Black support for Republicans rises in this year’s midterm elections

washington – Black voters have been steady Democratic Candidates Foundation It has been around for decades, but that support appears to be showing some cracks in this year’s election.

According to AP VoteCast, a broad survey of voters nationwide, the Republican candidate has the support of 14 percent of black voters, up from 8 percent in the last midterm election four years ago.

In Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s support among black voters more than doubled from 5% four years ago to 12% in 2022, according to VoteCast. He defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams both times.

If the boost holds up, Democrats could face headwinds in 2024 in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where presidential and Senate races are typically decided by narrow margins in favor of black voters. Voting is an important part of Democratic political strategy.

It is too early to tell whether the survey data for 2022 reflect the beginning of a long-term shift among black voters to the Republican Party, or whether the modest gains the Republicans have made from overwhelmingly Democratic groups will hold up in a presidential election year.Former President Donald Trump, who has announced a third run for presidentaccording to VoteCast, has the support of just 8% of black voters in 2020.

Surveys of this year’s midterm elections also found that Republican candidates in some key states raised their percentage of Latino voters, Any sustained growth in the proportion of black voters is therefore critical.

A variety of factors could affect survey results, including voter turnout and candidate outreach. However, some black voters said they would support the Republican Party because they said the party’s priorities resonated with them more than those of the Democrats.

Janet Piroleau, who lives in the Atlanta suburbs, Left the Democrats in 2016, during Trump’s first run for office, now votes Republican.This includes this year, when she was his victory On top of Abrams.

Pirolo said she feels Democrats are pushing to rely more on government programs. “It bothers me a lot,” she said.

“For me, it’s about taking responsibility and making your own decisions, rather than relying on the government to save you,” Pirolo said.

April Chapman, who lives in the Atlanta metro area, is one of the black voters who backed Kemp and other Republican candidates.

Like Pirolo, Chapman cited immigration, border security and the economy as important factors in deciding to become a Republican a decade ago. But the 43-year-old mother said her main disagreement with the party was education.

She said she felt Democrats were trying to control what her children should be exposed to and how they should be educated.

“The government education system wasn’t the best option for our family,” Chapman said.

Camilla Moore, chairwoman of the Georgia Black Republicans Committee, said a significant portion of the voters Kemp won in black neighborhoods “are actually Black Democrats.” Those voters made their decision based on Kemp’s performance in addressing the issues they care about, Moore said.

Her team also suggested that the Kemp campaign advertise on Black Radio and “do a little more work in some areas that are a little uncomfortable.”

Georgia’s results could be replicated elsewhere with the right candidates, she said.

“It’s not going to work for everyone. It does work for Republicans who have proven that they really are a senator for everyone or a governor for everyone,” Moore said.

Abrams’ campaign office and the Fair Fight Action, founded by Abrams, did not return repeated calls or emails.

The VoteCast findings underscore a dynamic that black activists and community leaders have long sought to convey — that black voters are not monolithic, and Democrats They should not be taken for granted.

Across the country, Republicans have worked hard in the midterm election cycle to try to shift a segment of black voters to their side. Janiyah Thomas, a communications strategist and former black media affairs manager at the Republican National Committee, said the GOP held business roundtables, prayer meetings, food drives and school choice events to hear about the various priorities of the black community that could influence their vote.

Thomas, who recently voted Republican, added that her dissent from the Black Lives Matter movement encouraged her to change sides.

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and author of a book on the voting rights movement, said black voters needed to hear from Democrats, Find out why their vote matters and what the party stands for them.

She said the message was especially important to young voters who “take to the streets and risk their lives for police reform” after the killing of George Floyd in 2020.they also hope voting rights are protected But not at the federal level during President Joe Biden’s first two years in office.

“Instead we got Juneteenth, and I don’t remember who asked for Juneteenth,” Brown-Marshall said, referring to the new federal holiday Commemorates the end of slavery in America.

National Conference of Negro Churches board chair W. Franklyn Richardson acknowledged that not all of the priorities of the black community are being met by Democrats, but said the party is more likely than Republicans to address those needs.

“We have to take the best of the two,” and move on, he said.

For James W. Jackson, the choice was to switch to the Republican Party after he felt that the Republican Party’s values ​​were more in line with his.

The pastor of Fervent Prayer Church in Indianapolis said he was originally a Democrat because it was the party of his father and many prominent black leaders.

Not everyone has seen a dramatic shift in black voters from Democrats to Republicans. Ron Daniels, director of the Black World Institute for the 21st Century, said his question wasn’t about what the Democrats failed to achieve, but what they had achieved, but was less vocal.

The agenda that Biden has pursued since taking office is “pretty clear on some of the key issues that have to do with black people. The problem is, because there’s hesitation and concerns about whether white voters are going to be shut out,” Daniels said, Democrats have not promote these initiatives.

Biden, he noted, Kamala Harris as Vice President, Nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court and appointment lisa cook to the Fed. He also pointed to the impact of the U.S. rescue package on black business owners.

“The truth is, they’re not talking about specific things that happened,” Daniels said.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said a higher percentage of black voters who voted Republican this year also may not mean greater and more durable support for the party.

He noted that African-Americans are a diverse voting group with different concerns and priorities and are therefore attracted to particular candidates. NAACP focus groups found that inflation, student loan debt and violence prevention were the top concerns for black voters. Candidates who express those concerns will be heard, he said.

“Democracy should be like this – an opportunity to choose among candidates,” Johnson said. “But that doesn’t mean the national (Republican) party platform is more reflective of the needs and interests of African-Americans as a whole.”

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Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhardt in Washington contributed to this report.

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AP coverage of race and voting was supported by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. The Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.

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