still take Black folks for granted and marginalize our issues.

“We are treated as fringe to white voters. We are told to accept what is given (Bernie’s platform), remain silent (booed when taking over white spaces) and to suffer in silence (post-racial society rhetoric)–all because talking about race and white supremacy is uncomfortable. Our humanity is an inconvenience,” she writes.

In the end, Teal says #BlackLivesMatter is more important than who the next president will be, and if Democrats “continue to throw a tantrum over Black Lives Matter disrupting a white supremacist system,” Black voters will choose to stay home.

While Teal makes an impassioned plea to Democrats that I think they should heed, I’m not exactly sure allowing Republicans to win by default, thereby giving them control of the Supreme Court for the next generation, is the way to go.

Should #BlackLivesMatter activists hold the Left accountable? Absolutely. But they should also hold the Republican candidates’ feet to the fire as well.

What do you think? Should Black voters stay home on election day if candidates don’t take #BlackLivesMatter seriously? Sound-off! 

  1. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    they will talk the talk once their hand is forced, just to get voters. Frankly, i’m tired of being loyal to the democratic party & being expected to vote that way & being taken for granted, they still have yet to fix the voter rights act that sits on the back burner. I’m just not enthused about the upcoming elections, not even sure if i’ll vote. I need to worry more about local elections anyway, that truly has more of an impact on where i live.

    • August 13, 2015 - Reply


      Preach Sister.

    • August 13, 2015 - Reply


      my worst case scenario is that i’ll vote for whatever bills/amendments/etc are on the ballot & leave the politician sections blank. at least that way the stuff that matters still gets my input. as far as dem/republican/independent, if they’re all just gonna be loud & louder versions of the same crap, then i won’t waste my time on them.

      • August 13, 2015 - Reply


        well said!

      • August 13, 2015 - Reply



  2. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    The Democratic party takes the Black vote for granted, and if their attitudes toward justice don’t change then I don’t fault anyone who chooses to stay home on election day. I also agree with the previous commenter, local elections are a big deal in my city. Gentrification is out of control here.

  3. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    The black vote is not needed anymore, the democratic party now has the latino/hispanic votes.

  4. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    Instead of sitting out, what about a 3rd party candidate? This whole let’s pick the lesser of two evils isn’t working for black folks.

  5. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    i feel that democrats and republicans switch sides – – they change opinions and political views if it will benefit their causes/concerns/agendas. sometimes it’s hard to distinguish one party from the other. look at reagan, bill clinton, the bushes, etc. obama admitted he admired reagan and shares some of his policies and practices. party affiliation benefits the members. if, and when, party member(s) do not realize benefits and/or rewards, member(s) will switch sides. and, none of these people are going to voluntarily ‘help’ and/or support black people. if they do decide to support black causes/concerns, it will ultimately benefit them.

    • August 13, 2015 - Reply


      Excellent Points.

    • August 13, 2015 - Reply


      Agreed. I’ve been using the following analogy for yrs;
      The Democratic and Republican party political system is a two headed snake that serves the same Corporate interests.

      • August 13, 2015 - Reply

        @Chazz A

        i totally agree with you.

  6. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    Voting is a human right and a voluntarily decision. Bernie Sanders, O’Malley, and others never created a platform on criminal justice issues in an in-depth fashion until they received pressure from Black Lives Matter activists and others who told the truth that the Democrats (not just the Republicans) are complicit in the growth of the prison industrial complex, the evil War on Drugs, and other policies that are antithetical to the interests of the black community. So, we know about the extremists, the xenophobes, and the bigots in the GOP (We can look at the views and actions of Nugent, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, etc. to see how extreme Republicans and their supporters are). I don’t support Republicans. Although, criticism and critique about the Democratic Party has nothing to do with embracing the right wing. It has to do with evaluation and being fair. So, I do believe that black people should register as Independents and vote for who we want not for what we are told to vote for.

    Many establishment conservatives and many establishment liberals want us to be told what to do, but we are black people. We stand up and we act because we want to. We’re tired of being taken for granted. We know that some in both parties are complicit in supporting Israeli apartheid policies, the privatization of our resources (In Detroit, the Democratic Party leads the assault on Black people’s access to water as a basic human right. This act is a violation of national and international law), gentrification, the closing of our schools (as Rahm Emanuel in Chicago closed dozens of public schools without massive alternatives or even a massive rebuilding plan of our schools) the promoting of laws that violate our civil liberties, and other abhorrent policies. There has been a lot of talk about Democratic platforms, but the track record of the Democrats is mixed.

    So, we need more than a platform. We need action. That is why we ought to promote grassroots efforts, continued building of our institutions, and we have the right to make sure that any political party is made accountable not only for their platform, but for their record. People can agree with the actions of the 2 women of color in Seattle (which has a lot of racism despite some calling it a totally “progressive city”). It is up to the individual voter to decide to vote or stay home, but I do believe that we should be involved in our local politics at the bare minimum. In terms of national politics, we have the right to show our voices and our concerns. We can vote nationally and there are third parties nationally as well. Yet, one thing is true about the 2 young women of color. Their actions are not worse than the murder of our Brothers and our Sisters in the streets. Their actions are not worse than poverty and their actions are not worse than the vicious system of racism/white supremacy. Our black identity should transcend political affiliation. In others words, we are not Democrats. We are not Republicans.

    We are black people with our independent minds and with our independent thinking. That is the point.

    • August 13, 2015 - Reply

      You stated some thought provoking points Truth. Personally, I am actively involved In local elections because feel as though I have a greater impact on my community. Also I strongly believe that Presidential elections are, for the most part, influenced/tainted by Corporate interests. I got off the Democratic hamster wheel yrs ago.

      • August 13, 2015 - Reply

        @Chazz A

        You have made great points Brother. Local community involvement is very important, because change can come by your own work and activism. The Electoral college ultimately decides who will be the next President not the American people directly. So, many people know about how the system works. Political independence is the way to go. As for nationally, there should be a national transformation of society where people can have economic and social justice.

        • August 13, 2015 - Reply

          Right, an independent political platform, backed by solid capital, is the only way to go.

  7. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    The Dems take Blacks for granted. They allowed illegals in to replace a vote they never wanted.

    As much as I hate the GOP, I think whites need to suffer more in order to take the need for a broad coalition seriously. My vote is irrelevant in DC anyway.

  8. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    About time that Black folks made the connection…don’t just vote Democrat because you are Black and don’t just vote Republican because you are better off financially…Vote for the best candidate and especially vote in your state elections.

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