As we enter the first Presidential election since 2004 without President Barack Obama on the democratic ticket will black America turn out to vote in 2016?
As written on the Huffington Post the dialogue begins:
“From Black Celebrities to Black Women, Will Black America Support Hillary Clinton for President?”
The fanfare around Hillary Clinton’s nomination has been at a fervor for months. Unquestionably she stands as the likely next Democratic presidential nominee, and the first woman to have a legitimate shot at the White House. Yet, the question remains: Will Black America turn out in support? Will she have the same support African Americans gave President Barack Obama in 2008 or even in 2012?
According to the article “Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election” published by the U.S. Census:
About 131 million people reported voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, an increase of five million from 2004, according to a new table package released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase included about two million more Black voters… Blacks had the highest turnout rate among 18- to 24-year-old voters — 55 percent, an eight percent increase from 2004. Looking at voter turnout by race and Hispanic origin, non-Hispanic whites (66 percent) and Blacks (65 percent) had the highest levels in the November 2008 election.
ABC polls also noted in 2008, 96 percent of the African Americans that turned out were expected to vote for President Barack Obama. These Black votes came at a low political cost; little if no direct promises to fulfill were made to Black America. The Black votes were simply based on the faith that President Barack Obama’s presence in the White House meant more for Black people than any singular legislative action. In general regardless of his lack of stance on the campaign trail, there was a belief amongst African Americans he would have their interest at heart once elected. This type of support allowed now President Obama to focus on many other voting demographic groups during his campaigns. The issues of groups that would require a commitment to policy to sway their vote at election time were addressed directly. Support of gay marriage, a push for a comprehensive immigration reform and a stand on women’s rights were all part of a broad platform.
Black America will hardly make the same blind commitment to Clinton. As African Americans felt the impact of the last several years, their position on economic inequality, mass incarceration and voter suppression hardened. All of which must be addressed directly if Clinton is to get Black support in the coming election. As stated by veteran political strategist Charles D. Ellison in his recent article on TheRoot.com, Hillary will “need a solid 90 percent-plus share of the black vote to win. President Obama received 95 percent of it in 2008, 93 percent in 2012.” But it is turnout that will likely play the key role in 2016, once at the voter box as a block Black Americans tend to vote Democratic.
Despite people’s memory of President Bill Clinton’s popularity in the African American community, the black turnout in 1996 for President Bill Clinton’s second election, was a low of 53 percent. If this repeats itself in 2016, Hillary will be in for a long night next November.