In 2016, Donald Trump received a slightly higher share of the black vote than did Mitt Romney in 2012 or John McCain in 2008. But he still received just 8 percent.
Now black support for Trump is in the mid-30s. While a 30 percent approval rating doesn’t necessarily translate into a 30 percent vote-share from black Americans in 2020, 30 percent approval is significant. Even if black support for Trump were in the mid-teens on election day, that could swing states like Michigan, Florida, and even Minnesota solidly into Trump’s camp.
Some of this increased black support is due to a historically low unemployment rate for black Americans, along with hefty income gains for many black Americans, as working-class and blue-collar wages finally begin to outpace managerial wages. Another reason is surely Trump’s criminal justice reform efforts.
Overall, only a fifth of black voters (and less than a quarter of Latino voters) describe themselves as very liberal. Half of black American voters say they are moderate or conservative. In the words of one author, “[T]he Democrats have shed working class whites, but black voters, once a tilting force, are becoming the new working-class whites, frustratingly more conservative and less radical than the Left would like.”