By Flora Lucero
According to a newly published survey, there is a 42% disparity between Democrats and Republicans on whether overcoming racism requires more than a change in attitudes—i.e., through actually changing laws and institutions.
The Hidden Common Ground survey conducted by Public Agenda in May of 2021, found that 88% of Democrats surveyed expected that improvements in the ongoing battle against racism will require systemic change, though only 46% of GOP-affiliated persons did. The online survey polled 1,260 Americans 18 years and older between May 24 and May 27, 2021. For the full survey and accompanying summaries, visit: https://www.publicagenda.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Public-Agenda-HCG-YDM-Renewing-Democracy-July-2021-UD.docx.pdf
As measured by the survey, 91% of Democrats agree that overcoming racism is more important than ever, compared with 60% of GOP voters. Some 71% of Independents and 76% of politically unaffiliated people agreed with Democrats on this issue. While 58% of Democrats and similar percentages of Independents and politically unaffiliated people say “racism can make it difficult for some Americans to participate” in civic and political life, only 20% of Republicans agree. The remaining 80% of Republicans believe “all Americans have an equal opportunity to participate regardless of race.”
Among the more general findings of the survey is that many people want to participate in democracy beyond voting–to exercise real power, build common ground, and become involved in decision-making processes.
The desire for involvement to improve democracy and reflect the diversity of New Mexico’s voters fuels the activism we see in the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County (DPBC) today. In just the past month, DPBC leaders have begun to form the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) caucus to foster opportunities for more meaningful involvement of the entire spectrum of the community. In addition, DPBC activists are organizing to register every high school voter by age 18, reaching out to new and established neighborhoods across the county to take on leadership roles in wards and precincts, educating each other on issues such as averting the impact of climate change, and demonstrating in favor of expanding Medicare to be more available to families. These are only a few activities on the county party’s current agenda as it is led by people of color, young people, and people of varying gender identities, as well as people who dedicate their professional skills such as mapping for New Mexico’s resolution of the puzzle of redistricting. As always, we invite participation, help, and leadership of all Democrats.