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Why Black Voters Prefer Establishment Candidates Over Liberal Alternatives
|Last Edited||EastTexasDem Oct 02, 2019 09:32pm|
|Author||Perry Bacon Jr.|
|News Date||Wednesday, October 2, 2019 12:00:00 PM UTC0:0|
|Description||Black voters effectively delivered Hillary Clinton the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. She and Sen. Bernie Sanders ran about evenly among white voters, but black voters overwhelmingly backed Clinton. So did the Democratic establishment. |
That team-up — black voters and the more establishment candidate — is not unusual.
We don’t have detailed exit polls of Democratic primaries for most other offices, but according to pre-election polls and precinct results in a number of high-profile House and gubernatorial primaries since 2016, black voters have tended to back the candidate from the party’s establishment wing over a more liberal alternative. And at least for now, we’re seeing the same pattern in the 2020 Democratic presidential race: Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders are fairly competitive with Joe Biden among white Democrats, but trail the former vice president substantially among black Democrats.
Why, though? After all, African Americans have dramatically less income and wealth than white Americans, so messages of “big, structural change” (Warren) or a “political revolution” (Sanders) should, in theory, be particularly appealing. Because a higher percentage of black Americans than white Americans don’t have health insurance, a program like Medicare for All, for example, would disproportionately benefit black people.
So what gives? I’m going to offer some potential answers to that question, but let’s first get a couple caveats and complications out of the way.
First, it’s hard to come up with a definitive explanation for the establishment-black voter alliance because the “establishment” is a fuzzy concept. Exactly which candidate is a center-left, establishment Democrat and which is anti-establishment or “the liberal alternative” is all a bit subjective.
Second — and this is important — black Democrats are not a monolith and are divided in some of the same ways white Democrats are divided. Young bl
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