Black Economic Alliance official says African-American voters will 'determine who sits in the White House'

Akunna Cook, the founding executive director of Black Economic Alliance, said African-American turnout for the 2020 elections will ultimately “determine who sits in the White House,” in an interview that aired Friday.

The Black Economic Alliance released results of a nationwide survey on Wednesday that identified the top economic issues for the black community. The survey found a three-way tie with affordable health care, college affordability and creating good-paying jobs with benefits each getting 77 percent of the vote.

The survey also found that an overwhelming majority of black voters favor former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE as their top candidate.

“Ultimately, we believe these are going to be the issues that decide this election because these are the voters that are going to decide this election,” Cook told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons in reference to the results of the poll. “Whether or not we come out is going to determine who sits in the White House.”

The Black Economic Alliance was founded in 2018 by a group business leaders and advocates with the aim of supporting candidates whose work helps the economic interests of African American communities. The group helped elect nine Democratic House candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. That effort included adding five new members to the largest Congressional Black Caucus in history.

“Our strategy for focused on turning out black voters and that helped everyone up and down the ticket,” Cook told Hill.TV.

Though the coalition identifies as nonpartisan, Cook said it has yet to endorse a Republican candidate, but she hopes that will change, emphasizing that the issues the group focuses on aren't partisan. 

“We did not endorse Republicans last cycle but we hope that we will be able to do that in the future,” Cook said. “We would love to have a conversation with Republicans and have them on board because these are not really Democratic or Republican issues — these are American issues.”

The coalition is poised to hold its first presidential forum this weekend, where several Democratic candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted MORE (Mass.) and Corey Booker (N.J.), will share their vision for expanding work, wages and wealth for the black community.

The presidential forum airs Sunday, June 16 on BET Networks.

—Tess Bonn