There Is No Single “Black Vote.” There Are Many
2020 Democratic candidates who aren’t Biden still have time to make inroads with black voters.
Black voters are getting a significant amount of attention these days.
In many ways, it’s a welcome development: After years of helping Democrats secure crucial election victories, black voters are being recognized as an influential voting bloc. This was perhaps most notable in 2008 and 2012, where their increased turnout helped deliver the White House to Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.
But black voters had been wielding their power even before this, in situations like the 1984 Democratic primary, where the support of black voters single-handedly turned Jesse Jackson into a contender, or the 1992 primaries, which saw black voters help Bill Clinton secure the party’s nomination. Since the 1990s, black voters have largely backed the candidate that has gone on to win the Democratic nomination, cementing the group’s status as powerful players in presidential politics.
In other words, there isn’t a single black vote. There are many. A seemingly monolithic black electorate often coalesces only after individual black voters make decisions based on a nuanced set of political calculations.