Why the Democratic Party is Losing the Black Male Vote

Ruth Ellison/Flickr/CC BY adapted via Imgflip

If you didn’t know there was a big difference between the black male and black female voting blocks, you can be forgiven. Media pundits talk about the black vote as if it were a monolithic force. But political strategists know better, and the black female vote is the gold Democrats are after.

Black women tend to be more politically active than their male counterparts. They are more likely to vote in elections, and indeed are more likely than any other demographic to report that all their friends are planning to vote in the upcoming election. They even beat out black men in voter value by the raw numbers: there are significantly more eligible black female voters than male.

That’s why a search for “black women” voters will turn up dozens of articles about how Democrats are courting this crucial voting block, but hardly any concern for the black male vote, where the party has a growing problem.

“We have seen some movement across black voters, frankly, in not as strongly identifying with the Democratic Party as they may have previously,” said Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of BlackPAC. “Where that sentiment is the strongest is among black men,” reports Axios in an article that described a pitiful handful of overtures toward black male voters, at a couple barbershops and small gatherings.

When Cory Booker’s campaign reached out to this demographic with a Q & A session just before dropping out, the findings were telling. “The feel in the room — and it was stated several times — is that black men feel like they’ve been forgotten about within the party and when it comes to this election,” said Hamilton Grant, a Democratic candidate for Richland County Council who introduced Booker at the event. …The questions were totally different than other campaign events, one Booker campaign aide said.”

At 13%, black men were already three times more likely to vote for Donald Trump than black women in 2016, and their support for Trump has more than doubled according to a recent poll. In October, Big League Politics reported: “According to the findings of a new Hill-HarrisX poll, a shocking 32 percent of black male voters would prefer to vote for Donald Trump over a generic Democrat opponent in the 2020 presidential election.” That’s compared to 7 percent of black females that said they’d support Trump in 2020.

Three subsequent polls suggest black male support for the president might be climbing even higher. Looking at both sexes together, “Emerson and Rasmussen have Trump polling at 34%, while the Marist poll shows Trump enjoying a 33% approval among black voters,” BizPacReview reported in December.

That is a massive shift of black voters toward a president who is relentlessly smeared as a racist, and understanding this dynamic may be crucial to healing the racial divisions in our country.

So why are more and more black men turning to the Republican Party, while most black women remain steadfastly and enthusiastically Democrat? The obvious answers for the shift lie in the economy and criminal justice reform. Not only has Trump’s America made it easier for people of all stripes to get and keep a well-paying job, but Trump’s First Step Act is delivering a bill of goods that Obama only ever promised, but curiously never bothered to pursue.

But beyond policy platforms, what is evident is a growing liberal/conservative divide among the black population itself that may stem from cultural differences based on work environments and a stark difference in the way black men v. women have been treated by the government.

While black women are more likely to hold jobs in education and health services, and office jobs where liberal ideologies might flourish, black men are more likely to hold blue collar jobs such as production, transportation and utilities, where “instersectionality” is probably a topic that never comes up.

Black men are also far more likely to have served in the military where racial divisions have been quite effectively overcome, by and large. Men who have served in such life or death capacities have built strong bonds of trust, respect and loyalty across race and ethnicity that stick with them throughout life and those experiences make them far less likely to automatically suspect white people of being racist.

Black men also have ample reason to question the big government social policies that Democrats propose, having suffered the breakdown of their family structures under welfare and the loss of their children due to abortion and the gender bias of family courts.

As the Trump administration continues to improve the lives of all Americans, irregardless of race, gender or social status, and no matter how much it drives his detractors nuts that things keep getting better, the Democratic Party has an uphill battle to try to regain the black male vote, and it appears to be a battle they don’t much care to win.

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