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Pew report pokes a hole in the narrative about Trump-loving Black voters

The Pew Research Center has released a report that underscores how the claims that there has been a seismic shift toward Republicans among nonwhite voters have been wrong all along.


A new report from the Pew Research Center pokes a hole in the oft-repeated claim that a historic racial realignment is occurring within American politics, with nonwhite voters learning to love the GOP and Donald Trump.

In recent years — days, even — there’s been a seemingly endless deluge of news stories hyping up this purported realignment as fact. Trump and his allies have been touting similar claims as well (which seems like all the more reason to question them).

But you needn’t just take my word for it. Pew’s analysis of registered voters — based on hundreds of thousands of interviews conducted from 1994 through last summer — showed that while Democrats may have lost some support among nonwhite voters, any seismic shift in party identification is largely a figment of the media’s imagination.

Pew reported:

As has long been the case, White voters are much more likely than those in other racial and ethnic groups to associate with the Republican Party. Hispanic and Asian voters tilt more Democratic. Black voters remain overwhelmingly Democratic.

I think these findings should prompt some self-reflection, and maybe even some apologies, from those who have routinely pushed this angle. Because, frankly, a lot of the commentary in recent years, particularly about Black voters and their purported support for Trump and the GOP, has been offensively ignorant.

Nothing has offended me more than the parade of credential-less pontificators — often, pop culture figures —  platformed by major news outlets to speak with certainty about this shift that doesn’t actually appear to be based in reality.

Surely, you’ve heard their talking points:

And, to me, this half-baked punditry has always had the feel of racial pseudoscience — just without the calipers. It hasn’t helped that media outlets have trotted out just about every aged and/or ignorant rapper or part-time pundit they can find, seemingly to help demystify the confusing Black mind and its supposed infatuation with the unabashedly racist Trump.

“By golly, I can’t make sense of why the Blacks are falling in love with Trump,” a show booker might say. “Surely, Ice Cube has the answers.”

So I think the Pew analysis holds promise. It’s encouragement for news outlets to do what I and many other Black folks have been advising for some time: Find a story more worthwhile. At minimum, one that’s more rooted in reality.

As an example: I don’t think the fact that there has been some movement toward the GOP among nonwhite voters is a complete non-story. I just don’t think it’s a story for the reasons that media outlets often suggest, which is that it either signals love for Trump or disillusionment with Democrats.

I think there’s a story to be written about how men could be drawn in by Trump’s misogyny. (In fact, I’ve written it a couple of times.) I also think there’s a discussion to be had about how some nonwhite voters might cast ballots for Trump out of fear of the racial violence that could follow if he loses. He has, after all, warned about a “bloodbath” if he doesn’t win.

But what I’m talking about here are complex conversations that go deeper than the shallow “Blacks are backing Trump” narrative we hear so often — and which the Pew report has helped expose.