Trump and Biden are both courting the votes of Black men. Will it make a difference?

October 5, 2020

HIT in the news

Donna M. Owens

The television ad “Shop Talk” shows a group of African American men — masked up, socially distanced — seated inside a Black-owned barbershop in Durham, North Carolina. “Good governance counts,” asserts one. “We need to have individuals in office like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” says another.

In a radio spot airing on Black radio stations across the country, listeners hear from former NFL star Herschel Walker. “I’ve known Donald Trump for 37 years,” he says. “He keeps right on fighting to improve the lives of Black Americans. He works night and day. He never stops. He leaves nothing on the field.”

Move over, soccer mom. America’s presidential campaigns have a new coveted voter: Black men. Both Republicans and Democrats are courting this demographic, for reasons that seem tied to recent voting patterns. According to Pew Research Center, 64 percent of eligible Black women and 54 percent of eligible Black men voted in 2016. Black women overwhelmingly (98 percent) favored Hillary Clinton, but among Black men, she won 81 percent. Trump got 14 percent — still a relatively small percentage, yet an improvement on the 11 percent that, according to NBC exit poll data, Mitt Romney won in 2012.

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