Reader’s Forum — David Belmont

Afterword and Forward

In her eloquent Afterword to the second edition of In the Balance of Power, Jacqueline Salit cautions us that “history defies forecasts and sets its own timelines for progress.” Tell me about it! I’ve been riding alongside Jackie, Omar, Cathy Stewart and many of the stalwarts at Independent Voting for the past 40 years and the road has certainly been bumpy.

The latest election twist was the combination of independent and Black voters delivering the presidency to Joe Biden and the US Senate (nominally) to the Democrats via two runoff victories in Georgia. Nationally, independents broke for Biden by 13% over Trump, a 17-point swing from 2016 when Trump won indies by 4%, and gave Biden his victory margin in several key battleground states. The Georgia wins were the result of impressive on the ground organizing by Black activists (led by Stacey Abrams) and the votes of independents.

Now we’re being treated to the usual partisan bickering in Washington as we wait for the vaccine to arrive. Not to mention the lack of a meaningful dialogue on race, the burning historical question for Americans (as Dr. Ali and others, including James Baldwin, have pointed out). Jackie ends her piece with a question: “Will these historical shifts thrust African Americans and independents into playing a leadership role in the balance of power?” I so look forward to that! And the journey continues.

David Belmont is a multi-media artist, community organizer and long-time political reform activist. He was Ballot Access Coordinator for Dr. Lenora Fulani’s 1988 presidential campaign and is currently a researcher for Independent Voting.


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Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

One thought on “Reader’s Forum — David Belmont

  1. “Now we’re being treated to the usual partisan bickering in Washington as we wait for the vaccine to arrive.”
    What a shocker. Who could have predicted that playing footsie with the two party monopoly would be futile for Independents?

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