The Democrats need young black voters. But the political party of our parents doesn’t seem to know how to reach us — the black millennials they can’t afford to lose — this time around.
Activists associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, which sprang up in the aftermath of protests over the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have been challenging the Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton over the past few months through direct action and protests at their campaign events. So far, the candidates have responded reluctantly to the prodding, and in ways that show they underestimate the number of voters behind the movement.
In 2008, roughly 11 percent of the electorate were first-time voters. Over 20 percent of these “surge voters” were black, and 70 percent were under 30 years old. And in 2012, according to the Cook Political Report, black voters accounted for the president’s margin of victory in seven key states: Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.