Black men who choose to vote for Donald Trump are doing so because of chauvinism, said former NAACP president Ben Jealous.
While research indicates that more than 80% of Black voters will vote for Democrats, large differences remain between Black men and women. According to Pew Research, 87% of Black women identify as Democrat, compared to 77% of Black men.
In the 2016 election, 98% of Black women voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump — compared to just 81% of Black men who voted for Clinton that year, according to validated election results.
“The reason why you see white men, brown men, Black men, all voting at higher rates for Trump than the women in each category, frankly, is his appeal to a chauvinism, to machismo, to patriarchy, by whatever name you call it,” Jealous told Yahoo Finance. “And so what you see is in group after group, he trends higher with men.”
Jealous, the current president of People for the American Way, explained that Trump’s “strong man persona” was one that some men feel is “the most valuable thing they have.”
The Black vote is critical to both Democrats and Republicans, and the Trump campaign has been trying to double support from 6% in 2016 to 12% this year.
Celebrities like Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and Ice Cube have all voiced support for President Trump or his policies, citing his “Platinum Plan” — Trump’s “promise” to Black America and his tax policies which they say are better for higher bracket earners than Biden.
Jealous says that Trump’s funding of HBCUs isn’t swaying Black voters to vote for Republicans.
“There's a White House Office on HBCUs. It's not new to Trump, and Trump has no history with HBCUs prior to coming into office. It's just simply a virtue of who's ever in the White House, [that] there is a White House Office on HBCUs,” he said.
As the Black vote bloc increases in importance, voter suppression — including long wait times — continues to disproportionately impact minority communities.
Studies have found that Black communities face longer wait times to vote than their white counterparts, while the Bipartisan Policy Center found that “over 560,000 eligible voters failed to cast a ballot because of problems related to polling place management, including long lines.”
Using data from the 2016 election, research shows that Black voters wait nearly 30% longer than their white counterparts, while Black neighborhoods were approximately 75% more likely to wait 30 minutes or more.
Jealous said that the Black vote has been targeted as a “high impact” way to “hurt Democrats.”
And with high levels of frustration in the Black community toward politicians of any party around economic issues like poverty, the Black vote has been “fertile ground for mischief and confusion,” Jealous added.
“I'm glad to see, quite frankly, Biden competing more for the Black male vote,” he said. “Democrats absolutely have to be making the case to their base and making it clear how they're going to improve people's lives. But there's no denying that, from the Russians to the far-right wing, there has been intentional targeting of the Black vote, and specifically of younger Black voters, and even within that, Black men who, frankly, have sky-high joblessness in many places.”
But Democrats will have to be held accountable to promises made to minority voters, and to policies that will benefit their communities.
But first, Jealous explained, is ensuring that the majority-rule works in the Senate so that the country doesn’t see a “minority of Republican senators hold the nation hostage when it comes to making progress.”
Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.