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Anyone who has paid attention to the news over the past several years is aware of the Black Lives Matter movement. At times, it seems like there is another black person or police officer who’s name is on the news every day, occasionally resulting in protests in cities throughout the country. In a way, I feel like I’ve been normalized to the pain and violence, watching the news with glassy eyes. But when you see your home town in the headlines, it’s impossible to ignore. While I tried to complete this assignment researching support for “equal pay for equal work,” I found my mind wandering back home to my friends who were just blocks away from the protests. So, I went with it: How does support for Black Lives Matter predict identity, party affiliation, and who you will vote for?

The movement was officially founded three years ago, so this is the first presidential election it has seen. According to Theodore Johnson, writing for the Atlantic, the number of voters who consider race relations to be an important issue has doubled since 2014. However, he concludes that the movement does not have as much political influence as the Civil Rights movement, arguing “not to conflate the movement’s political power with its electoral influence.” Horowitz and Livingston also use polls to determine that white Democrats younger than 30 support the Black Lives Matter Movement. While only 3% of Democrats strongly oppose the movement, 35% of Republicans do. To support these claims, CBS News reports that young people are 24% more likely to believe that Clinton is the better candidate for handling police violence against black people. Conversely, Trump received greater support from “white who rated African Americans most unfavorably” (Pollard 9).

It’s incredible how closely politics are to our national identity. I have friends who were blocks away from the shooting and who have been scared walking around school for the past 72 hours, yet news headlines ask which candidate is benefiting the most from this event. Whether we’re talking about black lives or black politics, it matters to someone.

Cameron • September 22, 2016

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