Rolling Out

The power of using fear as a political strategy to engage Black voters

How Democrats can leverage fear to mobilize Black voters and protect democracy
Voter
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Gorodenkoff

Politics is a game of strategy and emotion, and no one seems to understand this better than former President Donald Trump. His ability to leverage fear has been a cornerstone of his political playbook, a tactic that some argue the Democrats have often overlooked.


Understanding the role of fear in voter mobilization

Fear can be a potent motivator, often outpacing the inspirational pull of hope. While President Joe Biden has delivered on promises such as student debt relief and a significant infrastructure deal, the question remains: do these achievements resonate with voters who haven’t directly benefited from them?


With democracy potentially at risk and legislative victories not always translating into direct personal gains for voters, the Democratic Party faces a challenge. How can they energize their most loyal constituency, Black voters, ahead of critical elections?

Learning from Trump’s playbook

The answer may lie in adopting a page from Trump’s strategy: stoking fear. It’s about painting a vivid picture of the consequences of a Trump-led administration for Black communities:


Another conservative justice like Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court

Threats to women’s reproductive rights, including access to birth control

Increased difficulty in exercising voting rights

A Justice Department indifferent to police brutality against Black individuals

These are not just hypothetical scenarios; they are real concerns that resonate deeply within Black communities. The infamous Goon Squad in Rankin, Mississippi, serves as a chilling reminder of what unchecked police brutality can look like.

Empowering Black voters through awareness

It’s crucial for Biden and his team to remind Black voters of these threats. But it’s more than just fear-mongering; it’s about making Black voters aware of the stakes and empowering them to act to protect their rights and future.

As the political landscape continues to evolve, the Democratic Party must find effective ways to communicate the urgency of the situation to Black voters. Fear, when used responsibly, can be a powerful tool to galvanize a community to stand up and make their voices heard at the polls.

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