By Jaime Harrison
As we kick off the presidential election year, the American people are tuning in more and more to the stakes of the 2024 election, which couldn’t be higher – particularly for Black Americans. This includes my home state of South Carolina, which is hosting its historic first-in-the-nation Democratic presidential primary today.
Under President Biden’s leadership, the Democratic National Committee brought South Carolina to the forefront of our nominating calendar – a historic move to amplify the voices of Black voters, who are the bedrock of our party, heading into 2024. And it’s yet another promise made and kept by Democrats over the last three years – from the Oval Office to local office – to Black voters across the country who are too often unseen, unheard, and undervalued.
South Carolinians should head to the polls today to cast their vote in the First in the Nation Democratic Primary – not only because this election is historic for our community, but because Democrats deliver for us.
In just three years alone, the promises made and promises kept by Democrats have transformed our communities: beating Big Pharma to lower the costs of key medications that Black seniors rely on, capping the cost of insulin at just $35 a month, and getting more Black families the health insurance coverage they need.
Promises made, promises kept.
Under Democrats’ leadership, the economy is growing from the middle out and the bottom up, with a 60% increase in Black wealth from before the pandemic, Black businesses starting up at their fastest rate in 30 years, and Black unemployment hitting record lows. The foundations of economic opportunity for our community, HBCUs, are investing in the next generation thanks to billions of dollars of investment. The weight of student loan debt, which disproportionately plagues Black families, has been lifted from the shoulders of millions of Americans, with nearly $137 billion dollars forgiven already – no thanks to Republicans who have tried at every turn to halt this effort.
Democrats are fighting at all levels of government to do more to bring costs down for working people, advance economic opportunity, and stop the MAGA agenda of rigging the economy for the rich and powerful while leaving working and middle class families with the bill. Today, as South Carolinians, it’s our turn to show up at the polls and send a message that this is the agenda we can get behind.
The Democratic party is upholding our promise to prioritize Black voters and ensure their voices are heard and valued in the nomination process. Today, Black voters in South Carolina will make history by making their voices heard first.
Throughout American history, our people have been marginalized, voiceless, and voteless, especially in states like South Carolina – a state where over 40 percent of enslaved Africans were brought through the port of Charleston and where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
Now, in an unprecedented moment, Black voters, instead of sitting at the back of the bus, are taking the driver’s seat, steering the Democratic party into one of the most critical elections of our lifetime. But today’s primary is just the beginning of Democrats’ work to earn every vote in 2024, and we’re going to keep investing to empower Black voters who are the backbone of our party.
If the last few election cycles have taught us anything, it’s that it isn’t enough to parachute into communities on Election Day asking for votes. We have to show up every day and show folks that Democrats across the country are delivering historic progress for them – and that is exactly what I have been doing as the head of the Democratic National Committee. I’ve spent the last three years in barbershops, beauty salons, and communities all across the country, meeting folks where they are and letting them know that Democrats are the only party fighting for them. It is why the DNC announced a historic six-figure ad buy targeting Black voters in South Carolina, investing earlier than ever. And it’s why, as Democrats, we’re investing our time, our energy, and our resources into ensuring that Black voters in South Carolina can make their voices heard first.
Our actions speak for themselves: Democrats are not asking for your vote – they are putting in the work to earn it.
We as Democrats must celebrate the history we’re making today, but today is just the first step – and beginning of more investments to come. Our work to live our values, invest in our voters, and ensure that Americans of all backgrounds can participate in our democracy will continue well beyond today. Like any investment, our success will be measured in the long term – and we’re committed to putting in the money and time to earn the votes of Black and brown voters across the country between now and the general election in November.
In South Carolina, our state motto is “while I breathe, I hope.” We believe that our better days are ahead of us – not behind us. Now, for the first time in our nation’s history, our story and our people will be the ones setting the pace for every state across the country as we head into an election with stakes for Black families that couldn’t be higher– and I know we’re ready to launch our country forward to our better days come next November.