• After post-2008 decline in political interest, black Americans eager to vote
  • Trump's politics and perception of increased racism cited as motivations
  • Most support Biden; Sanders, Warren far behind
  • Overwhelming black voters will support any Democratic candidate

While there’s been a lot of talk about presidential candidates needing to appeal to the white middle class or to win over college-aged voters, a crucial group has resurfaced: Black Americans.

Most would agree that young and minority voters proved to be groups crucial to Barack Obama’s win in 2008. Since then, however, both have gradually lost interest in participating in politics, with consistently declining voter turnout rates – but that appears to be changing.

Third Way/Joint Center released their new survey of black Americans which shows a massively renewed interest in political involvement. Nearly half said that compared to the 2016 election, they are more interested now; three-quarters said they are “almost certain” they will vote next fall.

President Donald Trump certainly deserves the credit for energizing black voters – at least, according to those who participated in the survey and various focus groups. Many people questioned described Trump’s presidency as a “disaster for our country” and agreed that racists have felt more welcome in the public space since his 2016 victory.

At this point it seems like a foregone conclusion that Trump won’t be finding much support from black voters. Although a cornerstone of Trump’s reelection campaign has been the focus on the economy, less than a quarter of black Americans said their finances have improved under his administration – so that’s not likely to garner black support.

But that just means it’s up to Democrats to convince this group to not only give them their support, but to remain motivated and optimistic – although black Americans tend to support Democrat, it would be deeply foolish for anyone serious about beating Trump to ignore this group.

Although former Vice President Joe Biden has been polling well among black voters, and in general, a large number either remain undecided on who to support or say they are open to backing a different candidate.

What do black voters care about? For women, it’s access to affordable housing and for men, lowered health care expenses. Both matters, especially health care, have been addressed by several Democratic nominee hopefuls, especially Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who have made both issues major parts of their campaigns. Even still, black voters remain overwhelmingly in support of Biden. Regardless, nearly 90 percent have said that they will support the Democratic nominee no matter who it is – as long as it means removing Trump from the White House.

black voters
African-Americans turned out in record numbers in the 2008 and 2012 elections. The question is whether they will do so again Nov. 8. Whitney Curtis/Reuters