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“After All That Work, They Couldn’t Be Bothered to Vote at All”: Michelle Obama on Black Voter Turnout

Netflix is releasing the full Becoming documentary on Wednesday.

In November 2018, former First Lady Michelle Obama released her memoir Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice. On Wednesday, Netflix will release the accompanying documentary surrounding the Becoming book tour.

Clips from the documentary have already begun to surface. One early review focuses on Michelle’s thoughts about the 2016 elections. In one clip, Michelle opens up about Trump’s election in 2016. She says that the decrease in Black voter turnout for Hillary Clinton was more painful for her than the Trump’s eventual election.

“I understand the people who voted for Trump,” she said. “The people who didn’t vote at all, the young people, women, that’s when you think ‘man, people think this is a game. It wasn’t just in [2016]. Every midterm. Every time Barack didn’t get the Congress he needed, that was because our folks didn’t show up. After all that work, they just couldn’t be bothered to vote at all. That’s my trauma.”

The quote has caught many Obama supporters off-guard considering the widespread reporting on voter suppression during Obama’s term in office. Additionally, Hilary Clinton received almost three million more votes than Trump in the general election.

After Obama’s first year in office, the Shelby County vs. Holder decision ruled that states and local governments can change their voting laws without getting approval from the federal government. The ruling effectively nullified crucial aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965–leading to decreased Black and Brown voter turnout in states like Tennessee

Becoming is available for streaming on Netflix starting Wednesday, May 6.

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Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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