HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Why black voters vote the...

Thu Mar 3, 2016, 09:37 PM

Why black voters vote the way they do? (and advice on how to win them) [View all]

I am publishing this new Daily Kos post by my friend, dopper0189, in GD as opposed to GDP because it is really not intended to be a "rox/sux" type of post but is an effort in education about how and why black voters vote the way they do.

I will post two excerpts from this very, very long, detailed, and comprehensive piece which, perhaps, communicates things a little better than I ever did.



Why black voters vote the way they do? (and advice on how to win them)

Iíve been a member of Daily Kos for many years, and over the years Iíve generally stayed away from meta wars. That is I avoid them, until I think the fights are reaching a point where theyíre damaging to this site, the party, or the progressive movement. In this case I see two sides arguing, with little attempt to find common ground. Because the argument is now over black voting patterns, I think I have a lot to add.

Before I begin let me give some of you who donít know me some background. Iíve done GOTV (Get Out The Vote) work for over 20 years, with a focus on minority voters. Iíve done GOTV focused on black voters in; largely black areas (Detroit, Flint), in mixed areas (largely Massachusetts and phone banked in Connecticut) as well as largely white areas (New Hampshire). Over the years Iíve worked both a number of primaries and general elections. Just to be clear by GOTV, I mean Iíve done door knocking, drive to the poll, cold calls, etc. That means Iíve had to deal with convincing people face to face to vote for a candidate. Iím not saying I know everything, but Iíve had to do more than convince true believers to vote. Iíve had to work with both the indifferent and the hostile.

Now, of course issues like healthcare, the economy, war and peace, and taxes play as big a role in the black community as it does in America at large. This discussion is more a list of the special voting considerations. But I feel there is a basic HUGE misunderstanding of the black vote on places like Daily Kos. But Iíll give a few key points.


Repeat that to yourselves several times a day if youíre doing GOTV. The black poverty rate is ~27% compared to the white rate of ~11%. So yes because the black poverty rate is high, black voters tend to care a lot about poverty alievement. But that also means 73% of black voters DONíT live in poverty, the ghetto, or whatever other term is casually thrown around. If you assume most black voters live in poverty, youíll very much insult your target audience. The plurality of black people around 42% are working class, and more blackís, ~30% are middle class than poor.

As of the 2010 Census, black households had a median income of $32,068. 15.2% of black households earn an income between earn between $50,000 and $75,000, 7.6% earn between $75,000 and $100,000, and 9.4% earn more than $100,000. In other words in 2010 (still in the heart of the recession) 32% of black households made $50,000 or more annually. As of 2010, the poverty rate among African Americans was 27.4%. In other words more blacks are middle class than poor.

Far too many discussion begin with the assumption that black voters are overwhelmingly poor. Yes there is a much larger wealth gap than there is an income gap, but most blacks arenít poor. Further more since voting rates strongly correlates with education and income it stands to reason black voters are generally even wealthier than the statistics I listed above.


Poor black people living in segregated areas feel like they are being kept in an open jail by police heavy handed patrols. Middle/working class folks feel they have done the ďright thingĒ stayed out of trouble, working, got educated and still are being harassed. The two issues may seem to outsiders to be the same, but they arenít.

Think of the difference between Ferguson and Professor Henry Louis Gates. The anger generated from both was about racism, but the origins of the anger actually come from two different places. One is a battle to stop police from terrorizing an entire community, one is a battle for police to respect individuals who have earned their way into the middle class.


In general most blacks view people racism as being on a gradient. On one end you have the KKK on the other you have a Saint, but realistically most people fall somewhere in between. Racism isnít pregnancy, where you either pregnant or youíre not. So statements like I donít have a ďracist bone in my body,Ē just doesnít mean much. Everyone has or said something racist in their life (yeah that includes black people). Also we recognize that people can have been more racist in the past, but are less racist now.

White people are for more likely to try and make statements like ďIím not a racistĒ. Black people generally just donít view racism as a binary condition. Granted this is a generalization, but itís a good rule of thumb.


There is a historical feeling that many white Democrats have always just shown up at the black churches 2 weeks before the election and then arenít seen again. There are also long standing bitter feelings that white Democrats havenít helped black Democrats with fundraising to the level that would help them become viable statewide candidates. This is particularly a major issue with the black political establishment, and this feeling trickles down. Wrapped up in this is a feeling of a lack of respect. So telling black voters some variation of ďif you knew what is good for you, you would support candidate XĒ usually turns black voters off. This especially true if black voters feel the person saying this hasnít been invested long term in the black community. There is almost invariably a backlash of ďwho are you?Ē ďJust showing upĒ and ďpreachingĒ. When you have not bothered to build relationship to the community you get ignored with the quickness.

Speaking of long term relationships, Black middle class voters especially care about the support of black establishments like the HBCU schools (The 105 historically black colleges and universities ). Places like Howard University etc, still supply something like 40% of all black doctors, they have been badly underfunded compared to comparable white schools. If this issue isnít on your radar, you should get familiar with it.

There's so much more to this, do surf over and read the entire piece.

Again, I come in peace.

11 replies, 1415 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why black voters vote the way they do? (and advice on how to win them) [View all]
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 OP
Jester Messiah Mar 2016 #1
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #2
SusanCalvin Mar 2016 #3
scarletwoman Mar 2016 #4
noretreatnosurrender Mar 2016 #5
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #6
noretreatnosurrender Mar 2016 #7
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #8
Arazi Mar 2016 #9
Erose999 Mar 2016 #10
aikoaiko Mar 2016 #11