6 states where low Black voter turnout helped Trump win in 2016
Trump won states such as Michigan and Florida due to low Black voter turnout
The presidential election is less than a month away and Black voters will prove to be critical in determining the winner as the voting bloc helped swing the last race in President Donald Trump‘s favor.
There were six states in the 2016 election where Black turnout helped Trump win according to the New York Times. Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and North Carolina swung the 2016 election in the president’s favor after the Black vote fell the first election post the Voting Rights Act being gutted.
The historic surge that was experienced during President Barack Obama’s two terms, reaching a record high of 66.6% in 2012, was erased. In fact, it declined for the first time in 20 years, falling to falling to 59.6% participation per the U.S. Census Bureau.
In Michigan alone, Trump won the state by 11,000 votes but 227,000 Black people did not cast a ballot. Georgia’s erasure of Black voters more than doubled as 530,000 eligible Black voters didn’t vote and Trump narrowly won that state by more than 200,000.
Trump won Wisconsin by only 23,000 votes against the backdrop of 93,000 Black voters not casting their ballots. Trump’s win was even more razor-thin in North Carolina as he won the state by 173,000 but where 233,000 Black voters didn’t cast a ballot.
“If our votes didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to take them away,” award-winning journalist Elaine Welteroth noted on Instagram.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that nine states were free to change their voting rules without federal oversight.
“Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”
The mostly Southern states began to enact strict voter ID laws that disenfranchised Black voters. They also curtailed early voting and redrew districting maps. These actions had a chilling effect in helping to keep many African Americans away from the ballot box as feared by civil rights groups and activists.
In the run-up to the 2020 election, the president has claimed rampant voter fraud. He has also called for strict voter IDs and attacked the integrity of mail-in voting. Trump escalated his attempt to potentially depress the vote by calling on his supporters to act as poll watchers. He has also leaned into a “law and order” campaign in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation after the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Furthermore, theGrio reported that the Trump campaign compiled data on over 200 million American voters into eight “audiences,” for online ad targeting purposes. One group titled “Deterrence” was beside the names of 3.5 million Black voters, the citizens’ Trump did not want to vote on election day, per British News Channel 4.
In contrast, Joe Biden has aggressively courted the Black vote through a series of initiatives such as vowing to address institutional racism in his first 100 days in office. He and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris have also sought to connect to particularly with young, Black male voters.
“This push is what the campaign really needs to do, to sell the Biden and Kamala Harris ticket,” Nadia Brown, a Purdue University political science professor, recently said.
“Voters want Biden to come out and talk to them about the things they care about. What he needs to do now is respond to the people in the streets and say this is not a transactional election, that Democrats really do hear you.”
Polling from Democracy Fund has shown that 83% of likely Black voters favored the former vice president. Ten percent offered their support for Trump. These results were mirrored in other polls such as Morning Consult.
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