Analysis 08-26-2016


Black Voters 2016

There was once a time when the Black vote was reliably Republican. From the Civil War to the mid 1960s, Blacks were a reliable part of the GOP voter base. Even well known civil rights leaders like Dr. Martian Luther King were registered Republicans.

All that changed with the Civil Rights Bill. Although Lyndon Johnson supported it, many southern Democrats opposed it, and it was only with the help of the Republicans congressmen that it made it through Congress.

But, that GOP support didn’t help Republicans. From that time on, Blacks have been a reliable Democratic voter block. In turn, the GOP and Nixon developed a “Southern Strategy” that wooed the Southern White voter. The result was that the once reliable Democratic South became the reliable Republican South.

These facts still are true today. The South will go for Trump, while Black voters will vote for Clinton.

A survey by the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) last spring showed how reliably Democratic the Black vote is. 88% of Black voters 50 years or older said that were definitely or probably likely to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, even though they didn’t know who that would be. Only 3% of Black voters indicated a similar interest for the GOP.

Interestingly enough, 70% of the Black voters said the economy was in good shape – although a majority of 50/or older voters said the economy was in bad shape.

But, will that be enough? There is considerable data to indicate that the black vote may not help Clinton win – a fact that was clearly demonstrated in the primaries.

The 2016 Democratic Primaries and the Black Vote

Without a black presidential candidate at the top of the ticket, there is evidence that Black voter turnout may drop considerably. The number of African-Americans who voted in swing state primaries this year, plummeted by an estimated 40 percent in Ohio, 38 percent in Florida and 34 percent in North Carolina compared with the 2008 Democratic primary when Barack Obama was on the ballot, reported the advocacy group Black Votes Matter.

“Hillary’s repeated trouncing of Bernie Sanders with the black vote has masked the alarming fact that there has been a dramatic drop-off in black turnout in the Democratic primaries,” said Charlie King, founder of the Black Voters Matter super PAC.

“It will be very hard for the Hillary campaign alone to have a message that excites Reagan Democrats and the 4 million new black Barack Obama voters to come out and vote. That is why Donald Trump poses a real challenge,” he said.

Black Turnout

While Black voters will remain loyal to the Democrats and Clinton, the question is if they will turnout at the polls in the same numbers that they did for Obama.

True, Clinton is overwhelmingly popular among African-American voters. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found her favorable ratings among black voters at 81 percent – that’s higher than her favorable ratings among all Democrats (75 percent), Hispanics (51 percent) or liberals (73 percent).

But favorability is a lot different than turning voters out on November 8th.

In 2008, Obama inspired record numbers of black voters to come to the polls for the historic election – African Americans – age 18 to 44 – outnumbered any other ethnic group.

The Cook Report says, “According to exit polls, African-Americans were just 10 percent of the electorate in 2000 and 11 percent in 2004, but rose to 13 percent in 2008 and stayed there in 2012. In fact, in 2012, African-American turn-out exceeded white turn-out by two points (66 percent to 64 percent). And, while black turn-out has been on the rise since 1996, it is only in the last two elections -2008 and 2012 – where African American turn-out was even with white turn-out. Between 1996 and 2004, white turn-out exceeded African-American turnout by an average of seven points.”

We can’t underestimate how black voters have become to today’s Democratic Party, particularly when it comes to the Electoral College. According to exit poll data from 2012, African-American voters accounted for Obama’s entire margin of victory in seven states: Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Without these states’ 112 electoral votes, Obama would have lost decisively. African-Americans also accounted for almost all of Obama’s margin in Wisconsin. All of these states, except Maryland, will be crucial 2016 battlegrounds.

That doesn’t mean that a bad Black voter turn-out will doom Clinton, but it would leave her with a whole lot less margin for error in a host of swing states according to the Cook Report. For example, in Virginia, what if the African-American share of the vote had been 18 percent instead of 20 percent in 2012? They estimate Obama would have won by 1.6 percent, rather than 3.9 percent. In Ohio, what if it had been 13 percent instead of 15 percent? They estimate Obama would have won by 0.8 percent, not 3.0 percent. In Pennsylvania, what if it had been 11 percent instead of 13 percent? Obama’s edge would have shrunk from 5.4 percent to 3.4 percent.

A drop in black turnout would probably doom Clinton in Florida, where Romney narrowly lost 50% to 49% to Obama. And, in recent history, the winner of Florida becomes the president.

If Black voter turnout – without a Black presidential candidate at the top of the ballot – mimics mid term elections, it could even be worse as Black voter turnout in swing states was 10% to 29% lower in 2010 than 2008.

There is even worse news. That slight downturn in Black voter turnout may become fatal, when combined with Trump’s share of former White Democratic voters (what were once called Reagan Democrats).   Working-class whites gave Obama just 36 percent nationally in 2012. That means, if the African-American share of the electorate were to drop two points in 2016, Clinton would need to do about 1.5 percent better than Obama did among all white voters just to offset that decline – a realistic goal, but one that would require reversing the Democratic Party’s declining share of the White vote.

Trump Reaches Out to Black Voters

While Clinton is failing to energize either White or Black voters, Trump has started to reach out to Blacks. In a key note speech last week in Michigan, he noted that Obama and Clinton have failed to improve the lot for Blacks in the last 8 years. He encouraged them to vote for him, noting that they “couldn’t do any worse.”

Black speakers are an important part of Trump rallies. In Tuesday night’s rally in Austin, TX, a Black preacher and a Black leader in the Texas GOP were “warm-up” speakers before Trump came onstage. And, although there were more Whites at the rally, there were enough Blacks in the audience to prove that the black community isn’t fully behind Clinton.

It appears that economic opportunity is the key issue for Blacks supporting Trump. Trump has attacked trade policies that have sent American jobs overseas and that appears to resonate with some Blacks. The AARP poll showed that economic issues concerned 40% of working Blacks over the age of 50.

In the end, Trump doesn’t have to win the Black vote. If he can induce a small percentage to either vote for him (2% to 3% more than did for Romney) or not vote at all, he can win several critical swing states.

However, in what must be worrying to Clinton team members, some polls show Trump getting historic levels of Black support. Twenty percent of African-American voters in Florida support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump according to a poll released Wednesday by Florida Atlantic University (in 2012, Romney only got 4% of the Florida Black vote). In the poll, released on Wednesday, Clinton has the support of 68 percent of African-American voters in Florida. The poll shows Trump leading 43 to 41 percent among all Florida voters. 1200 registered Florida voters were surveyed from August 19-22.

Is the Black Vote the Critical Voter Block of 2016?

Although the Hispanic vote is the “popular” minority voter block of 2016, as we noted last week, most of those voters are in non-battleground states like Texas and California. According to the Cook Report, “had ZERO Latinos voted in 2012, Obama would have lost the popular vote but still would have won the White House with 283 Electoral votes.”

The Black vote, on the other hand is in several states that will determine the winner of the election. This may very well explain why Clinton has focused on some Black issues like “Black Lives Matter.” She knows that it may be the turnout among black voters in November that may mean the difference between a narrow loss or a narrow win.




The $400,000,000 Cash Payment to Iran: What You Need to Know
By Harold Kazianis
Heritage Foundation
August 21, 2016

Various media outlets today are reporting some disturbing news: that the U.S. State Department has confirmed a $400 million cash payment to Iran was linked to the release of multiple Americans that were held by Tehran. Heritage Foundation experts have been tracking this issue—as well as the challenges with the Iran nuclear deal overall—for some time now. Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies here at Heritage, noted some disturbing trends when it comes to the cash shipment and the Iran deal: “The Obama Administration has violated a long standing U.S. policy—probably dating back to the time of the Barbary Wars—of never paying ransom for U.S. hostages overseas.” Coffey explained “The Obama Administration has now put a value on captured Americans. This will undoubtedly place Americans under a greater risk in the future of being captured for ransom. This revelation is just the latest example of how the Iran deal was bad for America and bad for its allies.”

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Somalia’s Milestone Electoral Process Requires U.S. Scrutiny
By Joshua Meservey
Heritage Foundation
August 19, 2016

The East African country of Somalia is approaching a milestone in its efforts to emerge from more than two decades of conflict. It is in the midst of an electoral process that will culminate in October with members of the Somali parliament electing a president, the country’s first electoral process since the United States recognized the Federal Republic of Somalia in January 2013. The current process will be a useful measure of how effective strong U.S. support for the government has been. U.S. policymakers should follow events closely to determine if the process represents progress; push all parties to conduct the process in a manner that establishes the primacy of rule of law and contributes to building the systems and institutions necessary for stability and peaceful transfers of power; and increase U.S. ability to monitor its investment in Somalia.

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The Battle for the GOP’s Foreign Policy Soul
By Christopher A. Preble
Cato Institute
August 23, 2016.
The Federalist

When I saw that Fox News’s Sean Hannity and the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens were engaged in a nasty public spat over Donald Trump, it reminded me of what Henry Kissinger allegedly said of the contestants in the Iran-Iraq war: “It’s a pity they can’t both lose.” In the Hannity-Stephens war, they both might. Hannity and Stephens reflect two of the foreign policy paths Republicans could take in Trump’s wake. But there is at least one other approach, one that rejects both Trump and Hannity’s nativism and xenophobia, and Stephens’ enthusiasm for having the U.S. military fight lots of foreign wars. If the GOP seems poised to go down that third path, expect Hannity and Stephens to put aside their differences and team up to stop it.

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Biden Back in Turkey: Personal Diplomacy After the Coup Attempt
By Bulent Aliriza
Center for Strategic and International Studies
August 23, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden will be back in Turkey on August 24 on a hastily arranged one-day trip designed to ease additional tensions which have arisen in the U.S.-Turkish relationship since the failed coup attempt on July 15. Biden last visited Turkey in January, following his earlier visits in 2011 and 2014. This trip, which is almost certainly his last while in office, promises to be considerably more difficult than his previous ones. The fact that it is Biden who is traveling to Turkey rather than Secretary of State John Kerry, who was originally scheduled to go to Ankara, underlines the Obama Administration’s recognition of the seriousness of the current malaise in the relationship. Biden, who is known to be proud of his abilities at personal diplomacy, clearly believes that his meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish leaders will help steer U.S.-Turkish relations back on track. However, while he is likely to leave without solving the issues on the agenda which will continue to cast a shadow over the relationship, the reestablishment of a dialogue at the highest level between Washington and Ankara, combined with positive optics associated with the visit, will surely help to ease strains to some extent.

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Iranian envoy shoring up ties on US doorstep
By Roger F. Noriega
American Enterprise Institute
August 24, 2016

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, began a tour of Latin America with the stated objective of strengthening economic ties — in agriculture, petroleum, petrochemicals, mining, medicine, and engineering. His trip includes stops in Cuba, Chile, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Venezuela. It is not surprising that Zarif will visit regimes that aid, abet, or engage in criminality and that share Iran’s anti-American sentiment. Chile is out of place among the rogue regimes that the Iranian envoy will visit. However, since President Michelle Bachelet returned to power in 2014, Iran’s ties with that country have never been better. In 2015, after 37 years without an embassy, Bachelet’s administration reopened its diplomatic mission in Tehran, reversing the previous administration’s position of strict enforcement of sanctions against Iran. For its part, Iran has shown particular interest in Chile’s banking, mining, and energy sectors.

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In Search of an EU Role in the Syrian War
By Marc Pierini
Carnegie Endowment
August 18, 2016

The Syrian war has left the EU in a second-tier position among international actors. The violent policies of the Syrian regime, Russia’s show of force, Turkey’s ambivalent policy on the self-proclaimed Islamic State and the Syrian Kurds, and the EU’s internal divisions have given the union little influence on the course of events in Syria. Yet the brunt of the war’s humanitarian, economic, and security consequences falls on EU countries. The EU’s future role in Syria will be a litmus test of a genuine common foreign and security policy.
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Rojava’s Sustainability and the PKK’s Regional Strategy
By Fabrice Balanche
Washington Institute
August 24, 2016

Although it is still difficult to predict the future of Syria as a whole, the existence of an increasingly autonomous Kurdish region along the country’s northern frontier has become a reality. For now, the boundaries of this “Rojava” remain blurred and might be different from those officially claimed by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Yet the group’s ongoing efforts to expand and merge its cantons reflect a firm commitment to gathering Syria’s Kurds into an economically viable statelet that extends tantalizingly close to the Mediterranean Sea — a prospect that could also advance the goals of its parent organization in Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

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The Twin Battle in Libya: Against the Islamic State and for Unity
By Ben Fishman
Washington Institute
August 23, 2016
PolicyWatch 2679

On August 1, the United States initiated airstrikes against the Islamic State’s stronghold in Libya. Although a significant victory against IS seems assured, the legitimacy of the Government of National Accord (GNA) is threatened by continuing political rivalries with the previous governing authority, the House of Representatives (HOR), based in the east. The next few weeks could determine whether Libya will maintain a semblance of political unity or descend into another civil war, leaving open the possibility of an IS resurgence — the very factor that prompted the U.S. summer offensive.

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