| Review of The New America
I share your tone of joy. To add to your list of firsts, starting in 1976, when the Voting Rights Act was barely a decade old, all-white-candidate fields were the norm. African American voters were just a slender fraction of the Democratic Party kept at arm’s length by presidential candidates. But today, Black voters have emerged as a political force and one of the most intensely courted constituencies in Democratic politics.
In 2020, they accounted for at least one out of every four ballots cast in the party's presidential primaries, more than tripling — and perhaps even quadrupling — the share they accounted for just a few decades ago. This s a political and demographic revolution over the course of 40 years. Until now, much of this data has been hard to come by, unavailable online, walled off in academic archives, even discarded by the news media outlets that sponsored it. Thanks to the assistance of William Mayer, a political scientist at Northeastern University and an expert on presidential campaigns, NBC News has assembled for the first time a publicly available state-by-state record of the black vote for each of the nine competitive national Democratic campaigns since the inception of widespread exit polling. Black politicians were winning office in larger numbers — a handful in Congress, some in big city mayoralties and more in state legislatures, particularly in the South.
The decade since that landmark Obama campaign has brought further changes to each party’s demographic makeup. The divide between white voters with college degrees and those without, a phenomenon that had long been building, has in the Trump-era turned into a gaping rupture.
If the trend of increasing Black voter participation continues its assent in the democratic Party, we should expect to see increasing numbers of African American voter causes rise to a compelling status as well as increased representation in the election process.