Black voters in the rust belt can give Biden victory

Black voters in the rust belt can give Biden victory
Black voters in the rust belt can give Biden victory

Detroit, Milwaukee, and Cleveland were formerly thriving industrial cities, known for the automotive and steel industries. But since the 1980s, there has only been one road with closures, flagging out, high unemployment and major social challenges.

A large proportion of the population is black, and in frustration that President Barack Obama after eight years in power failed to reverse the trend, many in 2016 chose to stay home on election day.

For Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, the result was disastrous and contributed greatly to the election defeat.

, for his part, succeeded in mobilizing frustrated white working-class voters, who relied on his promise to bring American industry home and make “America Great Again.”

Democrats, for their part, lost more voters in the areas of Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee than anywhere else in the United States.

Trump’s promises

Despite Trump’s promising promises of industrial and economic recovery, the “rust belt” is still a highly apt description of the states of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, where the three cities are located.

Trump’s trade wars with Europe, China, Mexico and Canada have not borne fruit either, and the US trade deficit with the rest of the world is now higher than in 14 years.

Even the arch-American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson, which is headquartered in Wisconsin, flagged out parts of the production in 2018, to


The frustration and dissatisfaction with the president is growing, among blacks also intensified through the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This can have an effect on election day.

Little that separated

Even if Trump were to get as much support among white working class voters in the rust belt as in 2016, mobilization among black voters could bring victory to the Democrats.

In 2016, Clinton lost by only 10,700 votes in Michigan, where around 5 million votes were cast. In Wisconsin, where about 3 million votes were cast, just under 23,000 votes separated her from Trump.

Clinton suffered the clearest defeat in Ohio. There, Trump received just over 2.8 million votes, close to 450,000 more than the Democrats’ candidate.

The Republicans thus conquered all three states from the Democrats and gained 44 voters, which according to analysts greatly contributed to Trump’s election victory.

Now, however, the Democrats seem to be advancing in the rust belt, and an average of the latest polls in Michigan shows that Biden has a lead of just over 7 percentage points.

In Wisconsin, Biden leads by just over 6 percentage points, and even in Ohio, according to opinion polls, he seems to have caught up with Trump’s lead, even though the polls there indicate a very smooth run.

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One of the explanations for the Democrats’ progress may be mobilization among black voters, states the Chicago Tribune.

One in ten voters in the United States is black, and in the last election, nine out of ten blacks voted for Clinton. However, turnout in this group was low, so it did not lead to victory.

Biden’s election of Kamala Harris as vice presidential candidate could contribute to increased turnout and support, although some analysts question this.

The Chicago Tribune has interviewed some 60 black leaders and activists in Detroit, Milwaukee and Cleveland, but found little enthusiasm for Biden.

Many of them, however, stressed the importance of voting for the Democrats to get rid of Trump and in protest against racism and police brutality.

– The murder of George Floyd and the unrest that followed, has made many now realize the importance of voting. But they do not believe that Joe Biden will make a big difference from or to, says Mary Sheffield, who sits on the city council in Detroit, to the newspaper.

Little enthusiasm

The same is true in Cleveland, says Basheer Jones, the first Muslim to run for city council and active in both Obama’s and Clinton’s election campaign.

“Unfortunately, I do not see the great enthusiasm for Joe Biden here in Cleveland,” he states.

– Even if you are not for Biden, I hope in the end that you are against Trump and that it will be enough. “I’m not sure,” he told the Chicago Tribune.

The 50-year-old construction worker Ronnie Thomas in Milwaukee is quite clear on why he will vote for Biden.

– Because he is not Trump, that is all that matters, he says to the newspaper.

Ohio can decide

The Biden campaign probably realizes that black mobilization in itself will not necessarily be enough to secure victory in the rust belt and is therefore also trying to lure Trump’s core voters, white workers and the low-educated unemployed.

In 2016, 64 percent of white voters who had not completed college voted for Trump. How many of them are going to vote for him now, especially in Ohio, could be crucial.

– If he does not win in Ohio, it’s all over, says political scientist David Cohen at the University of Akron to the New York Times.

No Republican has won a presidential election without winning in Ohio, he points out.

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