State Watch

William Barber to Democrats: ‘stop chasing the elusive suburban vote’

Rev. William Barber
Greg Nash

American minister and social activist Rev. William Barber said on Sunday the Democratic party should stop looking to win the “elusive suburban vote” and instead focus on winning over lower-income voters.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Velshi,” Barber, who co-chairs the non-profit Poor People’s Campaign, noted the share of Americans who make under $30,000 annually who voted for Democrats was twelve points higher than those making under $50,000 annually. 

And Barber said low-income voters had an outsized influence in the most competitive states.

“There’s not a state in this country where poor and low-wage voters do not have at least 30 percent of the electorate. And in every state where the margin of victories is within 3 percent, poor and low-wealth voters have over 40 percent of the electorate. So you can’t win by ignoring poor and low-wealth votes,” Barber told Velshi. 

Barber said activating these voters could make a huge difference, as millions of low-income voters didn’t vote in battleground states like Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

“In Arizona, in 2020, for instance, the number of poor and low-wealth voters who didn’t vote was 756,000, and the margin of victory was only 10,000 votes,” Barber added. 

“So you cannot ignore — and that’s one of the things we’re saying to Democrats and progressives — stop chasing the elusive suburban vote, but focus clearly and intensely on poor and low-wealth voters who tend to, when they vote, vote progressive if they’re targeted.”

Barber’s remarks come after Democrats pulled off unexpected victories in key states in the 2022 midterm elections, but still narrowly lost control of the House.

Barber, along with civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, was arrested last year during a demonstration to urge lawmakers such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to end the filibuster and pass the For The People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections Arizona For The People Act Georgia Joe Manchin North Carolina Rev. Jesse Jackson Rev. William Barber voting rights Voting Rights Act William Barber Wisconsin
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