The 2008 Presidential election was an historic occasion for African Americans, when for the first time, an African American was elected President. This year, President Obama is seeking a second term, and there is no reason to expect any change in black voting patterns. President Obama will almost certainly receive strong black support on November 6. The Republicans’ nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has little history with African Americans. Further, the growing influence of the anti-black Tea Party within the GOP makes political appeals to African Americans difficult for any Republican office-seeker. Finally, Romney’s Mormon faith is off-putting to many African Americans since for much of their history, Mormons held blacks to be inferior to whites. The divide between African Americans and the Republican Party, once so narrow, has become a chasm.
This guide details the range of participation by African Americans in the Republican Party, the geographical and partisan dimensions of the black vote in recent years, and black voters’ attitudes toward many issues that may be significant in the fall campaign. The information will be of interest to political activists and election watchers, as well as to scholars of American politics. Moreover, by better appreciating their own capacity to be influential, black Republicans, despite their low numbers among the voting population, will nonetheless be better able to use what influence they have in pursuit of their public policy interests.
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