BLEXIT: Movement challenges Black voters to think outside the box

CHARLOTTE — A movement encouraging some Black voters to challenge their allegiance to the Democratic Party could have an impact on the 2020 election.

One year ago, Channel 9 reported about BLEXIT, or Black Exit. In 2019, BLEXIT had one chapter in North Carolina. And since then, it has added 19 new chapters, some in blue states, such as California.

“People may look at that state and say that’s a liberal state or so we thought, but that chapter took over being the largest chapter in two months,” said Pierre Wilson, BLEXIT national director.

BLEXIT has garnered support from North Carolina Lt. Governor candidate Mark Robinson.

“People are waking up and not listening to one narrative anymore. People are trying to find out the facts for themselves,” Robinson said.

Robinson, a Greensboro native, did some research in his 20s and said he realized his values were conservative.

“It wasn’t something where I changed into a conservative. I discovered I’d been a Republican my entire life. I just didn’t realize it,” Robinson said.

Numbers updated in September show North Carolina has nearly 1.5 million Black registered voters.  The vast majority, about 79%, are Democrats.  There are about 18% who are unaffiliated, and only about 2.5% are registered Republicans.

Robinson said some Black Democrats have supported his campaign.  If he wins, he would be the first Black person to ever hold the seat.

“There are many Black Democrats who love our message because our message is just one of common sense,” he said.

Some supporters of BLEXIT believe Black-American voters have been taken advantage of by unquestioned allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Some people point to a recent exchange between radio host Charlamagne Tha God and Joe Biden.

Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Trump, you ain’t Black.”

“It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact, ‘I want something for my community,’” replied Charlamagne.

“That’s how a lot of Black conservatives and free thinkers feel,” Wilson said. “We feel like we were being told to vote one way –- 90% of our vote has been going to one side. Now it’s time to hold those people accountable and see what are we doing? Why are we voting this way?”

Lisa Matthews, who is the director of BLEXIT North Carolina, said she was a lifelong Democrat until four years ago.

“I grew up in a community where there has been Democratic leadership for 60 years, and nothing has changed. It’s even gotten worse. So maybe if I just try something new, even if you didn’t like it, you could go back,” she said.