How Important is the Black Vote?

Originally posted by Joseph C. Phillips at

My response to those concerned about the number of Blacks voting for Republicans has tended along the lines of, “Eeh!” Frankly, I haven’t cared. Long ago, I decided that the GOP in general and Conservatives specifically, should simply preach our message to anyone who is interested, preach it passionately, and then let the chips fall where they may. If 90% of one group of people wants to vote for one party exclusively, so be it. That is, as they say, life in the big city.

As the 2016 presidential race gets off to a start, I have had a change of heart. I no longer think it is enough to simply preach our ideas. It is not enough to simply pontificate about the Constitution, limited Government, and Free market principles, we must see those principles put into practice in our public policy. In order for that to happen, Conservatives must hold office. In order for Conservatives to hold office, Conservatives must win elections. In order to win elections, Conservatives must get votes and the only way to get votes is to engage with the voters, to meet them where they live.

Why do I suddenly care about the Black vote?

In 2004, George W. Bush won re-election, in part, because he was able to increase his percentage of the black vote in the key states of Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, Bush increased his percentage to 16% from 9% in 2000. Similarly, in Florida, the Black vote for Bush rose to 13%. Additionally, Bush won 16% of the black vote in Pennsylvania. Nationally, Bush was able to win about 12% of the black vote, again an increase from the 2000 election. In a very real way, Black voters re-elected George W. Bush.

The statistics are important because since the Nixon landslide of 1972, no Republican presidential candidate has managed to win more than 12 percent of the Black vote. John McCain managed a paltry three percent of the Black vote. (In fairness to McCain, he was running against a god.) Mitt Romney did slightly better with six percent. Perhaps the most important statistic of all is that in the 2012 election, Black voters outnumbered white voters for the first time in history. How important is the Black vote?

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