The Democrats have always been able to take a few things for granted when it comes to voting blocs and one of those was the black community. The Democrats believed for so long that the default vote from a black individual would be for them, and, for the most part, they’re right. Democrats are so cocky that the presumptive Democrat nominee told members of the black community that if they aren’t voting for him, they aren’t black.
But now the tides are changing.
According to an article from The Conversation, Democrats have always felt that they had the black vote locked in as loyal footsoldiers “who will execute their mission for The Team on Tuesday as long as some preacher provides the right marching orders on Sunday.” That narrative, however, is “growing stale.”
A survey conducted by the site shows that, within battleground states, older black voters from over 60 years of age to those between 40-59 are still reliably Democrat. However, those under 30 (which The Conversation notes they oversampled to the point where it comprises half of the survey) have seemingly turned their back on the blue wave:
Only 47% of those Black Americans under 30 years old that we surveyed plan to vote for the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. That’s roughly the same percentage who have anything positive to say when asked what “one or two words come to mind” about the former vice president.
Cathy Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago who studies Black youths’ political views, summed up this attitude in a recent podcast: “They’ve seen the election of Black mayors, they’ve seen the election of the first Black president, and they’ve also seen that their lives have not changed.”
More troubling for Democrats is the fact that only 47 percent say that the Democrats are a welcoming party to black Americans with less (43%) saying that Democrats do what’s best for the black community in Congress.
It would appear that the black youth in America have become disillusioned with the Democratic party’s attempts to kowtow to them, and as such, their willingness to vote for Democrats is at an all-time low. In fact, most say that they feel the Democrat party takes them for granted. It expects their vote but does nothing to earn it besides claim that it’s “less racist” than Republicans.
Before Republicans get excited, however, it should be noted that they aren’t remotely willing to pull the lever for President Donald Trump either. In fact, according to the survey, they’d rather just not vote at all as they feel voting doesn’t make a bit of difference:
In our poll, 31% of Black Americans under 30 say they probably won’t vote in this election. That may sound pretty good, given the average U.S. voter turnout of around 60% in recent elections.
But survey respondents of all stripes tend to wildly overestimate their intention to vote. Indeed, about half of our Black survey respondents under 30 say they don’t often vote because it “doesn’t make a difference,” providing a somewhat more realistic estimate of the percentage who will probably just stay home – and not search for a stamp to mail in their ballot, either.
The Conversation notes that this number could be even worse due to random factors such as voter suppression, distrust of mail-in voting, and issues with the pandemic. Only 64 percent say they trust the state to report their vote accurately if they cast one with only 30 percent saying they’d mail in their vote.
Despite the fact that they aren’t voting for Republicans, this should scare the Democrats regardless. The black youth, in its disillusioned state, may be more willing to hear out right-leaning peoples and influencers, bringing them further away from Democrat influence. During this election cycle, such a mass movement of the black youth to the right in time for November may be unrealistic, but those willing to play the long game may find more receptive ears.
Moreover, as loyal black voters literally die off, the Democrats will be left with a black populace that it must win back. If it can’t, then as The Conversation notes, black Americans will become the next “swing voters” who could decide who reaches the White House.