#BlackLivesMatter activists could potentially play a major role in the 2016 presidential election. With a massive following across the country, the movement to advance the importance of black lives could very well swing its own constituents to vote for one candidate or another and jeopardize the primary candidacy and general electability for those in pursuit of the White House. Acknowledging their own large following and potential influence, the group has called for a Democratic debate focused solely on the issues that affect them: race relations, police brutality, criminal justice reform, etc.
In the first Democratic debate, the candidates were asked to clarify whether "black lives matter or all lives matter". The line of questioning effectively stopped at that point, and needless to say, #BlackLivesMatter activists were not happy about this.
The group issued the following statement: “It is not enough to poll the Presidential candidates on whether or not they think “Black lives matter” or “All lives matter” – we deserve substantive responses – including and in addition to criminal justice reform, what will the presidential candidates do to ensure that Black lives matter? We deserve substance and not rhetoric.”
They have called upon the DNC via a petition on their website to organize a debate specifically focused on issues that matter to them. They also call for more debates in general, arguing that the limited number of forums “unfairly privileges some candidates over others.” Furthermore, the group noted that they will be “reluctant” to vote for a Democratic candidate in the upcoming election, as the field is yet to address #BlackLivesMatter’s most pressing concerns.
Should the DNC host a debate specifically focusing on #BlackLivesMatter’s issues?