On the latest episode of Basic Black, airing tonight at 7:30pm on GBH 2, Facebook, and Twitter, host Callie Crossley is joined by four political experts to discuss what we know so far about the 2020 election, and how the results might affect communities of color. Guests include Rep. Liz Miranda, State Representative for Suffolk County’s 5th District; Renée Landers, Professor of Law at Suffolk University who previously worked at the US Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration; Paul Watanabe, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston who also served on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and Tatishe M. Nteta, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of UMass Poll at UMass Amherst.
Rep. Miranda weighed in on the future of the Democratic party, regardless of who clinches the presidential election, telling Crossley that the party is going through an identify crisis at the national level and right here in Massachusetts. "Its base, its loyal base are people of color, are working class people — newsflash — that includes people of color," Miranda said.
She pointed to many parts of the country, including Atlanta, Georgia and Detroit, Michigan, where people of color delivered Democratic votes not because the party invested in them, but because voters there formed strong coalitions between communities of color. "I hope that the Democratic party takes a long look at itself, because the return on investment to its loyal base has not been realized," she said.
Crossley also engaged the guests in a conversation about polling ahead of the election. Many news outlets and pundits touted a strong lead for former Vice President Joe Biden heading into Election Day, but that has not panned out, as is evidenced by our lack of final results heading into the weekend. The polls were "wrong, wrong, wrong," Crossley said. What gives?
According to Nteta, a general sense of distrust among the public is one driver for seemingly misleading poll results. “I think one of the central problems with polling that we have today is that there's an overwhelming level of distrust. Distrust of various institutitions, and pollsters are one of those areas in which people distrust," he said. Voters for President Donald Trump, in particular, are weary of pollsters, he said, which makes it difficult to engage them in polls and get a truly representative sample of voters.
Nneta also reflected on the ways in which polls are used by many, according to him, incorrectly: "Polls are not soothsayers. This is not Ides of March. This is not Julius Caesar. They tell a picture when the polling occurs. The media has used this in a predictive fashion but pollsters never, myself included, intend for these to be predictive.”
Watch the full episode of Basic Black tonight at 7:30pm here.