On Oct. 20, at 11 a.m., a panel discussion was held in the Harrington Peachtree Amphitheater titled, “Black, Hispanic, and Female Votes Matter: The 2016 Election.” The panel was held by Dr. Kirk Nolan, associate professor of religion, Dr. Jaclyn Sumner, assistant professor of history, and Dr. Maggy Carmack, assistant professor of history. The panel discussed the ways in which African-Americans, Hispanics, and women are influencing the 2016 presidential election.
The Herrington Peachtree Amphitheater was completely full; people were standing against the wall, sitting on the ground, and leaning in from the doorway. The panel began with Sumner discussing how Hispanics are influential in the current election.
Sumner explained that Cubans are going to change the vote. Young Cubans are relatively democratic, while the “old” Cubans are mostly conservative. Roughly, 44 percent of Hispanics are current millennials. Sumner discussed the key battleground states that have a larger Hispanic population; these states include Arizona, 22 percent; Florida, 18 percent; and Nevada 17 percent. Sumner also explained that opposed to what is being brought up by candidates, the current net migration is zero. In addition, she discussed the Hispanic population in politics, such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Ted Bush as his wife is Hispanic. Sumner ended her vibrant discussion by saying, “Hispanics are human beings, not talking points.”
Carmack then discussed the women’s vote. She began by crushing the stereotype that women are the minority; women are currently 51 percent of the population. Women are not a block vote because they vote just as much as men do. She also explained that the diversity of women’s voices has been narrowed. Carmack said that women are pushing for recognition through the Democratic Party as Hillary Clinton embodies a new working woman. In addition, Carmack explained the significant gender gap in this presidential election.
Nolan closed the panel discussion by addressing Black Lives Matter. He explained that three women founded the movement following the events of the death of Trayvon Martin. Nolan explained that the movement wants to reform the criminal justice system and is not just about race. Technology has been a driving force for the movement. Nolan turned the discussion over to the President of the Multicultural Student Union, Joaquin Ross, who then discussed Black Lives Matter and why Black votes matter.
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Written by Ashley Cowart, a senior English major from Woodruff, S.C.