Black Vote 2000 & Beyond
by Webster Brooks 3rd (The Raven)
On November 7, 2000, over 10.2 million blacks voter went to the polls
in the first presidential contest of the new millennium. One (1)
million more blacks cast ballots in 2000 than in 1996, as black voter
participation rates jumped from 49% in 96, to 51% of all registered
black voters in 2000. The NAACP launched an unprecedented $10 million
voter education and registration project, and additional millions were
pumped into black communities by Democrats and unions in "get out the
vote" operations. Exceeding all expectations, Al Gore garnered 90% of
the Black vote, more than Clinton in 92 and 96. And yet, the result of
the most intense effort ever to turn out Black voters resulted in a
sweep of the White House and Congress by Republicans.
We will examine the story behind the numbers that authenticates the
2000 election as one of the most pivotal elections in recent history.
Highlights of the 2000 Elections
·In absolute numbers the black vote increased by 1 million voters from
9.5 million voters in 1996, to 10.5 million voters in 2000. However,
the percentage of black voters as a share of the total vote remained
the same. In 1996 and 2000 blacks casts 10% of the total vote. The
numerical increase of the black vote in 2000 was offset by an overall
increase in the total vote from 96.3 million in 96, to roughly 105
million in 2000.
·In 1996, black men and black women cast equal numbers of votes.
However In the 2000 election, black women outvoted black men by a 60
to 40 percent margin, the same as the 1992 presidential race. It can
be assumed that the spike in Black male voters in 1996 can be
attributed to the momentum of the Million Man March.
·The independent Black vote continued to shrink after hitting a high
in 1992. In 92, Perot won 8% of the black vote, then 4% in 1996. In
the 2000 elections, Nadar won 1% and Buchanan won 1% of the black
·Blacks cast 18.9 percent of the total national votes for Al Gore. In
Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama, Blacks cast one-half (50%) of all the
votes for Gore, yet Gore lost all three states.
·Bush captured 8% of the black vote, the lowest share of the
African-American electorate since Goldwater in 1964. In 96, Dole won
12 percent. Bush's vote among black voters in Texas fell from 27% in
1998 governor's race to 5% in the 2000 presidential race.
·Bush polled highest among black independents, winning 22% ot thier
votes. In 96 Dole won 18% of all black independent voters.
·Bush received twice as many votes from black men (12%) as he did from
black women (6%). Black women remain the strongest pro-democratic
sub-group in America.
·Bush won 31% of the Hispanic vote, compared to 21% garnered by Bob Dole in 1996.
·In the 2000 elections, Florida's black share of the total vote jumped
from 10% to 15%, in Missouri from 5% to 12%, in Texas from 10% to 15%,
in Tennessee from 13% to 18%. The black vote also realized growth in
New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, Alabama and Arkansas. In
the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Black share
of the total vote declined slightly.
·In 2000, a record number of 70 black candidates ran for federal
offices on major party tickets (46 Democrats & 24 Repubicans).
However, the number of black members of Congress remains the same as
1996. Thirty-nine blacks will serve in the 107th Congress.
·Black congressional incumbents won every race, averaging 79% of the
votes cast in their races. Black congressional Democrats continue to
hold the safest seats in Congress. Conversely, every non-incumbent
black who ran for a major party federal office was defeated, with the
exception of William Clay Jr., who won a congressional seat occupied
by his father.
·Eleven black candidates sought state-wide elective office. The four
candidates who won were David L. Burgess, elected Public Service
Commission in Georgia, James A. Wynn, elected to North Carolina Court
of Appeals, Ralph Cambell, elected as North Carolina State Auditor and
Michael L. Williams, elected Texas Railroad Commission.
Sources: New York Times, Voter News Service, Committee for the Study
of American Electorate
Some Thoughts On Black Voting Trends
·Despite the Civil Rights establishment's rhetoric about the "tidal
wave" of Black voter turnout in the 2000 elections, and
notwithstanding the net increase of one million voters over 1996, the
overall trendline of the Black vote has been on a downward spiral
since 1968. At best, the Black vote in 2000 marked a return to 1988
voting levels when turnout was 51.5%.
·The Black vote remains a negative vote. Since the 1994 off-year
elections in which Republicans seized control of the House and Senate,
Democrats and black liberals principal devise to turn out Black voters
has been scare tactics, anger and fear. Prior to 1994, it was
Republicans that scared Blacks to the polls with racial wedge-issue
politics. Contemporary black voters don't vote for something
(policies, programs, agendas), they vote against Republicans.
·Democrats made gains in turning out Black youth voters in 2000. Their
best results came from targeting Historically Black Colleges. The
Democrats also made their first real effort to attract hip-hop voters.
The Black left has made repeated efforts to target rappers and
infiltrate the Rap-the-Vote phenom. Al Gore also appeared for a
one-on-one talk show interview with Queen Latifa two weeks before
election day. Russell Simmons, Chuck D and others have been active in
these initiatives as well.
·Despite Democrat forays into the Black youth vote, a substantial
number of new Black youth voters continue to trend toward registering
as Independents. Black youth voters identification and loyalty to the
Democratic remains weak.
·The NAACP has not divulged the number of people they claim to have
registered as a result of their $10 million voter outreach projects.
The group had vowed to register 4 million new black voters. The last
public information provided, projected 750,000 just before election
·At the time of the 2000 election, more than 30% of all Black voters
lived in the suburbs of major U.S. cities. This demograhic shift is
re-shaping the composition of several congressional races, state and
local elections. The upcoming redistricting battles may be made more
complicated if racial composition is taken into account.
·While the Black vote for Independent Presidential candidates has been
declining since Perot's candidacy in 1992, the African-American
electorate is still quite fluid. Had Gov. Jesse Ventura (MN) run in
2000, his in-your-face style would have had great appeal in the Black
community. As the political arena churns and becomes more engrossed in
pop culture, we are likely to see more colorful celebrities get
involved in electoral politics at all levels. As independent
candidates, these celebrity types could pose real problems for
Democrats. The independent Black vote is volatile. For example, how
does one explain the fact that Ross Perot won the same percentage of
the Black vote in 1992 as George Bush received in 2000.