News Archive 2009-2018

Bowdoin’s Chryl Laird on Why Black Voter Turnout Dropped in 2016 in Vox Archives

Chryl Laird

The turnout of African American voters in the 2016 presidential elections showed a significant decline compared to 2012, writes Assistant Professor of Government Chryl Laird in Vox. Data analysis shows black turnout dropping by 4.7 percent, compared to decline of just 0.4 percent in overall turnout.

A number of theories have been put forward to try to explain this, she points out. “Some have attributed the decline in black turnout to voter suppression tactics” by the GOP, while others have “simplistically pointed to the absence of the first black president on the ballot.”

The real reason is more complicated, says Laird, who recently co-authored a paper on this subject in the American Political Science Review. Her advice for Democratic politicians who want to attract more African American voters is ” to learn how to make their own candidacies speak as clearly to the collective interests of blacks as Obama’s did.” Read professor Laird’s article in Vox.

One thought on “Bowdoin’s Chryl Laird on Why Black Voter Turnout Dropped in 2016 in Vox

  1. Christopher H. Hanks '68

    I read Professor Laird’s piece in Vox. The article is a little hard to follow, but I think her argument is this: Black turnout will increase if and only if black voters feel social pressure from within their community to get out and vote. (She also claims “voter suppression” and “Obama’s not on the ballot anymore” are not the primary reasons for the drop-off in black voting.)

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