Why Most Black Americans Support Democratic Candidates In Elections

It's no secret that a majority of Black Americans lean towards the Democratic Party when it comes to elections. In fact, researchers and analysts said this has been consistent over the 40 years or so.

In September 2020, Pew Research Center said Black voters have "solidly supported" Democratic candidates based on national exit polling data. BlackDemographics.com backed up this claim, adding that 70 percent of Black Americans considered themselves Democrats in 2016.

But how long has this been the case? There was a time when Black people leaned more toward Republican candidates than Democrat contenders. To understand this shift, we need to go back in time to the Civil War era.

President Abraham Lincoln, who was a Republican, had a hand in the abolitionist movement. Those who championed the freedom of Black people also got involved in the party while Southern Democrats worked for bar Black Americans from basic rights, including voting, for some years to come. It wasn't until 1924 that Black people were welcomed to the Democratic National Convention (DNC), according to FactCheck.org.

Black voters continued to support Republican candidates up until 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed this New Deal. This game changer of a plan provided more federal support to minorities and underrepresented communities, even though it continued allowing some discrimination toward Black people.

Roosevelt garnered 71 percent of the Black vote in 1936 despite most Black Americans leaning Republican at the time. This moment in history is largely credited for starting the major shift from Black people supporting Republicans to mostly supporting Democrats.

It wasn't until Harry Truman that a Democratic candidate garnered a large share of the the Black vote in 1948. Earlier that year, Truman issued an order to desegregate the armed forces and another order to shut down racial bias in federal employment.

Lyndon B. Johnson kept the momentum going when he signed off on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation in public spaces. "Johnson got 94 percent of the black vote that year, still a record for any presidential election," according to BlackDemographics.com. He also pushed through the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting.

Since then, Black Americans typically lean toward Democratic candidates when it comes to national elections. While some researchers are reporting modern-day shifts and continue analyzing 2020 election trends, most Black voters, for now, are still mostly blue.

Photo: Getty Images

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