The following is an excerpt:
After Donald Trump won in 2016, anguished Democrats wondered how they could recapture the White voters in the Midwest who swung heavily to his campaign, turning states that had long been safely blue into red on electoral maps. But this fall’s election might hinge on a different demographic, one that was overshadowed by the focus on working-class Whites: Black voters who sat out 2016.
Black turnout declined in 2016 for the first time in 20 years, falling from 66.2 percent of eligible voters in 2012 — a higher share than for White eligible voters in that election — to 59.6 percent. Black voters overwhelmingly back Joe Biden; Washington Post-ABC News national polls conducted late last month and early this month found Biden leading Trump among African American likely voters, 92 percent to 8 percent. So if Black voters who stayed home four years ago turn out this year, Biden could swing back the states that Trump narrowly won against Hillary Clinton, no matter what happens with the White vote.
To get a sense of what’s on the minds of some of the people who could determine who the next president is, Outlook editors spoke with some Black voters who had answered PostABC News poll questions this year and didn’t vote in 2016. Edited excerpts of those conversations follow.
I didn’t vote in 2016, because I was unsatisfied with the presidential candidates from the two major parties, and I didn’t follow the third-party candidates well enough to make a decision to vote for one of them. I did not regret that decision, but I decided that I needed to link up with like-minded individuals in the electoral arena next time. When I identified the party that spoke to me and my political values, I thought I’d make it official: In 2017, I registered with a political party for the first time ever and joined the Green Party. I first got interested in them after Cynthia McKinney ran for president in 2008. Back then, I was unable to vote because I was living in a temporary location.
I do plan to vote in November. I just feel like I have another option now. In the general national election, I plan to vote for Howie Hawkins. He is the co-founder of the Green Party, so he embodies the values and the platform. He was the first candidate to run on a Green New Deal, in 2010, and I’m really excited about that as an economic and ecological program. That’s critical in this time, I think, because the U.S. withdrew from the Paris agreement under Trump. My polling place is just around the corner, and I have the graveyard shift, so I’m confident that I’ll be able to cast my ballot.
— Jubalyn ExWilliams, 38, Harrisburg, Pa.
The Washington Post