I see that Thomas Edsall is coming to see black voters more as I do. From his New York Times column:
The African-American electorate has been undergoing a quiet, long-term transformation, moving from the left toward the center on several social and cultural issues, while remaining decisively liberal, even radical, on economic issues, according to a series of studies by prominent African-American scholars.
“There has been a shift in the attitudes of black masses about the extent to which systematic discrimination and prejudice are the primary reasons blacks continue to lag behind whites,” Candis Watts Smith, a political scientist at Penn State, wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Black Studies in 2014, “Shifting From Structural to Individual Attributions of Black Disadvantage: Age, Period and Cohort Effects on Black Explanations of Racial Disparities.”
Smith argues that older black Americans with deeply ingrained memories of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s have been joined by a younger generation, with the result that
African Americans’ attention has increasingly shifted from structural reasons of black disadvantage (e.g., systematic discrimination in the job or housing markets) to individual-based explanations (e.g., lack of individual motivation; oppositional attitudes to school and learning) of these disparities, especially in the post — civil rights era.
I don’t encounter young black Americans as frequently as I used to but middle-aged and elderly blacks are a lot more socially conservative than you might conclude if you get your information from the major news outlets. And, based on the times I’ve served with blacks on juries, they not only believe in law and order, they believe in punishment. Much more than I do I should say.
In the recent Chicago mayoral primary elections black voters voted for the most conservative candidate running. Lori Lightfoot didn’t get elected by blacks. Her primary supporters were whites living on the Northwest Side. And Toni Preckwinkle didn’t even carry her own ward in the general election.
I’m surprised at his figure that blacks comprise 25% of Democratic primary voters. I would think it was a lot higher. Maybe it’s just a lot higher here. Whatever their numbers or percentage middle-aged and elderly black voters do register and vote, much more regularly and faithfully than their white counterparts in my experience.
Democrats ignore them at their own risk but that’s become a very bad habit. Judging by the polling information more blacks support Joe Biden than they do either of the black (or at least notionally black) candidates running for president. Maybe that’s name recognition. Maybe it’s because of his association with Barack Obama. I think it’s because he’s seen as a more centrist candidate than Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren and they think he can win.